Looking into a freshly cleared area in the trees, a well is in the foreground

QXMC: The Squirrel Cove Project

It has been almost two years since a parcel of land the Klahoose acquired in Squirrel Cove was added to the reserve. Shortly after that, the  Klahoose development corporation (QXMC) discussed plans to develop 30-40 campsites. Then there was talk of a gas station. 

All of these ideas became much more real about a month ago, when a contractor started falling trees. Now there is a cleared area and freshly drilled well on the part of the property west of Squirrel Cove Road. Across the road, to the east, the path of a future driveway is laid out as a u-shaped clearing. There is also a second well.  

Ron Buchhorn, Chairman of the Board of QXMC

QXMC Chair Ron Buchhorn explained, “We are currently under contract to a design builder by the name of VisionQuest, which will manage the engineering and construction of a Chevron station and  a full service store that will be supplied by Co-op. Because of the Chevron branding on the service station, it won’t be branded a Co-op store, it’ll be branded the Klahoose Market or something like that.” 

“Across the road from the store and gas station is an RV site. The road has been cleared into that site. We’ll be doing a really nice job of keeping whatever trees we can, keeping the RV paths nicely treed and forested. So it’ll be a very park-like setting.”

There will be 35 RV spots. 

“Along the waterfront where we can, we’ll be building some nice cottages. We’re going to do a really nice design to see how many cottages we can actually put in because the elevation drop in some areas will not support a cottage on the waterfront. We’ll have to look at the actual topography and decide how many cottages we can actually build along the waterfront. But I would say, from just my cursory look at the property, we should be able to get six to eight cottages along the waterfront there.” 

CC: “When are any of the parts of this expected to open? 

RB: Well, the store and gas bar: we have been told the design will be about four months and the build will be around eight months. So we’re hoping for a grand opening sometime next September or October for the Chevron gas station and the Co-op store.” 

“We will take our time on the RV Park. It probably would be for the following season, the 2025 season.” 

“This should be a first class facility. It’ll obviously service the First Nation reserve with a decent store and gas facility, and then allow visitors to Cortes to experience a really nice RV park.” 

There may be an additional component once QXMC builds the new restaurant in Gorge Harbor.

RB: “I’m told there’s a market for the food truck down at Squirrel Cove,  if we have the RV park down there. Kathy tells me that there will be a market for a food truck in that area.” 

Chairman Buchhorn later emailed, “One of the things we didn’t discuss in our interview on the future of Squirrel Cove is the necessity for BC Hydro to provide Squirrel Cove with Phase 3 Power.  This was a historical wrong – the entire Island other than Squirrel Cove was provided with Phase 3 power.  This has resulted in less development in the Squirrel Cove area – for example, at the sawmill, we are reliant on propane and diesel generators.  The new Klahoose First Nation Administration Building had to rely on propane rather than electricity for heating and air conditioning.” 

“We have started the process to have Hydro provide the service which will be essential for the store, gas station and RV park.  They are telling us it will take 8 months to do the design – which is totally unacceptable for the development that we are looking at.”

There was not time for to BC Hydro to reply. A media spokesperson said they should have answers next week. One factor for not previously putting Phase 3 into Squirrel Cove MIGHT be that the load from Squirrel Cove at that time did not warrant it.

Top image credit: View from the well on the West side of the property towards area being cleared for a gas station and store store – Photo by Roy L Hales

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