The City of Colwood is holding a public hearing on Feb. 10 about to a bylaw that would enable heritage designation and protection for the Colwood Dairy and Cheese House. The building dates back to 1852. (Black Press Media file photo)

Colwood Dairy and Cheese House up for heritage designation

Building is the oldest structure on the West Shore

The oldest standing structure on the West Shore and one of the six oldest in the province could receive heritage designation from the City of Colwood.

Colwood is holding a public hearing to receive feedback from the community about a proposed bylaw that would enable heritage protection for the Colwood Dairy and Cheese house that dates back to 1852.

Currently located behind a single-family home on Goldstream Avenue across from the Royal Colwood Golf Course, the building is the only one that remains from Capt. Edward E. Langford’s farmstead. It’s a five-by-nine metre stone structure and was the first dairy on the Island. It was constructed as part of the Esquimalt farm, a key producer of products such as cheese, milk and butter for Fort Victoria.

The farmhouse was demolished and the dairy was neglected until the land was purchased in 1952 by Art Treloar and his wife Elsie. The couple repaired the building and turned it into a workshop.

In 1981, the Capital Regional District wanted to add the building to its heritage registry, but the owner at the time told the Gazette back then that she’d tear it down if people started to snoop around. Budget restrictions led to the CRD dropping its effort to grant the building heritage designation.

The building itself is off the roadway and out of the public eye.

In 2011, then-mayor Dave Saunders said the City had no idea it existed until development plans for condominiums on the 400-block of Goldstream Avenue brought the structure into the foreground. At the time, the developer agreed to give Colwood ownership of the dairy and move the building closer to the road for public access while condos were to be built on other parts of the property. However, the dairy has not yet been moved.

In 2012, a team of archaeologists discovered – original 1852 bricks produced on the farm – underneath the building’s newer, concrete floor. They also discovered a metal bucket buried that was taken to the Royal B.C. Museum to be treated in its conservation lab. The bucket is thought to be part of the structure’s original draining and cooling system.

On Monday, Feb. 10 at 6:45 p.m., the City of Colwood will hold a public hearing about the Colwood Dairy and Cheese House’s heritage designation in the council chambers at city hall.

The heritage designation bylaw would enable the protection of the building as well as its original brick floor and the draining system associated with the floor.

A copy of the proposed bylaw can be seen at Colwood City Hall between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, until Feb. 10. Written submissions for the hearing must be received before noon on Feb. 10. Any submissions received after the deadline will not be received or considered unless delivered at the hearing.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca

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