In March of 2013, the Ucluelet area was shocked when environmental contamination was discovered at the
Toquaht Marina and Campground, located in Toquaht Bay.
Testing discovered unacceptable levels of arsenic, selenium, cobalt and iron,
unfortunate souvenirs from the Brynnor Mine that closed in the late 1960s. As a precaution to protect human health, the area was closed to the public.
The site included a popular public boat launch, which many locals used to access remote areas of Barkley Sound. The Toquaht office has received countless phone calls, e-mails and messages from locals expressing support for some manner of access to the boat launch.
After further environmental testing and some hard work to find a creative solution, we are happy to announce that the Toquaht Bay marina and boat launch will reopen for access on August
26. The beach and campground section of the site, however, remain closed and have been fenced off to prevent access to the area.
The boat launch and marina will likely close again in a couple of years while the site is remediated, after which the whole area will be fully reopened. Contaminated sites remediation is an arduous and complex process, and will be done in phases to keep impact to the boat launch at an absolute minimum.
While the boat launch is an important service, the Toquaht Marina and Campground also featured a kayak launch that was popular with locals and tourists alike. With that in mind, last summer the Toquaht Nation moved very quickly and worked very hard to build a new recreation area, the Secret Beach Campground and Kayak Launch, in only a few months. Financial support was provided by the Province of British Columbia, for which we are very grateful. The Secret Beach Campground and Kayak Launch is located just a few kilometers
away from the former recreation site and boat launch. It features 67 campsites, a beautiful kayak launch, and parking for kayakers who seek adventure for more than a day trip. As the gateway to the world-famous Broken Group Islands, the spot has been extremely popular with kayakers from near and far. Locals have also utilized the area to launch small paddleboats, canoes and paddleboards.
With the Secret Beach Campground and Kayak Launch in full swing and the Toquaht Bay marina and boat launch reopened, all of the services that were formerly provided in the area are now in place again.
We hope to see you at the Secret Beach Campground and Kayak Launch or the reopened boat launch one day soon. Come explore Toquaht territory, and see what we have to offer.
Sarah Robinson is director of operations at Toquaht Nation.