Tag Archives: bridge

Moving House

Most people in Whistler are familiar with the process of moving house, including the packing, repacking, and unpacking.  Just about every person you meet has a story to share about moving to or within Whistler, but not many are able to tell you about the time they moved a house to Whistler.

Last week, however, we had someone do just that: Len Ritchie visited us at the museum to share his story of moving a 278 square metre (3,000 sq/ft) house from Garibaldi to White Gold in 1983.

Ritchie and his (not-yet-at-the-time) wife Patty first came to Whistler in 1975 and later moved to Whistler full-time, buying an empty lot in White Gold.  While driving Highway 99 in the fall of 1983, Len spotted a house on the side of the road with a sign proclaiming “For Sale $16,000 Delivered.”

Len and their dog pose next to the price of the house. Photo courtesy of Len Ritchie.

The unfinished house had originally been built at Garibaldi and the owner had decided to move the structure to a lot in Pinecrest.  Bob Moloughney of Squamish had been hired to move the house, but when the owner’s plans fell through Moloughney was left with the house.  He decided to sell it, including the cost of delivery in the price.

The house was sitting on the side of Highway 99, waiting to be moved. Photo courtesy of Len Ritchie.

Moving the house up the highway required some careful planning and could certainly disrupt traffic.  When Ritchie approached BC Hydro and BC Tel about dropping the lines during the move, he was told it would cost $16,000.  Instead, the decision was made to remove part of the roof from the house, bringing it down to a legal height to move under the lines, and move that piece separately.

The roof was reattached once the house reached its final resting place, and, according to Len, never leaked. Photo courtesy of Len Ritchie.

On the first day they got the house as far as Function Junction.  Ritchie recalled, “It was dark, and it was a little rainy, and we’re up on top with our poles to go under the lines.  So the logging truck, Valleau trucking, they were the driver, we had walkie-talkies, so he’d get up on the road and we’d get under a line and we’d go, ‘Hold it, hold it,’ and we’d push the line up, ‘OK, go ahead, go ahead,’ and that’s how we worked our way all of the way up the highway.”

The house waiting to cross the Fitzsimmons Creek Bridge into White Gold. Photo courtesy of Len Ritchie.

To get over the Fitzsimmons Creek Bridge, then the only access to White Gold, took more than four hours.  Lindsay Wilson, fire chief, left a truck in White Gold just in case a fire should occur while the house was occupying the bridge.  The house was jacked up using railway ties and the ends of the bridge railing were cut off, allowing the house to clear the bridge by mere centimetres.  After a while, White Gold residents came out to go to work and about their days, only to find that they couldn’t drive out.  Instead, Ritchie remembers, “If anybody needed to leave, I’d take their hand and bend down and crawl or crouch all the way.”  When the reached the other side, he had taxis waiting for them.

The house moved along the bridge just barely above the height of the railings. Photo courtesy of Len Ritchie.

The last stage of the move was up the hill to Ambassador Crescent.  After one perilous attempt at winching the house up the hill, Art Den Duyf kindly sent over a D6 Cat and a 988 loader to push and pull the house into place.  The top of the roof was then reattached and Ritchie, Patty and helpful friends took the next year and a half to fix the house up.

An excited group on the deck of the house, now on its lot and once again in one piece. Photo courtesy of Len Ritchie.

The house has since been sold a few times, but it is still standing.  In Ritchie’s opinion, the house that he first saw covered in tar paper, is now “a beautiful big house up there today,” and it has quite the story behind it.

A Wet End to August, 1991

Recently, we were tasked with finding more information about a flood that washed out and damaged several bridges over Fitzsimmons Creek in the 1990s.  As it turned out, the flooding had happened exactly 28 years before we looked into it, with the bulk of information found in the September 5, 1991 edition of The Whistler Question.

The first mention of an unusually wet end to August appeared in the previous week’s editorial section, where editor Bob Barnett opened a piece on government money granted in the area with the thought, “The old age it never rains, it pours, has applied to the weather this week, but also to government handouts.”  Between August 16 and 31, 155 mm of rain were reported to have fallen in Whistler, with the bulk of the rain falling between August 29 and 30.  The average rainfall for the entire month of August was historically under 50 mm; this unusually large quantity of water caused destruction throughout the Sea to Sky corridor.

An excavator removes rock and gravel carried down Fitzsimmons Creek during Labour Day weekend’s floods. Whistler Question Collection, 1991

During the five days of intense rain, water levels at the Pemberton Airport and the Golf and Country Club were recorded at over two metres and BC Rail recorded at least twelve places between Britannia Beach and Lillooet where the crushed rock that supported the rails was washed away, leaving sections suspended over the ground.

