Thwaytes Landing is located in Indian Arm, in the District of North Vancouver. This impressive 130-acre property is directly across from the historic Buntzen Powerhouses, about one-half of the way into the Arm.
Steep, spectacular cliffs characterize Indian Arm. The rocky beaches that do exist are either privately owned, at the entrance or at the far end of the Arm. One quarter of the Thwaytes waterfront is an accessible beach that is a favourite rest area for many boaters, including kayakers and canoeists. Adjoining Thwaytes Landing are two provincial parks: Mount Seymour Provincial Park and the newly created Indian Arm Provincial Park. The property has significant recreational potential as a specific destination and will provide an essential gateway to any future trails in Indian Arm.
Other features of the property include cliffs with rocky outcrops, three year-round streams, waterfalls, and a mature coniferous forest. There are already some trails that lead to various waterfalls and viewpoints. Man-made structures include a heritage home built in 1927, a boathouse and a dock. There is no road access.
TLC’s Acquisition of Thwaytes Landing
Thwaytes Landing is zoned as 78% Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PRO) and 22% Residential Single Family 2 (RS2). RS2 zoning permits single family lots of 12,000 square feet. PRO zoning permits a variety of parks and commercial uses, including campgrounds and marinas. If not protected, the property will be under tremendous development pressure, and much of the valuable wildlife habitat could be lost. The property would also remain in private hands and off limits to the public.
Development pressure is continuously increasing in the Lower Mainland and those privately owned areas that contain important natural features and habitat that have, so far, escaped development are now in danger of being lost. Thwaytes Landing, with its beach, natural features, and accessible location is a natural addition to the protected areas already found in Indian Arm.
TLC has negotiated a contribution agreement to purchase the property with the District of North Vancouver, the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), and the Pacific Parkland Foundation for the total price of $1.5 million. When the purchase is complete, the property will become a GVRD Regional Park, called Thwaytes Landing Regional Recreation Area. The park will be managed by the GVRD.
The following organizations have endorsed and will be contributing to the purchase of Thwaytes Landing as a protected natural space and recreation area:
Other supporters include:
Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre
Sea Kayaking Association of BC
Dogwood Canoe Club
City of North Vancouver
Deep Cove Yacht Club
Deep Cove Community Association
Visiting Thwaytes Landing
There is no road access to Thwaytes Landing; the only access is by boat. The public road stops to the south at Deep Cove and turns into a private road known as Sasamat Lane. The lane stops 1 1/2 miles away and provides access for some of the more southern residents of Indian Arm. A trail does exist from Sasamat Lane to Thwaytes Landing and there has been pressure by some Indian Arm residents to extend the road to the property.
The rocky beach is a popular stopping place for both kayakers and canoeists. Paddlers can currently use this beach as a day-use rest area only. Indian Arm, due to its steep cliffs, has few places where boaters are welcome to visit above the high tide mark and which are not privately owned. Paddlers can only stop at the entrance to the Arm or must paddle to the end, which can be a very tiring full day excursion. Thwaytes Landing is a comfortable two-hour paddle from Deep Cove.
There are currently no facilities at Thwaytes Landing and they will be unavailable until a management plan is completed by the GVRD in 2004. For your safety, please avoid all cliffs. Please respect the caretaker’s privacy and avoid the house, dock and the other buildings. Build no fires and keep dogs leashed.
Location, Historical & Natural Features
Located halfway into Indian Arm on the western side, Thwaytes Landing is considered to be the last large residentially-zoned oceanfront property left in the Vancouver area. This 130-acre waterfront property comprises 19 legal lots. Most of the surrounding private properties are single family dwellings with an average size of a quarter acre. About one kilometer away is Frames Landing where artist Statira Frame lived and her friend Emily Carr visited. Not far to the south is Camp Jubilee that is currently available for rent by community groups. To the north is Point Beautiful (also known as Best Point) where other small lots exist and where a house of prostitution served the work crews at Buntzen from 1900 to 1910. Along the western and northern boundaries are Mount Seymour and Indian Arm Provincial Parks. Thwaytes Landing is named after Captain Tom Thwaytes and his wife Anya, a Russian princess, who moved to the site in 1927. They built the original house the same year and ran a chicken farm. The current owner purchased the property in 1970 and lived there until 1996.
The 1927 historic waterfront home is located on Lots 12 and 15. This two-story house has a large open deck, many windows, heavy wood beams, a complete kitchen, two bathrooms, and two bedrooms. Nearby are the boathouse and waterwheel shed. The waterwheel shed houses the waterwheel generator that, for 60 years, used the water from Holmden Creek to provide power for the house. Today, the property is fully serviced by Telus and BC Hydro. Other structures include a dock and a ‘firehall’ built in an ancient cedar stump and consisting of a high-pressure hose.
Natural Features and Wildlife
One-quarter of the Thwaytes Landing waterfront consists of a rocky beach. The rest of the waterfront has spectacular steep cliffs. Holmden Creek runs through the property and meets the ocean at the mouth of the beach. Cascading through a canyon, Holmden Creek is known for its beautiful waterfall and pools. In 1990, there was a dangerous washout resulting in a flood of debris. There are also two springs at Thwaytes Landing: Thwaytes Spring and Point Beautiful Spring. Band-tailed pigeons frequent the rocky beach since they need mineral gravelling sites for egg production.
Directly above the house and near the beach is where the old chicken farm was located. Today, there is a deciduous forest including bigleaf maples (Acer macrophyllum) with introduced species, such as Himalayan blackberry (Rubus discolor).
On the cliffs are moss-covered rocky outcrops with Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii ssp. menziesii) and shore pine (Pinus contorta var. contorta). The rest of the property consists mainly of mature second growth Western red cedar (Thuja plicata), Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), and Douglas-fir. The area may possibly be a marbled murrelet nesting site. Some Arbutus (Arbutus menziesii) trees are also located near the northeastern corner. Black bears, deer, wolves, and river otters, among other wildlife, can be found at Thwaytes Landing.