upon a time there was a little community called Tuwanek, which existed
happily at the foot of Mt. Richardson on Sechelt Inlet. Others, who did not live there, frequently
referred to it as the armpit of the Sunshine Coast, but Tuwanek residents were not bothered. They
smiled. They thought the others were jealous.
In years past Tuwanek had been home to a boat- access
wilderness lodge/gambling joint/speak-easy/etc., but in the early 1960s all
the land along the waterfront and back to the steep slopes was subdivided.
Each lot had covenants placed on it prohibiting commercial activities,
tourism/rentals and industrial uses. The residential and recreational community
of Tuwanek came into being.
beautiful day, shocked Tuwanek residents watched as a logging outfit moved
its equipment in and set up shop and a log booming ground. The chainsaws
started up. Debris was burned on the beach across the bay, on residentially
zoned land. The workers were bucking logs to length in the water and soon the
bay was full of debris. Tuwanek couldn't hear itself think, and the sky
rained soot for months on end.
When residents complained to the company they were told to
get used to it, but they never did. They complained to their regional
district representative who agreed that the residents of Tuwanek had every
right to be concerned and then, at the eleventh hour, turned on them, calling
them unpatriotic and selfish and dismissing their protestations with,
"only the people in Tuwanek are yelling".
He said the residential
zoning across the bay was a "mistake". From that time forth the
armpit dwellers kept their eye on their regional representative and whenever
they saw something on the horizon, the community was right there.
It took five years, and a new Director, but they stopped
the Industrial Park rezoning. They stopped the industrial burning, which cast
a pall over Tuwanek for six months of the year and was causing severe
allergies in most of Tuwanek's children. They
fought for and won reasonable hours of operation and constraints on noise.
In 1986, when the village of Sechelt, in concert with Victoria, decided to ‘restructure’ outlying communities,
Tuwanek was strongly opposed but individual communities did not get to vote
themselves in or out.
residents considered their’s a rural residential
community. They worried that the loss of direct accountability to area
residents under a municipal government would result in the homogenization of
the differences that make each community distinct and the Sunshine Coast interesting. It turned out they were right.
After all the talk of lower taxes was over and the new
brightly color coded zoning maps were produced, Tuwanek found that all the
land around them had been slated for one commercial/ industrial use or
another and Tuwanek's residential zoning
restrictions were to be weakened.
Town Hall public hearing was so packed with loud and irate residents,
particularly from Sandy Hook, Tillicum Bay and Tuwanek, that Mayor Koch finally stood up and
told the community to color the map the way they wanted.