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Mosquito Creek Marina residents hoping to stay after eviction notice

The marina says it doesn’t intend to remove residents during repairs to the dock but the vague response has left residents confused.

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Two days after being told they would need to move their homes within the next six months, residents living out of boats at a North Vancouver marina are hopeful they will be able to stay.

Some of the residents of the Mosquito Creek Marina said Saturday that they are confused after the marina appears to have changed its stance on evictions.

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At a virtual meeting Thursday, tenants of the marina were told by Gary Muuren, representative of an arm of the Squamish First Nation, Nch’ḵay̓ Development Corp., that its “intention is not to move people who live in the marina away from Mosquito Creek.”

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Muuren said that a closure of the marina’s decaying docks is being undertaken so that immediate repairs can stabilize the infrastructure for winter, while Nch’ḵay̓ Development contemplates a “rehabilitation or redevelopment plan” for its future.

But many questions remain as to whether the residents of nearly 200 boats in the marina will be asked to unmoor sometime in the New Year.

Ginger Gosnell, who has lived in a floating home in the marina for 13 years, said she left Thursday’s meeting in a state of confusion.

“Everything they said was so vague, even when we pressed for clarity,” the 45-year-old said. “They have not communicated with us since to provide us any more details.”

Gosnell, who also owns a boat at Mosquito Creek, said she will sell the vessel if she cannot keep mooring it at the marina.

“We have no other option,” she said, noting a lack of space at nearby marinas. “We really don’t want to, we have a unique boat with a lot of family history.”

In an eviction notice emailed to residents Tuesday, Muuren had said boats and boat sheds would need to vacate the docks by May 31, because “the state of decay is too great for further repairs to successfully extend the lifespan of these structures.”

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However, Sasha Selby, who has lived in a 50-foot vessel at the marina for the past nine years, said Muuren changed his tune in a phone call he made to the resident Thursday morning.

“He told me that residents who live here are not going to be homeless — that it isn’t going to happen — and they will shuffle us if needed while work is getting done,” she told Postmedia News Saturday.

“I’m very sorry for the anxiety this has caused, and I understand that we are coming up to Christmas. No one wants to be talking about significant changes to their life at this time,” Muuren told tenants at Thursday’s virtual meeting.

The Nch’ḵay̓ vice president of operations said it plans to work with boat and boat shed owners to explore viable options for their homes. “While we are currently unsure what these options may entail, we can ensure residents they will not find themselves without a place to live come the 31st of May, 2024.”

Selby took Muuren’s words to indicate that her family is safe from eviction at the marina where she raised her two children, ages 11 and 12.

“We’re still planning to keep pushing back and get answers for recreational boats, too, because everyone in this community, whether they live here or not, deserves to feel safe.”

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Resident, Sasha Selby lives in Mosquito Creek Marina in North Vancouver, BC, December 7, 2023. Arlen Redekop/Postmedia Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG

When asked for clarification as to whether residents living out of boats and boat sheds will be required to move on from the marina in the new year, Joy Jennissen, a spokeswoman for Nch’ḵay̓ Development, referred to a memo for Mosquito Creek tenants.

The corporation’s message said it will “take action to repair and reorganize some of the MCM docks so that no currently permitted liveaboard tenants (on boats or in boat sheds) will be affected by the May 31, 2024 departure date.”

Part-time residents and other boaters with moorage at the marina will still be required to vacate.

“It is apparent that additional major repairs and replacement of many components of the MCM docks and facilities is simply not financially feasible for MCM or the Squamish Nation,” the memo states.

“As a result, planning work will begin in January to develop extensive rehabilitation or redevelopment plans, however, the May 31, 2024 departure date for affected MCM tenants remains an unfortunate necessity.”

Nch’ḵay̓ Development says it has begun contacting other marinas about tenants’ needs for space and plans to refund boaters who paid in a lump sum for next year’s moorage fees.

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