In Britannia Beach severe flooding caused Britannia Creek to change course through the lower townsite and the highway around Squamish was blocked for 36 hours.  According to the Ministry of Forests, three quarters of the forest service roads in the Squamish Forest District were closed from washouts, flooding or slides, with multiple bridges destroyed.  North of Pemberton, some residents around Skookumchuck were evacuated to Pemberton by helicopter.

Within the Pemberton Valley, a Friday afternoon community effort to shore p a dike behind the Van Loon property attempted to mitigate the damage caused by the flood.  Approximately 100 people were reported to have come out to fill sandbags.  Their success was limited as the dike was breached a few kilometres north of their work, flooding fields and homes and ruining potato crops.

An aerial view of the flood at the airport. Whistler Question Collection, 1991

Compared to other areas of the Sea to Sky, the flooding would appear to have caused relatively little destruction in Whistler, mainly due to the community effort to keep Fitzsimmons Creek in its channel.

Through the evening of Thursday and Friday, local contractors, excavators and heavy equipment crews worked to shore up the banks of Fitzsimmons Creek and keep the waters out of the village and White Gold.  According to Tony Evans, public safety director, “If we hadn’t had that we could have made Britannia Beach look like a walk in the park.”

The footbridge over Fitzsimmons Creek, 1991. Photo courtesy of Jan Jansen

As it was, the high waters and debris in the creek took out two supports of the Nancy Greene Drive bridge, partially washed out two footbridges linking the village and benchlands, and destroyed Fitzsimmons Creek Park.  The flooding also damaged sewer pipes and interrupted water supplies to White Gold.

At this time 28 years ago, Whistler and the surrounding communities were still in the midst of their clean up efforts as the water receded.  It would take weeks to clear debris, assess damages, rebuild bridges, and construct measures to prevent future flooding, such as deepening Fitzsimmons Creek.  Some of these measures can still be seen while walking across Fitzsimmons Creek today.

This Week In Photos: October 4

You may notice this week’s post is shorter than usual – some weeks have missing negatives while others are missing entirely.  This happens to be one of those weeks, but there was still a lot going on in the years that are covered, from bridge openings to boat building to Brownies meetings.

1978

Mayor Pat Carleton waits for a train to arrive outside the Whistler Station.

Construction crews on Whistler Mountain recently got the feeling that they were being watched…

The most photographed bridge on #99! The bridge over the 19 Mile Creek as it was in a nearly finished state last Saturday.

1980

The Midstation towers on the new Olympic Chair on Whistler North. Picture taken from the top of the Village Chair.

The new Whistler Mountain lapel pin.

Do-it-yourself! – Whistler United Pharmacy owner Dave Stewart gives his front windows a polish.

LUNCH BREAK! Nello Busdon, Neil Roberts, Pat Greatrex and others enjoy the sunshine in the town centre plaza.

Workers lay interlock brick tiles in the Whistler Village Square.

Chamber of Commerce’s Michael D’Artois shows off the Town Centre to members of the BCIT Hospitality and Tourism Faculty.

Cst. Chuck Klaudt, the new member of the Whistler RCMP detachment.

1982

The winners: The Boot Pub Ladies Golf Classic.

Dryland downhill training – Dave Murray takes Blackcomb and Whistler Ski Club members through some of the exercises that help limber up skiers for the season opening.

The winning team (minus one key player) who put together Whistler’s weekly miracle, the Question, which was judged top in its class by BC and Yukon Community Newspapers Association October 2.

Dennis and Judy Waddingham display the new sign painted by Charlie Doyle, which hangs outside their store in Whistler Village. Opening day will be before the mountains begin their season.

Whistler’s Brownies rekindled the campfire spirit October 4 when they gathered at Myrtle Philip School for the first meeting of the year.

T’is the season to get sawing and chopping. These Alpine residents seem well prepared for winter’s onslaught.

A crew of landlubbers helped hoist the deck onto the sleek craft which Cress Walker and Paul Clark have been building all summer long in the driveway of their Alpine Meadows home.

Members of the Niels Petersen Band. Niels Petersen (lead vocals), Connie Lebeau (bass guitar), Christopher Allen (harp) and Gary Petersen (drums) warm up an act that will be entertaining Whistlerites all winter. The band will be appearing at Tapley’s and at the Brass Rail throughout the ski season.

1983

A cold crisp morning kept most creatures inside early Sunday, but this great blue heron had work to do. It was photographed as it flew over the River of Golden Dreams close to Green Lake looking for fish. Shortly after this photo was taken an industrious beaver swam past carrying wood for its lodge.

