For many people, lifting a house and transporting it via semi-truck to another part of Vancouver Island may be a rare sight. But for Cory Belton, it’s just another day on the job.
Belton is the house moving foreman with Belton Bros. Structural Movers, a family-owned company that specializes in moving homes and other structural buildings from point A to point B.
During the past 25 years, Belton has been involved in transporting dozens of houses. Most recently, he moved a house from Langford to Goldstream Provincial Park, over the Malahat, to the company’s storage lot in Cobble Hill and finally to Chemainus.
“I sure sleep good,” said Belton about completing a move. “It’s a big sigh of relief when we finally get it into the place where we park it.”
But moving the home, which took place in multiple stages, beginning last Thursday and was completed earlier this week, wasn’t a walk in the park. It was the result of months of work, planning and co-ordination with various parties.
The company originally purchased the four-bedroom, two-bathroom home on Walfred Road from a developer. As part of the move, the company put 12-inch steel beams that are 60-feet long under the house. Then they jacked up the 31-feet wide and 57-feet long house using a hydraulic system, and slid it off its cement foundation onto the truck for transportation over the Malahat.
But before the move, Belton had to get the green light from different parties, including B.C. Hydro, to ensure the house was able to safely pass under wires, as well as contractors doing construction on the Malahat.
In the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 31, Belton drove the house slowly up the Malahat, along with help from two spotters who watched the corners of the house as it was being transported. Pilot cars that were radio-controlled let them know what was going on around them.
But that wasn’t the only problem.The house also had to be transported over two bridges in Duncan that were undergoing seismic work. Belton had to arrange for the bridges to be shut down early Tuesday morning to transport the house over them.
While moving homes from one place to another is a challenge, it’s one Belton welcomes.
“The fact that you can pick something up so large and so heavy and move it around like it’s nothing. It’s a challenge, but it’s satisfying,” he said. “And the fact that you’re keeping 90,000 pounds of waste out of the landfill. Once it’s on a new foundation, it’s still good for another 70 years.”
The house has been sold and will be transported to Old Lake Cowichan Road off of Highway 18, and will go to its forever home there.
Over the years, Belton has moved a number of houses over the Malahat.
The one that sticks out for him involved moving a six-bedroom and three-bathroom house from Sidney, putting it on a barge and shipping it to the Sunshine Coast. The entire move took more than 10 days.
“I’ve done some big houses in my career, but that was probably the longest move of my career,” Belton said.