District of West Vancouver has signed a lease with Carrera Management Corporation to ensure the restoration of the Navvy Jack House. The lease outlines a three-year window for the completion of the building’s renovation and restoration, which will have broad community benefits, District says.
Navvy Jack House, located at 1768 Argyle Avenue, is historically significant and has heritage value to the District of West Vancouver and the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam Nation).
Once restored with an additonal 500 square feet area, Carrera Management Corporation will also have the opportunity to operate a coffee shop, wine bar, or a combination of both at the Navvy Jack House, which will be open to the public. At this time, there is no construction timeline confirmed.
The operation lease will be for a 25-year term, following which, Carrera Management Corporation will have the option to extend the lease for up to an additional 15 years. At the end of the additional leasing term, Carrera will return the land, including the restored Navvy Jack House, to the District of West Vancouver at no cost.
Carrera will pay for all costs related to the restoration of Navvy Jack House that go beyond the District’s contribution of $1,000,000, manage all aspects of the restoration of the Navvy Jack House and related processes. Restoration by Carrera will also take into account the flood control for the site and any mitigation measures recommended by the Coastal Engineer. There is no construction timeline confirmed at this time.
Located at 1768 Argyle Avenue and facing English Bay, the Navvy Jack House was built around 1873-74 and moved slightly west and south of its original site in about 1921 to allow for the opening of Argyle Avenue. I
The historic place is believed to be the longest continually occupied house in the Lower Mainland of BC. It was built by ‘Navvy Jack’ (John) Thomas, a Welsh deserter from the Royal Navy. The house has been considerably changed over the years, but basic gabled form and early materials remain and many changes are easily identified. The continuing history of change to the house has value and merit commemoration. Navvy Jack married Rowia, a Squamish Nation woman, in the early 1870s. They raised their four children, Sampson, Christine, Mary, and Emma, in this house. Christine married Chief Henry Jack. Their daughter Amy married Chief Dan George, the renowned community leader and actor.
He operated an on-demand ferry service and made a direct contribution to the construction of the built environment of the region by supplying clean gravel from the mouth of the Capilano River. The term ‘Navvy Jack’ continues to be used by the Vancouver building trades today to describe clean, high quality gravel.