Westmount house caught in an estate tug-of-war is back on the market

The asking price for the 180-year-old property is $1.9 million, which is what Rob Sibthorpe and Lesley Pahl paid in June 2020.

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A For Sale sign has appeared in front of one of the oldest, and lately, one of the most commented — houses in Westmount: Goode House, named for the family that called it home for three generations until 2019.

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The listing price for the 180-year-old property at 178 Côte-St-Antoine Rd. is $1.9 million, which is what Rob Sibthorpe and Lesley Pahl paid for it in June 2020. The couple loves old homes and have restored many, Sibthorpe told the Montreal Gazette this month. “This was the perfect house.”

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Except for one thing.

Two days after purchasing the house, a rare example of Greek Revival architecture in Quebec and a home virtually unchanged over time, the couple learned of a plan that had been in the works since 2017 for Westmount to file a charter that designate the house as patrimonial property. under the Quebec Cultural Heritage Act. The statute, which was to be passed that November, meant that others were, and would continue to be, intimately involved in decisions about their home. Sibthorpe said that she would not have bought the property if she had known about the plan.

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Still they worked in collaboration with the city for two years, incorporating input from Westmount’s historic, heritage, and planning authorities, and in June 2022, the Westmount City Council’s demolition committee voted unanimously to grant them a permit to make certain alterations, to despite considerable opposition to the measure by those who said the changes would seriously affect important elements of this historic home.

Heritage Montreal said the proposed changes to the interior “would have a huge impact on the integrity and authenticity of the house.” However, in a detailed presentation at the June demolition hearing, architect Mira Katnick of the firm Architem said “changes to the interior will be kept to a minimum and only when necessary to make the house habitable and safe.”

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Under the Cultural Heritage Act, the granting of a demolition permit depends on the approval of the Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications. Heritage Montreal requested in July that authorization for the work be suspended while the ministry reviews the application. The ministry has until October 4 to make its decision public.

Meanwhile, Goode House remains vacant and continues to deteriorate. People cross. Sibthorpe told The Gazette that the couple feels as if they have been subjected to intimidation, abuse and misinformation.

“As for the sale of the house, the situation is fluid,” he said Wednesday.

“We’re just trying to keep a clear head and filter out the noise.”

Putting the house on the market is “one step to deal with all the noise,” he said. “We are part of the history now of 178. We will see what role we will play in the future.”


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