Belcarra cabin-dwellers' eviction deadline arrives

Residents of seven waterfront cabins in Belcarra Regional Park are being forced to leave their homes today. The houses are owned by Metro Vancouver. Last February, it announced it was terminating the leases so it can demolish the cabins and develop the sites.

Despite appeals, residents of seven waterfront cabins in Belcarra Regional Park have to find new homes today

Jo Ledingham's cabin is one of seven on the water in Belcarra Regional Park. Metro Vancouver issued residents an eviction notice in February, giving them until June 30th to move out. (Jason D'Souza/CBC)

Today is eviction day for residents of seven waterfront cabins owned by Metro Vancouver in Belcarra Regional Park.

Last February, Metro Vancouver announced it was terminating the leases for the homes so it can demolish the cabins and re-develop the sites to provide better access in and through the park.

On Friday, Metro Vancouver held an in camera meeting to review options for keeping the cabins instead of demolishing them, but the regional governmental body is still proceeding with the evictions today.

Jo Ledingham and her daughter Andrea stand outside Ledingham's waterfront cabin in Belcarra Regional Park in this photo taken earlier this month. She said she doesn't know where she will go. (Jason D'Souza/CBC)

Jo Ledingham, who is 73, has lived in her Belcarra cabin for over 50 years.

"We're still in that gobsmacked situation where we don't know what to do,” says Ledingham. “Everybody is looking at their options. What do we do next? Where do we go?"

Metro Vancouver first tried to evict the residents in 1971. Residents formed the Belcarra South Preservation Society, in hopes of saving their homes. They argued that they were a self-sustaining community and lived there at no cost to Metro Vancouver.

Residents won that battle and, in 1976, they signed their first lease with Metro Vancouver.

Then, two years ago, residents received notice the cabins would be inspected.

Jo Ledingham's cabin is small and doesn't have modern amenities like a dishwasher. She has been living in it for over 50 years. (Jason D'Souza/CBC)

Ever since residents received notice in February 2013 that their leases were being terminated, Ledingham and the other cabin dwellers have been trying to appeal the decision.

All of their proposals were denied.

When they received the eviction notice last February, residents said they were "devastated."

Ledingham says many residents were hoping the appeal of the decision would go through.

Metro Vancouver has cited liability concerns over the cabins. It also says it wants to improve access to the beach, and expand the park.

Ledingham admits that if residents are allowed to stay, it will mean some changes to their quiet lifestyles. They will have to become more integrated into the park experience.

Google Maps: Belcarra Regional Park

with files from Tina Lovgreen


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.