Thursday 30 May 2019

BCO Coastal Gems: Coal Harbour

Coal Harbour sits at the northwest end of paved road on Vancouver Island, about 20 minutes from Port Hardy. It is the access point for Quatsino Sound and a popular launch for those heading out to explore the myriad of waterways in the region.

 During World War II Coal Harbour was a Canadian Air Forces base for Pacific seaplane patrols, and some of the buildings are still in use today. After the war many of the buildings were bought by BC Packers, and it became a whaling station. It was Canada's last whaling station to cease operations, closing in 1967. From the 1970s to 1996 a near by copper mine brought more business into the community.

Since the closure of the mine, Coal Harbour has become a bedroom community for Port Hardy as well as a launch point for fishermen, boaters and kayakers looking to explore Quatsino Sound and the open waters of the Pacific. There is also seaplane service offering flights to west coast fishing lodges and various work camps as well as some of the water access coastal communities, such as Quatsino.

Quatsino First Nations operates the marina in the community, where there is moorage, fuel, showers and a laundromat. There is also a government dock.

Coal Harbour is a pretty little community and with paved road access from Port Hardy and the rest of Vancouver Island, it is the ideal end of the road before getting on the water.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 23 May 2019

Overnight Hiking on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is renowned for water-based recreation and exploration, but there is also a lot of land-based recreation available. The island has such a variety of ecosystems that someone looking for a multi-day hike adventure has many choices. 

You want mountains? Head to Strathcona Park where you will find a number of over-night or longer hikes that will take you to a number of iconic mountains in the park, such as Mt. Albert Edward.

Strathcona Park

Looking for southern rugged shores? Head to the Juan de Fuca Trail.

The West Coast Trail is a world-famous trail that requires signing up to a waiting list at least a year in advance to even get to hike it.

Looking for remote? Head over to Nookta Island and the multi-day trail there. Or drive to the northern tip of the island and hike the Cape Scott Trail, along boardwalks and mud, and then move onto the North Coast Trail which extends from the Cape Scott Trail.

Cape Scott

Want to add some canoeing into the hiking adventure? Della Falls, Canada’s highest waterfall, is the spot for you.

There are many more that can be done by pushing in one long day or split more comfortably into two days. The island is absolutely the place for outdoor adventuring of all kinds, including serious hiking.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 16 May 2019

Exploring The Discovery Islands: Teakerne Arm Provincial Park

Tucked into a cove midway up the side of West Redonda Island hides a little gem. A dock directs boaters to Teakerne Arm Provincial Park, where a trail along beautiful mossy bluffs leads to the stunning Cassel Falls, a wide expanse of water tumbling straight down into the ocean.

Shelley and her husband were out exploring the other week-end and took a great video tour from the park!


It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 9 May 2019

BCO Coastal Gems: Port Hardy

Port Hardy, with a population of approx. 4000, is the largest coastal community on North Vancouver Island. The community embraces a strong First Nations culture and also recognizes a past rich in resource-based work. It is now best known as a tourism and transportation centre.

The community is a gateway to Cape Scott Provincial Park as well as to the diverse waters of Johnstone Strait.

Visitors enjoy the beauty of Storey’s Beach, an expansive sandy and pebble beach just south of town. The seawall along Hardy Bay is also a great way to enjoy the beautiful views.

Recognized as having some of the most spectacular underwater scenery on the Pacific coast, the waters around areas like Stubbs Island, Christie Pass and Quatsino Narrows attract divers from all over the world, who see an array of interesting marine species as well as shipwrecks and sunken cargo ships.

Port Hardy serves as a transport hub for the BC Central Coast region and is the terminal for the BC Ferries Inside Passage route to Prince Rupert.

The town offers a wide range of amenities including shopping, hotels, marine services, a full recreation/community center, seaplane base and more. Just minutes away is the Seven Hills Golf and Country Club.  

Spectacular mountain views, large expanses of natural wilderness areas and miles of undeveloped coastline are readily accessible and combine to create an ideal setting for a full range of outdoor activities, from sports fishing & boat cruises to wilderness hiking.

Marine recreation opportunities for visitors include fresh and salt-water fishing, world class caving, underwater diving and ocean kayaking and canoeing. A kaleidoscope of colourful marine life abounds in the waters around northern Vancouver Island.

Port Hardy is definitely a place to visit and use as a base to explore more of the North island region. The drive from Campbell River to Port Hardy on Highway 19 takes 2.5 to 3 hours.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 2 May 2019

Flushing or Not - Getting Rid of the Waste

One of the many things that need to be considered when looking at a remote or recreational property outside of municipal boundaries is how septic waste disposal happens. There are many options, and each has its own merits.

Indoor plumbing is generally an option, but it can be costly. All properties who choose to have indoor plumbing, and are not on a municipal waste system, are supposed to have a permitted system, which means installation and inspection by a professional. In our region this is covered by the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA). You can find more information about regulations for septic systems at the VIHA site here.

Many of the systems available still require pumping and disposal of the waste from a holding tank. These can be great options for those living on larger islands where pumping services are available (such as Quadra, Cortes or Gabriola); however not such a great option for many recreational and more remote properties. There are also filtration systems and outflow systems, all of which direct the waste somewhere else (such as gravel fields or in some cases directly out to bodies of water).

For most people when they think of cabins and remote properties, the traditional outhouse comes to mind. These are still very popular and common, and once established require little more than routine maintenance. Outhouses can be fun to decorate and they can range from incredibly rustic to quite fancy.

There are three waterless options that property owners can consider. These can be inside a cabin or in an outhouse-style building.

*Composting Toilets. These are toilets that use aerobic processing through composting. This is a controlled composting system that protects the surrounding environment. These are popular systems and readily available in many countries. Here is some more explanation on how they work:

*Incinerating Toilets. As the name implies these toilets burn the waste. This can be done in a few ways depending on the system's design but generally the waste is reduced to an ash in a holding tank and then can be safely disposed of. This is an information sheet from 1999 created by the EPA in the US, all about incinerating toilets:

*Evaporating Toilets. These systems actually dry-out the waste and create a sterile, compact waste that can be safely disposed of in the trash system. There are both passive systems that require no outside electricity and systems that do require some energy input. Evaporating toilets are very low maintenance.

There are solutions for every budget and every lifestyle!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!