The Metro Vancouver Regional District will consult the public about two options for the future of the old Davies Orchard in Bowen Island.
Now incorporated in the Crippen Regional Park, the nearly one-hectare waterfront site at Snug Cove is an important part of the island’s history as popular regional destination.
Only 10 cottages have remained of the 220 cottages built at the orchard for visitors during the 1920s and 1930s.
Four are currently used for museum, office, and overnight stays. The other six are in poor condition.
The cottages are central to the two options laid out in a report by Jeffrey Fitzpatrick, division manager with Metro Vancouver for west area regional parks.
The first concept for Davies Orchard puts priority on having a large open space. The four cottages in good condition are retained. This option will cost $833,000.
The second concept focuses on the heritage aspect of the site. The four good cottages will be retained, and two others will be upgraded. This option costs $1.3 million.
According to Fitzpatrick’s report, the two options have common public use elements, one of which is a central open space with views to Snug Cove.
“The cottages, orchard planting, and broader site present an opportunity to tell the story of a landscape that has been a destination for regional residents to connect with nature for generations,” Fitzpatrick wrote in his report.
Fitzpatrick noted that the cottages have not been designated by the Bowen Island municipality as heritage properties.
Two of the cottages are used by Bowen Heritage, a community group, for museum and office purposes.
According to Bowen Heritage, the island is part of the traditional territory of the Squamish people.
The heritage organization notes that the Squamish name for the island is Xwlíl’xhwm, meaning ‘fast drumming ground’.
“Some authors attribute the name to the sound made by the ocean as it passes through the tiny pass between the Island’s northern point and Finisterre Island,” according to Bowen Heritage.
The group also relates that Xwlíl’xhwm is often referred to in the Squamish folklore as the place where the deer were created.