British Columbia

Only cabin owner left in Jordan River, B.C. vows to stay

BC Hydro bought all but one of the homes spread out along the Jordan River waterfront. The 11 homes would be at risk in the event of an earthquake because of a potential dam failure.

Hugh Pite says he won't sell, even if "it's going to be a bit lonely"

Hugh Pite's waterfront cabin in Jordan River. (Google Street View)

The beachside hamlet of Jordan River looks like a ghost town. The handful of cabins that dot the waterfront are boarded up and the lights are out.

That is, all except for one.

Hugh Pite says he's not going anywhere. He's owned his waterfront cabin in Jordan River on the West Coast of Vancouver Island since the late 1980s. There are 11 homes in the hamlet, but Pite is now the only person left.

"I'm right across the road from the water and I go out there and I go surfing," said Pite. "If I didn't have the place there, I'd have to drive an hour and a half each way, which is in my opinion far more dangerous than the very slight chance of an earthquake."

Some of the waterfront homes in Jordan River will be demolished, others will be moved. (Emma Banner)

In 2014, the area was declared the most seismic-prone community in the province. The hamlet where Pite lives stands below the Jordan River diversion dam.

BC Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk says the dam is at risk of failure in a magnitude 8 or 9 earthquake.

"It was built in the wrong location, knowing what we know now," said Olynyk. "There's no other dam built so close to such a large earthquake area."

BC Hydro offered to buy all the properties, but Pite says he's not worried. He won't sell even if "it's going to be a bit lonely."

Pite makes the drive from his home in Brentwood Bay to the cabin to spend two or three days a week surfing.

One of the waterfront cabins on West Coast Road scheduled for demolition by BC Hydro. (BC Hydro)

"It was quite a nice little community," said Pite. "There were lots of people who were long time residents who lived out there. But over the years a lot of people have left. It isn't like it was in the 80s."

The vacant houses are scheduled for demolition in late March and the area will be reseeded with grass.