Why not tear down Hammond?

Thanks to the BC Archives for the image!
Thanks to the BC Archives for the image!

Port Hammond Junction, as our town was originally named, sits at a historical junction right now.

Gentrification is looming.

Lots of TLC but all for naught?
Lots of TLC but all for naught?

As property values rise, it is assumed that our older, smaller homes–many built to house workers at the mill–will fall and be replaced with new, large and more energy efficient ones.

Most of us don’t like this trend, but subconsciously it seems inevitable. It is the natural order of things.

Progress.

Well-maintained but...doomed?
Well-maintained but…doomed?

Older homes become neglected because the owners assume that sooner or later they will sell them and they will be torn down. If a house is a rental property it is even less likely the owner/landlord will invest in maintaining it, let alone retrofitting it.

In the meantime, while owners wait for the right time to sell or replace them, these houses remain badly insulated and uncomfortable (by modern standards). Cheap fossil fuels and electricity continue to heat them, pumping carbon dioxide into the air and heat into the neighbourhood.

The snow melts off the roof in a few hours and beautiful icicles drip from the corners.

Pretty icicles mean a badly insulated roof
Pretty icicles mean a badly insulated roof

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation tells us that 46% of the housing stock in Canada is

5o years old.

Natural Resources Canada tells us that the maximum efficiency of a house built before 1970 is

50%

If our solution to this problem is to replace them all with more efficient houses well, there are a few problems with that idea.

We can’t afford it

and

it would take 65 years

and

all the reasons I mentioned last week.

Sorry to end on a downer, but what are we going to do? “As Sir Henry Baskerville said to Dr. Watson, “We need a plan! Think, man!”

Mark Carter as Watson and James Rowley as Sir. Henry in The Hound of The Baskervilles, 2013
Mark Carter as Watson and James Rowley as Sir. Henry in The Hound of The Baskervilles, 2013

Postscript: I do have some ideas about what we can do and so does Now House who put together those statistics.

 

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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