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Chilliwack family facing redevelopment try to move 107-year-old farmhouse

(Courtesy James O'Neil)

James O'Neil says his son, who has autism, is comfortable at that home, and finding another place would be difficult

He adds the house also has a fair bit of history, with the original owner bringing the first British roses to the city

The family has launched a GoFundMe, with a goal of $100,00 to move the house to another plot of land

CHILLIWACK (NEWS 1130) — A Chilliwack family is trying to raise enough money to physically move the 107-year-old farmhouse they call home.

James O’Neil says he and his family have been renting the space and fell in love with it, but redevelopment in the area is pushing them out.

He adds his young son, who has autism, feels comfortable in the home.

“He’s just really at peace here. He’s got a connection with the house.”

When his son was born at 24 weeks, weighing and pound and 14 oz, O’Neil says there was a lot of “bouncing around through the years, ” because of hospital visits to necessary treatments.

Finally, when they found their home, it’s become “almost therapeutic” with nature, animals and a zip line in the backyard.

“We could easily, and it’d be cheaper for us to move somewhere else, and rent or possibly get a small mortgage and move into a community. But this situation is great for us. Because it gives the kids the space they need,” he says.

“We’ve got a possible place that we can move it to, someone’s offered to lease us some land. We’re still looking for a lease to own or rent to own situation.”

The house has a fair bit of history as well, with the original owner bringing the first British roses to the city.

“The gentleman that lived here owned British Columbia Nurseries,” O’Neil says.

“A lot of his plants were brought over here. There’s exotic fruit trees on the property: pears, apples of various kinds, roses, hops plants, figs, you name it. It’s only half an acre. But this property here and the property next door that used to be a part of the property. There’s all sorts of neat little tidbits of history.”

The family has launched a GoFundMe with a $100,000 goal in hopes of saving the home.

“There’s so many other stories here.”

“We’re finding old newspaper articles, businesses that no longer exist. I found an article donate to the war bonds. I found another article under the floor about buying soldiers to help the troops, right, like buying toy soldiers. And I’ve got that framed up in my room. So it’s just cool.

As of Sunday morning, the fundraiser has raised $415.