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Pirate ship treehouse sunk by court ruling

Sun., Sept. 21, 2008

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – As his two young sons looked on Saturday, one in tears, Andrew Dewberry and a crew of friends dismantled their beloved pirate ship treehouse.

The Vancouver architect said he had no choice but to obey a court order that was issued in July, after a two-year dispute involving a neighbor and city officials.

“I feel very positive about it at the moment because it is going to auction at Boys and Girls Club of Vancouver,” Dewberry said.

The situation was explained to his sons Jack, 9, and Sam, 7, before Dewberry and a crew of hammer-wielding volunteers dismantled the treehouse, he said.

“It’s been two years,” he said. “They’ve had a lot of joy with the tree fort.”

As the ship’s bow crashed to the driveway, tears welled in Sam’s eyes and he hugged his mother, Jayne Seagrave.

“I think there’s a big public outcry,” Seagrave said. “Although we lost in court, we won in the court of public opinion.”

Jack stood with a friend and watched as others milled about the family’s front garden.

“I think that it’s really strange,” he said. “Why all the fuss over one tree fort?

“We wanted to sleep in it over the summer one time, but we didn’t get around to it and now we can’t.”

Seagrave said the controversy made them a lot of friends in the community.

Provincial Court Judge Conni L. Bagnall admired the workmanship of the fort, complete with plastic cannons sticking out the side, but on July 18 she ordered it removed from its perch 6 1/2 feet up a tree in front of the family’s home in the tony Kerrisdale neighborhood.

Bagnall ruled that Dewberry and Seagrave failed to comply with a valid order to remove the treehouse, adding that the merits of the tree fort were irrelevant to whether it was in violation of city bylaws

Dewberry and Seagrave were each fined $250 dollars Canadian for breaking bylaws and were given 90 days to remove the structure.


 

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