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Looking Back

Change is constant in our lives and with each day that goes by, we can see that the rate of change is accelerating. Instinctively we tend to place a great deal of attention at looking ahead to navigate in our changing world.  On the other hand, an occasional glimpse into our rear-view-mirror can be an essential part of maintaining balance and situational awareness. We thought you might appreciate a few researched items and some newspaper articles from the past.  Later you might flip the page and move on to the future by visiting our "Looking Ahead" pages.

Today we worry about global warming, rising oceans, wildfires, and many other challenges.  Some will say these fears are unfounded but science and history tell us otherwise. Planet Earth is always changing.

During the Last Glacial Period (LGP), which occurred around 115,000 – 11,700 years ago, Canada and parts of the northern United States, were blanketed by a huge ice sheet. During the later part of this period, about 25,000 years ago, glaciers emerged from British Columbia’s Coast Mountains and from Vancouver Island and flowed down, and onto coastal lowlands and advanced south into the Straights of Georgia and Juan de Fuca reaching Puget Sound around 14,000 years ago. The thickness of ice in these areas, which include today’s City of Vancouver, reached 2 kilometres.

The enormous weight of this ice caused the earths crust underneath to depress (isostatic depression) as much as 300 metres.  Additionally, so much water on the planet was trapped as ice that ocean levels dropped about 122 metres lower than today.

The retreat of ice occurred “rapidly” and deglaciation to present-day ice cover was complete by about 10,000 years ago. As the world’s glacial-ice released water, ocean levels rose and inundated coastal lowlands including the depressed land of the Fraser Valley.  Over time, with the weight of the ice removed, the terrain in the Fraser Valley and elsewhere slowly rose, (post-glacial rebound) and continues to do so today.

1916: Vancouver Sun April 13 1916

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As the glaciers retreated they left behind considerable rock, sand and gravel residue called till.  Ablation till was carried near the surface of the glacier and basal till was carried at the base of the glacier and subject to enormous pressures.  In places where this glacial till was left behind it formed a layer of overburden on top of the granite bedrock. Basal till is very dense, strong and non-porous so it resists water flow.  We can see this glacial till exposed today in many places around Hotel Lake and  North Pender. 

On January 22, 1928 this article, written by F.H. Poole, appeared in the Vancouver Province newspaper.   Click the button below to read the charming story and be transported back in time. Follow the author, Poole's  travelogue from Irvines Landing up the government road through the tall timbers and arrive at a lovely Hotel Lake and then walk on to Bear Lake and beyond. It was simpler time, and yet surprisingly, according to Poole, "the government stocked the woods around Pender Harbour with pheasants that year".

Later, in 1928, this map and story appeared in the Vancouver Province newspaper and outlined what the future might bring to the Sunshine Coast, and in particular to Invine's Landing, depicted here as the north terminus for continued ferry service to Powell River. 

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On August 11, 1951, more than a decade since the idea of a passenger and vehicle ferry to open up the Sunshine Coast was first discussed, the MV Quillayute, operated by Black Ball Ferries Ltd., recently refitted at a cost of half a million dollars, left Horseshoe Bay for Gibsons Landing.


Capable of carrying 600 passengers and 48 cars, this was, a major change for the coast, one which opened easy access north from Vancouver.  The ferry schedule commence each day from Gibsons at 7:00am. Five daily return sailings were planned with the last returning to Gibsons by 9:30pm.


While the continuing service north to Powell River was not yet in place, plans were already in the works to start that in the following year.  A new road from Gibsons to Port Melon was also in the works and would be finished later that year


The capacity of this fledgling ferry service may seem small by todays standard, but it marked the beginning of a new period of great change and expansion on the coast.

Ferries, Cars, Trucks,People 

and Real Estate

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Abstract Water

Hotel Lake water licences on hold

Hotel Lake water licences on hold

The provincial Environmental Appeal Board has stalled the Sunshine Coast Regional District's (SCRD) acquisition of Hotel Lake water licences totalling over 11 million gallons per year. In its Aug.

