May 29, 2014 10:33 pm

Historical error means 14 Squamish area homes sitting on First Nations land


An error in measuring made more than 100 years ago means 14 privately owned homes in Squamish sit on First Nations land.

Three years ago, it came to the attention of private homeowners and the Squamish Nation that the property lines in the tiny community of Tantalus Acres in Paradise Valley near Brackendale were incorrect.

The Squamish Nation asked that their land be returned and the Province agreed.

The question is how to right a wrong, especially considering the problem goes back more than 100 years.

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In 1881, surveyors mistakenly used magnetic north instead of true north when surveying the land.

However, magnetic north is not a constant; its gravitational fields move around so now surveyors can see that the 14 privately owned homes are actually in part, on Squamish Nation land.

Currently, the community of Tantalus Acres is ghost town.

Most of the 14 private homeowners having taken the compensation package and left, only to have squatters move in.

But 20 year resident Jay Bicknell isn’t leaving.

He has a growing pile of paperwork as he tries to get what he believes is fair value.

Right now, he can’t sell the land or remortgage the property. Bicknell says his property is essentially zero at the moment.

He says for him to relocate in comparable accommodation to nearby Brackendale would cost twice what the province is currently offering.

— with files from Ted Chernecki, Global News

© 2014 Shaw Media

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