A smiling Ted Pryce-Jones proudly snips the ribbon to mark the official opening of the new suspension bridge built across the Callaghan River near the Cheakamus River junction last Thursday. Pryce-Jones designed the army-style bridge and with the help of a host of EBAP workers completed the project in under three months.

Bridge decking is composed of 3.5m long fir planks treated with a special wood preservative designed to make them last more than 20 years. And for those with bridge phobias, 2 1/2cm steel cables stretch across the river to provide for a safe crossing.

Marilyn Manso, one of three employees at the Alta Lake weather station, enters local weather information on a data terminal linked with Toronto. Entries must be made every hour on the hour or more often as changing weather patterns dictate.

Posing for photographs can be an awkward process.

 

This Week In Photos: May 3

From road conditions and ski races to golf tournaments and end-of-season competitions (LA Legs Contest?) the Whistler Question reported on everything and anything going on in town.

1980

Nester’s residents won’t have any speeders in their neighbourhood if they can help it. And to help them are large- to dangerous-sized boulders strewn about the roadway in an attempt to slow drivers to a crawl.

This bus seems to be missing a key component.

(L to R) Minister of Tourism Pat Jordan chats with our Pat – Mayor Carleton – at the Town Centre during a tour of the site and an explanation by the mayor of what exactly is going on at the busy construction site. With Honourable Minister and Mayor are Tourism Ministry staff Joan Jarvis and George Plul.

A golfer drives one off the third tee at the Whistler Golf Course during the Bob Parson’s Memorial Golf Tournament.

Chauffeur Chris Speedie and assistant Rod McLeod take the golf course refreshment buggy around the course.

This temporary decking on the bridge over Fitzsimmons Creek on the Blackcomb access road will be replaced during May by a full width concrete surface.

A spring trip to Meager Creek Hot Springs BC Forest Service Recreation Site.

1981

Architect Joe Yamauchi and Alderman Mark Angus inspect the model of the controversial Whistler Tower Building planned for Parcel 26.

Jody Wick, 10, of Myrtle Philip Elementary, brings out the shine on Ike’s tow-truck during the WPTA’s successful carwash held May 2.

Costumed members of the Vancouver Telemark Society practice group telemark turns on the last day of the season.

For being the top MPE artists, not to mention electrically alert, Tami Wick, Rya Kirkwood and Cris Simpson were awarded these framed certificates. Standing behind (l to r) are Ross Dinwoodie, Laroy Watt and Gary Wong.

We don’t know whose best friend this is, but who could resist that face?

Whew! All tuckered out at the end of the season, Donald Campbell, 4, of North Vancouver decided that the best place for a weary skier to lay his helmetted head was the front step of Jim McConkey’s Ski Shop.

1982

Wind’s up… and that’s enough for Chris Jacobs to drag out his sailboard and take on the ice! Jacobs uses a wooden platform with skis attached and finds the boardsailing just fine. Andrew Stoner photo.

They’re switched on and tuned in at Mountain FM.

That toe-tapping beat inspired even the heavy-footed to get down to the music of the Sailboats at Blackcomb Daylodge on Sunday, May 2.

Pas de demux amid the hubbub during Boogie-in-your-ski-boots. Fiona Maxwell (2) is led by Neal Jennings (3), both of Whistler.

Move over J.R. On location to shoot a 10-minute promotional short for a possible new TV series called “Whistler”, this film crew from Eighth Avenue Productions was the centre of excitement. Driving his own Rolls-Royce is Peter Mueller (no, not the skier) who is reported to be providing financial backing for the project.

Whew! What a win! After tight competition through the season, Jim Wharin and Megan Armstrong skied to the top of the local championship series on Blackcomb.

1983

In Whistler, even line-painting comes with a view.

Workers at The Madhouse on Whistler Mountain at the end of the season.

A bunch of real hackers, Team Hack cleaned up on one of the valley’s most coveted trophies, the Whistler Cup. And the winners, ladies and gentlemen, were (l to r) Sue Boyd, Rob Denham, Mike Turcotte and Jim Wharin.

Hubba, hubba! What a beaut! This mystery entrant in Blackcomb Mountain’s LA Legs Contest April 30 strutted away with first prize.

Semi-finalists at Stoney’s Suitcase Party May 1 let off some steam before the final name was selected. The lucky winner? Dave Cipp of Tapley’s (fourth from left in back row, with his mouth wide open). Cipp grabbed his golf clubs, Brenda Davidson of Today’s Video and headed to Honolulu that night.

Yowser, yowser, yowser! The gang at Rendezvous Restaurant on Blackcomb Mountain have their own special way of saying goodbye. Of course they were in the midst of the clutches of spring fever Sunday, May 1.