Aug 12, 2005 1:00 AM By: Nancy Moote


The provincial Environmental Appeal Board has stalled the Sunshine Coast Regional District's (SCRD) acquisition of Hotel Lake water licences totalling over 11 million gallons per year.


In its August 8, 2005 decision, the appeal board ruled the SCRD needs to do more studies, specifically a master water plan for the Pender Harbour area, a water balance study for Hotel Lake and studies to determine the minimum acceptable water level for Hotel Lake. The water balance study is already underway.


Joe Harrison, president of Area A Quality Water Association (AAQWA), said a master water plan for the area is long overdue.


"We have a system that's leaking, doesn't function very well and doesn't have adequate treatment," he said.

In January of 2007 an AAQWA newsletter from president Joe Harrison was released and there was much good news to report about Hotel Lake. But there was more to do and the next opportunity was a February 13 SCRD Public Water Meeting, coming up soon.  Joe asked members for input, especially concerning draw down levels to be decided for Hotel Lake.  There was a sense of optimism about the future.  Please take the time to read this newsletter and understand the many issues that were soon to be resolved.  

Immediately after the February 13 Public Water Meeting, Joe Harrison wrote these welcome words in an AAQWA newsletter: 

Update from President Joe Harrison on the latest public meeting with SCRD and Ministry Officials.


Dear Members and Neighbours; 

Thanks, due in part to Sunshine Coast Regional Director John Rees, I am confident that AAQWA has won its fight to protect Hotel Lake.


The SCRD and BC Environment (MOE) officials, at a meeting on February 13th in Madeira Park, announced conditional cancellation of SCRD water licences on Hotel Lake (3 existing, 1 pending) totalling 25 million gallons, equivalent to 0.42 metres of water. The one remaining SCRD licence on Hotel Lake will draw down Hotel Lake 3.5 inches to about one foot most summers but it is still unclear what the maximum drawdown in severe drought will be. 


Bob Herath (MOE) also announced that no new water licences on Hotel Lake will be issued - ever!


Director Rees deserves a lot of credit. This announcement is part of a new Master Water Plan backed up by first rate scientific studies (online at <> ) to connect the North Pender system to Sakinaw Lake.


Fisheries official Grant McBain indicated that the Ruby Creek spawning channel, where BC Fish and Wildlife have a billion gallon water licence (yes a billion) has "lots of water". Regulating the inflow of two feet of this water for spawning needs and to stabilize summer levels on Sakinaw Lake, means a win-win for both fish and people. The new SCRD water licence on Sakinaw will have little or no impact on the lake level according to Kerr Wood Leidal, Consulting Scientists.


The SCRD framework that could eventually provide everyone in Area A with quality drinking water at an affordable cost will be introduced at the 


We need the co-operation of everyone working together to build an Area A water system using federal/provincial funds available only to the SCRD. Everyone wants quality water, free of arsenic, e-coli and other 'nasties'. The only way to do it without more huge increases in rates is joining together in one Area A system.


It's your turn to do your part. Please, if at all possible, plan to attend the meeting on February 27th to indicate your continued support for these initiatives. 


Joe Harrison
President, Area A Quality Water Association 

Here is an excellent story in the May 2008 issue of Harbour Spiel. This is the moment that transferred the historic Irvine's Landing School, on Hotel Lake into the benevolent care of the Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society.  It was from this new beginning that the restoration began and the historic school was renamed Sarah Wray Hall.


By the way, today, Sarah Wray Hall is in need of a new roof and a fund-raising effort is underway.


All donations would be helpful and you might even consider joining this great society.  Take a look:

Area residents raise concerns about Hotel Lake dock project

SCRD already signed a memorandum of understanding with the heritage society

May 27, 2021 Coast Reporter story 12:11 PM By: Keili Bartlett


The proposed dock location on Hotel Lake, as seen in a photo presented by delegate Ron Knight to the SCRD board meeting on May 20.SCRD Youtube screenshot

With the plans for a rowboat dock at Hotel Lake being floated, some residents are asking the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) to amend or terminate the proposal. 

