In 1971, Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) Parks expropriated 126 acres comprised of what is now the Belcarra Park Picnic Area and 114 acres on Belcarra Peninsula, owned by Belcarra Park Resort Ltd. They also expropriated the 145-acre "Bole Estate", south of the picnic area, which was at that time privately owned by a land speculator. The purpose of GVRD's acquisition was the creation of Belcarra Regional Park. After the expropriation, the housing department of GVRD - the Greater Vancouver Housing Corporation (GVHC) - became the new landlord of the Bole House, a handsome two-storey house, and the seven cottages. Demolition of the cottages was announced and the tenants were advised to remove their possessions.
The cottage tenants, therefore, who were holding leases from the previous owner, formed the Belcarra South Preservation Society (BSPS) under the Societies Act. A unique year-to-year lease was negotiated and eventually signed by the Society and GVRD in 1976: leaseholders would continue, as they previously had, to pay rent, maintain the gravel road access, the cottages and the water system - all at their own expense - and, by their presence, serve as unofficial caretakers of the area. Tenants of the Bole House continued with a month-to-month, more conventional rental agreement with GVHC and were later invited to join the Society.
Responsibilities of Society members continue today and include scheduled 'work days' for work together on the road, the creeks and the water system. The Society holds annual general meetings and files annual reports with the Province of British Columbia.
These arrangements have continued year after year since 1976 to the mutual benefit of what is now Metro Vancouver Parks and the tenants.
In practical terms, the presence of the BSPS along the Belcarra South foreshore provides security to the park and the Village of Belcarra by discouraging drinking parties (which can lead to park visitors driving home while 'under the influence') and fires, during and after park hours.
We offer public education to park visitors, keep the beach garbage-free - especially after summertime picnickers depart - and we relay valuable on-the-spot information to Coast Guard, RCMP and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.