A landslide on Pitt Lake has left one cabin demolished and two more severely damaged and uninhabitable.
The cottages in Moonshine Bay are accessible by boat only. As Rick Bindley approached in his boat last Saturday, he noticed something didn’t look right on the shoreline he has visited on many weekends over the the past 22 years. As he got closer, it appeared his cabin was gone. He was in shock.
The Bindley cabin was completely demolished by a massive slide, which brought down boulders two and three meters in diameter, about 40 full trees, he estimates, and a huge amount of soil.
His neighbour to the south has a pile of dirt left against the back wall of his cabin. The neighbour to his north has had his building knocked off its foundation and spun around.
Moonshine Bay is on the western shore of the lake, near the mid-point of the lake’s 24 km north-south length. The slide happened sometime the week prior, but nobody is able to pinpoint a day. They believe heavy rain caused it.
Bindley said he has no insurance. Landslide damages are generally excluded from standard insurance policies.
The properties are all leased from the Crown land, but Bindley said they are still valuable cabins, and he had been offered $250,000 for his.
He said a property owner could apply for relief for a permanent dwelling in this situation, but a recreational building is a loss.
The site is in such a state he could not rebuild.
“There’s nothing there. It’s a big ravine,” he said.
“I’m done. And I worry about everyone else in our little bay.”
There is uncertainty among the cottagers as to what Crown Lands will do. There are a total of about eight households involved, and most are from Maple Ridge. They are discussing hiring a geotechnical engineer to ensure their properties are safe, said Bindley.
Bindley had celebrated his 70th birthday at the cabin earlier this year.
His wife Theresa said Rick hadn’t lost his sense of humor, despite their loss. He joked about a salvage operation to save a full case of beer from the fridge.
“There’s 20 years of memories in that cabin… gone in two minutes,” she said. “Nobody died, thank God. It’s just material things.”