An alternative vision …

June 14, 2014

The summer season on Pender is an important part of our economy, with most island businesses dependent on the increase in visitors to our bit of paradise. I know I’m not alone though when I look forward to the quiet days of early fall! I think for myself and many others that the greatest drawback of summer visitors is the increased traffic on the roads and the lack of parking. Rather than attempt to solve this problem with more asphalt, let me paint a picture of an alternative …

It is summertime, and your family has been pestering you to go visit Pender again. You live on the Saanich Peninsula and while summer days on Pender were an enjoyable part of your childhood, rising gas prices and ferry fares have made this a rare extravagance for your kids. Fortunately, now there are some choices. You and your family board the bus for Swartz Bay and get on the Saturday morning ferry for Pender. It’s mostly running on time today and you meet the Pender Community Bus at the other end. For a donation, the friendly driver takes you all to the Nu-to-yu which has just opened with all the great deals you remember. After browsing for treasures you take a short walk up to the Community Hall along a roadside path. The Farmers Market is in full swing, with lots of treats, fresh vegetables and handicrafts. Feeling rather flush (after you only spent a dollar at the Nu-to-yu!) you treat the family to some pastries and relax by the lounge on the deck. As the market wraps up you strike out with the family again, heading south along a path over private land that had been negotiated under the new GITS agreement (see the May 2014 Pender Post article). It is a pleasant stroll alongside the farmers fields and soon you arrive at the corner of Bedwell Harbour Rd. Turning right, you now proceed along the Einar’s Hill Bypass, a public trail which follows the right of way down a gentle slope through meadow and trees. Reaching the edge of the airstrip, you pause to look for traffic, but today the only flyers are a group of Canada geese browsing beside the pond. You continue onto the boardwalk that skirts the edge of the pond, through the fragrant skunk cabbage and hear a splash to your left. Maybe it was a beaver ? The kids look intently but the only evidence are some gnawed tree trunks … next time perhaps. As you continue along the trail you go up a rise and meet a couple of cyclists heading north. They have chosen the bypass to avoid the steep hairpin turn on the road, a tricky spot to negotiate. Continuing through the cool greenery of second growth forest, you pass through a section of the national park reserve then follow an old logging/access road past another pond to the Driftwood Centre. The return trip of the Community Bus isn’t scheduled for a while, not a problem with all the opportunities to shop or just sit by the cafe and enjoy the afternoon. Maybe the thought of the beach at Browning attracts you and you cross the road to follow the Hamilton trail down to the shore … a beer on the deck at the pub perhaps ? Or perhaps second thoughts about that almost new lamp at the Nu-to-yu make you decide to wander to the car stop opposite and catch a ride back north before the store closes. Either way, by the time you are all on the ferry heading back to Swartz you will have had a full and satisfying day out, all without using your car !

Naturally, the above scenario is not yet a reality but if this sounds like the sort of project you’d like to support, come on out the the next MAP meeting (usually 1st Saturday, just after the market on the deck beside the lounge).

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