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Construction to begin on historic landmark

After more than a year of delays, construction on the Sybil Andrews Cottage is set to begin next week.

In preparation, the Campbell River Art Gallery has already moved out and set up shop in their temporary home on a lot north of the cottage purchased by the city.

The Sybil Andrews Heritage Society has rallied for the cottage to be renovated since 2008 when it became the first entry in the city’s Heritage Register.

“We had to go through the process of putting it on the community Heritage Register so that we would be eligible for heritage funding – that’s a bit of a process,” said Lynn Wark, parks project supervisor.

The city and community identified the cottage as a significant historical landmark because of its owner, Sybil Andrews, who was a prominent figure in the community.

Andrews, who was famous for her linocut printings, taught art classes out of her home and was an active member of the community, said Wark.

Her paintings and drawings were well-known world-wide and sold for a greater price after she died.

Sybil and her husband Walter’s cottage was one of the first homes built in Willow Point after the couple moved here from England in 1947.

The Sybil Andrews Heritage Society formed in 2004 with the intent of saving the cottage from destruction and preserving the landmark.

Desperately in need of some repairs to maintain the building, the society set out to begin construction in September of 2009 but the project was tied up due to a lack of funding.

The $188,953 project involves the entire cottage being re-roofed and made handicap accessible.

The exterior siding, which has been rotting, will also be replaced and the entire cottage will be raised and a new foundation constructed below the building.

Jason Hartley, capital works manager for the city, said it’s “quite possible there could be some interior cracking in the drywall when the cottage is raised or lowered” which would mean extra drywall repairs not part of the original scope of work.

The cottage will also have new paint on the outside and the inside but it will all match the existing paint job, as part of the heritage requirements.

“All the heritage values observed by the community and the heritage consultants will be preserved,” said Wark. “Because it was designated as a heritage site the look of the cottage will not change.”

Construction is scheduled to begin late next week and targeted for completion in late spring.

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