1984

Former Delta Mountain Inn Food and Beverage Manager Dave Roberts received an unceremonious going away party last Wednesday, and to not let him forget what his job’s all about, Delta staff applied raw eggs, tomatoes and various other foodstuffs to Roberts’ body.

Simon Gould and family have yet another car in their collection after winning the Winterfest lottery Saturday. The prize was a $12,000 1984 Jeep Cherokee graciously supplied by Mountainview Motors of North Vancouver. Gould, from West Vancouver, happened to be on the scene when the draw took place and said it could mean that his daughter, the most thrilled of the lot, will be getting a car of her own.

The Squamish Youth Chorale, with a cast of 69, presented its latest production, “Dreamer”, to a packed house at Myrtle Philip School Saturday night. The story is based on the biblical saga of Joseph and his 10 brothers.

This Week in Photos: March 1

1979

The new Whistler Village model on display at the Village display suite adjacent to Municipal Hall.

The Molson World Cup course workers enjoy a little R&R courtesy of Molson’s after a hard day’s work on the course.

The line waiting to get up Whistler Mountain in Creekside.

An aerial view of Flute Basin.

Slim Fougberg was honoured at a school board event in Pemberton. The evening included speeches, dinner and skits.

1980

University school break results in record mid-week crowds.

Developer Peter Gregory and Architect Archambault show plans for the 316 room Mountain Inn (today the Hilton).

Not a Corral! This new fenced area outside L’Après is just the extension of the patio area in readiness for the spring season.

Oops! Warm wet weather caused the snow to slide off this Telemark roof and flatten the wagon parked below.

Carved lions guard the hotel entrance of the newly completed Whistler Creek Lodge.

1981

Local Brownies and Guides gathered at Myrtle Philip School.

The first skiers come off the Whistler Village Chair on February 28. You might be wondering where all the snow got to.

Dr. Rob Burgess, Dr. Christine Rodgers, Howie Goldsmid and Bill Hooson at the hospital meeting.

The Tapley’s crowd enjoy a few brews in the sun on Sunday, March 1. Photo by Greg D’Amico.

1982

On the job, the LTI truck proves its worth at Whistler West fire.

The Molson World Downhill came to Whistler, bringing thousands of spectators to the resort along with it.

Gr… Grrrgreat gorillas, Batman! Some people went just plain ape over the World Cup at Whistler.

Sold Out! Hungry ski fans eager to meet the competitors in the World Downhill race polished off the sauerkraut and sausages in record time Thursday. (L-R) Louise Zinsli, Jenny Busdon, Evelyn Cullen and Trudy Gruetzke of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce display the leftovers.

Thousands upon thousands of spectators jam Whistler Village Square for the World Cup presentations.

A torchlight parade makes its way down Whistler Mountain.

Tony Fernandez, R.6 Herron and Danno Five-O rock the socks off a packed house at Myrtle Philip School Saturday, February 27.

Doug Bennett and fellow slugs gave the crowd what they paid for and more during two performances at the Longhorn.

1983

The last girders are in place on the new Culliton Creek bridge. Now it can stand on its own concrete feet. Highways crews now must put on decking, pave approaches and cut the ribbon before the span opens to traffic this spring. Though you can’t tell from this photo, this bridge is famously orange.

Stre-e-e-tch in all directions in this lycra and cotton cross-country ski suit modelled by Shelley Nichol at a fashion show at Sundial Restaurant Thursday. The display was put on for the WRA by Virginiga Meachin of Whistler Cross-Country Ski Centre and featured fashions from Carlsberg’s, Inge’s, The Downhill Shop, Whistler Village Sports, Village Traditions, Brick Shirt House and Whistler Tops.

Brownies from Barbados offer food and facts about their country at Myrtle Philip School Monday, February 28.

“Hold’er newt!” Cress Walker and Paul Clark inch their just-built Dash 34 sailboat out of the warehouse in preparation for launch day Monday, February 28. It was a tight squeeze but it came out just as it went in – barely.

1985

The Baxter Group’s Gondola Village has sprouted up like mushrooms at the gondola base during the past four months. Cranes continue to put the finishing touches to 245 units included in the project.

Export “A” Cup racers milled around the time board Wednesday to find out how they placed in the downhill but almost everyone was surprised when unheralded Steven Lee from Australia emerged as the victor.

Jack Demidoff points to the spot where he and his hoe smashed through the ice on Nita Lake.

Skateboarder Harry Hovatha of Victoria does a 360 aboard his Austrian-made Swingbo, a skateboard on skis that sells for about $400 and was recently introduced to the Canadian market. Hovatha was with a group of skateboarders who visited Whistler last week on a promotional tour. But they couldn’t use Whistler Mountain lifts because of provincial lift regulations.