At the May 20 planning and community development meeting, Ron Knight presented to the SCRD directors what he said were concerns from more than 50 of the area’s residents. 

At an SCRD meeting in September 2020, the Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society proposed building an access trail and boat dock in Hotel Lake Park to accommodate the supervised use of two rowboats from their museum collection. Access is through the park, and creation of the proposed path would require the clearing of some greenery.

Knight said residents’ concerns are for the water quality and environmental health of the lake, saying residents on the north side of Hotel Lake, including the Hotel Lake Campground, draw raw water from the lake with their own pumps. There’s also a nearby spawning stream, he said.


“We believe that the risks to drinking water for 40 residents on Hotel Lake and tourists at Hotel Lake Campground far outweigh the benefits to a very tiny boat-building programme,” Knight’s letter to the SCRD board said.

In his presentation, Knight raised issue with the potential for the dock to become a party site. By a rope swing at the north end of the lake, Knight said partiers often gather and leave behind trash, “feces and toilet paper in the bushes” and added he’s reported two cigarette-caused brush fires. 

“If a large unsupervised dock is installed on the south side of the lake, it will be much more convenient for those irresponsible people to party there,” Knight told directors. 


He offered two solutions on behalf of residents. One would see fencing installed along the walkway with a locked gate to discourage unsupervised access. Alternatively, Knight suggested using Katherine Lake Park instead of Hotel Lake. That park is a four-minute drive from where the society’s rowboats are stored, with supervision and amenities that Hotel Lake lacks. In his presentation, Knight also added that there are three launch sites already existing at Hotel Lake. 

At the May 20 meeting, SCRD directors asked staff what they’re able to do at this point, having already signed off on adding the proposal to a stewardship memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the heritage society.

Staff pointed out that the SCRD is not the deciding authority on the dock, since the project will need approval from shíshálh Nation and the provincial government before work can proceed. It will also have to meet provincial regulations.

After the presentation, Area A director Leonard Lee said, “I believe there’s a lot of community support for this dock. We’re only hearing one side of the conversation right now.”

He added that discussions around the proposal have been taking place since 2014, it’s been presented at town halls and the project proposal is available on the society’s website.

Rural directors, for areas A,B, D, E and F, voted to refer the materials from Knight’s presentation to staff to be considered feedback, and asked staff to engage with the Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society about the comments.

The May 27, 2021 Coast Reporter story, above, highlights some of the concerns that local residents had about a memorandum of understanding that exists between the SCRD and the Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society.  Local resident Ron Knight made a zoom presentation before the SCRD, about some of these concerns, on May 20. At the same time, there were growing questions about road and pedestrian safety, road signage, a crosswalk, a possible beach and the security of the proposed dock.  Perhaps most concerning at the time, was talk that elements of the MOU appeared to be evolving over time and that the small T-dock to accommodate two wooden boats for the PHLHS might be replaced by a 5 metre-wide metal, floating platform that was once used as part of a fish farm. The photo of that structure is attached here.  Concerns about size and appropriateness and questions about who would own, maintain and remove this huge platform, at the end of its life, were resolved when the PHLHS clarified that they were not planning to use a fish farm platform but planned a small floating dock from which to operate two small rowboats.

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Motoko Baum needs little introduction.  All who live here admire and respect her talent and her deep love for animals and the environment.


Her exceptional talent as an artist and communicator shines through in a recent letter to the editor in the Coast Reporter which is attached.


How can anyone amongst us fail to agree with Motoko’s heartfelt insistence that “Hotel Lake desperately needs at least one public dock for safer access and to launch rowboats”. She correctly points out that Irvines Landing Road and Hotel Lake Road both lack shoulders for pedestrians or parking and she raises concern for small children when “aggressive vehicles pass by them dangerously close during the summer season". These are important concerns as is her concluding statement that the Lake should be “treated with much love and respect."

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