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Homes saved from demolition are being relocated to First Nation on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast

A major effort in Port Moody will see 10 homes saved from the wrecking ball and given a new life on the Sunshine Coast, where they can support future generations of families.

“We celebrated a lot of Christmases and birthdays here,” said Wendy Kinloch, the former owner of one of the homes. “We have been in the house for 34 years and have raised two beautiful girls here.”

The home on Windsor Drive is one of 59 originally slated for demolition after it was purchased in a land deal by Wesgroup, a developer with plans to build a home dense, master-planned community with 2,500 new residential units on site.

But now ten of the old houses have been deemed suitable for relocation.

“Demolition should be the last option, not the first. And as we prove today, there is a very viable alternative. And a responsible alternative,” said Glyn Lewis, owner of Renewal Home Development. “This is intended to physically save, relocate and repurpose many more of these homes.”

After driving around the neighborhood and identifying the homes he thought could be saved, Lewis approached the developer to see if he would be a good fit for the idea.

Once Wesgroup was on board, Lewis contacted the Shíshalh Nation near Sechelt, which currently has 200 families on its housing waiting list.

“Most houses have to be demolished after a certain period of time,” said Lhehiwus Yalxmult, chief of the Shíshalh nation. “But these homeowners really cared about their homes and appreciated what they had, and we’re excited to be able to keep it up.”

The homes are located just a mile from Rocky Point Park on the eastern edge of Burrard Inlet, but cannot be loaded onto barges there because they are too large to safely navigate the overpass leading to the park’s boat ramp.

Instead, the homes will take a detour via Port Moody and Coquitlam before being loaded onto barges for the journey to the Sunshine Coast and their final destination near Sechelt.

On the way they pass the Skookumchuck Narrows, a fast-flowing rapid on Sechelt Inlet.

Once the houses have arrived safely at their destination, they are placed on new foundations with basements – creating a home for 20 families.

The thought of her home, where she raised another generation of children for 34 years, brings tears to Kinloch’s eyes.

“It was just a wonderful neighborhood, a wonderful home, and I’m so glad it’s going to go to someone else and see this life,” she said.

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