VANCOUVER — Perched on Hollyburn Ridge, overlooking the city, is a patch of mountain forest that could be someone’s private preserve.
The 10-hectare square, located a kilometre by logging road off the Cypress Bowl Road, is on the market for $1.8 million.
However, anyone thinking it is a bargain, given its location, will have to stop and imagine it more as a rustic park than posh estate, owing to its curious community-use zoning with the District of West Vancouver.
“You can put a cabin on it and have your own retreat,” realtor Annette Denk said of the picturesque property.
Denk said West Vancouver allows minimum two-hectare parcels within the zone, so the lot could be subdivided “and you can put a whole bunch of cabins on it.”
It was logged once a little over 40 years ago, but the forest has grown back and Denk said traversing its trails “is just like walking through your own park.”
That’s exactly how members of the family that owns it use the lot now. They don’t have any type of home on it.
“We go up there for hikes and stuff like that, have picnics,” Tony Michaud said.
“It’s all view property. You used to be able to stand in the middle and look out to Mount Baker, and to your left, you could see the Grouse Nest [restaurant].”
The trees have grown in considerably since, but Michaud said the views are still stunning, and it is only 30 minutes from downtown.
Michaud’s father Charles bought the land in the 1960s when it was known as Hudson’s Estate and logged it around 1968, he said.
Michaud said his father worked in logging camps before starting a crane company on the North Shore, so he knew what kind of value the trees had for timber.
“He got a lot of timber off the property,” he said.
Charles Michaud died in 1986, Michaud said, and his mother Irene died in 1997.
Over the years the family has considered selling. Tony said the District of West Vancouver even expressed some interest once in purchasing the property, but did not do so in the end.
Brent Leigh, West Vancouver’s deputy CEO, said the Michaud property is the largest single property in what is a popular recreational area.
Above it, there are numerous small lots available for private purchase, and the 100 or so historic Hollyburn cabins that are owned by the district and leased to users.
Leigh said the district is developing a parks master plan to develop a community vision for the region.
But Tony Michaud, his brother and sister feel the timing is good for them to sell.
“We’re not the Guinness family,” Michaud said, referring to the erstwhile owners of much of West Vancouver, whose real estate company developed large parts of the city.
Source: The Vancouver Sun