From Michael Kluckner:

An issue I and many other have been involved with for a year or so, involving a dispute between some cottagers, Port Moody and Belcarra on one side and Metro Vancouver Regional Parks on the other.

A Pending Act of Cultural Vandalism by Metro Vancouver Parks.

Metro Vancouver Regional Parks appears determined to remove the last examples of waterfront summer cottages in the immediate Vancouver area, against the wishes of the City of Port Moody, which has them in its heritage inventory, and support from the Village of Belcarra, on whose land the northernmost of the cottages sits. Cottagers have had leases there since the 1970s-era expropriation of the land from a private owner for a park, which has since developed into Belcarra Regional Park.




The cottagers have coexisted happily until now, paying taxes and even providing their own water supply, but have received eviction notices for the end of June. They act as unpaid caretakers and stewards of a piece of mature forest; their proposal of a management and tenancy agreement has so far been ignored. The cottages date from the 1920s and 1930s, a time when access to the Belcarra area was only possible by boat from Vancouver or Deep Cove.

Is there an example of privately owned cabins co-existing with public use in a park? Yes, the Hollyburn Ridge Cabins in West Vancouver.

Further information and a narrative of recent events is available here.


  1. When Toronto wanted to turn Toronto Island completely into a park, it did the same thing, buying and kicking out the cottagers. Now there is small residential area left. But actually, there was no need to be so absolutest about it. It was the slum clearance mentality of the era combined with single use planning.

  2. Coming from a country where the idea of seashore privatization is quite alien:
    I am rather chocked to see people defending such idea here:
    I welcome any inititiative which help to give back our shore for the enjoyment of the public…

    In BC, it is virtually impossible
    (1) to walk on the shore of any water body without be in someone else property (except if you are in park, and even so, not always)
    (2) to moore a boat in any cove, without feeling to be in someone backyard… and then access to beaches which has been privatized by the “cabin owner”. (see Columbine cove in Bowen island for a starting example).

    That is enough reasons to not spend vacation in BC in fact

    Those cottages can go…

    PS: In Toronto island, the cottages don’t block access neither privatize the lake shore: they are separated by a road, keeping the lake public)
    The only thing deserving to stay is the the Finns borough in South RIchmond

    1. Intertidal and riparian zones are always public access. I agree with the Toronto Islands comment and recall it as a great “passive amenity” – I didn’t feel envious or resentful of the people who were grandfathered there, in the same way I don’t when I trek or ski around Hollyburn Ridge or walk along the shoreline or the trails in Belcarra. It’s just more interesting than endless forest….

    2. I couldn’t agree more with Voony. The public should have access to the beaches. The public, however, already has access to the pocket beach in front of the cottages and already uses the beach for swimming, kayaking, picnicking, exploring the tidelines pools, etcetera. What the residents have now offered is increased access through the property to the beach and public programming in the arts, history and culture. Artists are presently onsite as are documentary filmmakers. The public is invited to the re-launching of a 48-foot kayak on Sunday, June 8 and encouraged to join in in non-motorized watercraft to escort George Dyson’s Mt. Fairweather around Belcarra Bay at about 1PM. Yes! Let’s share the waterfront!

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