For the last 28 years, I have called Sechelt home. Of all the places on the Sunshine Coast I have found this community to be the best place to raise our two daughters, work in community newspapers, engage in Coast arts & culture as a home base, and travel.
When I first moved into West Sechelt, there were barely any homes above Derby, Mills, and Mason Roads. I was the 3rd house in from Norwest Bay, up an 18% grade hill on Nickerson, and was surrounded by forests and backyards.
Today West Sechelt and The Shores community on Sechelt Inlet, linked by Heritage Trail and Kinnickinick Park, have exploded with new homes and small parks. Where I once had total privacy, south sun and north shade the back of my home is now exposed to a full neighbourhood of houses and strata communities, and the back end of my lot sees the only sun while the south is screened in with tall trees, including my own. Nickerson is almost a thoroughfare compared to the old days. But it has been a great place for schools, neighbourliness and accessibility.
It is 40 minutes from the Langdale terminal, but the float plane hubs for Nanaimo and Vancouver are here, regular land-based air services to Victoria, and it’s the jumping off point for Sechelt, Salmon and Narrows Inlets – a favourite playground.
The District of Sechelt is located on a very narrow isthmus that forms a bridge between the waters of Georgia Strait and the Sechelt Inlet, also called the Inland Sea. Famous as the home of the progressive Sechelt Indian Band and the Annual Festival of the Written Arts, Sechelt is the geographical centre of the Lower Sunshine Coast.
2011 Census info:
Population 9,291 (2011 Census)
Growth rate 8.7% (2001 Census)
Dwellings 3,853 (occupied private dwellings)
Area 39 sq. km.
*Latest figures say the population is nearing 10,000.
Approximate 9.9% increase (national average is 5.9)
Percentage of people over 65: 28.4% (ntl av 11.6)
Percentage of working age adults: 60%
Percentage of children: 11.6% (0-14)
Number of families: 2830 (up 12% from 2006)
Housing: 80.6% single detached house, .8% semi-detached house, 5.6% row house, 8.8% apartment, 2.3 moveable dwelling, remainder ‘other’.
District of Sechelt
5797 Cowrie Street Sechelt
Sechelt Indian Government District
School District #46
494 S. Fletcher, Gibsons
Village, Selma Park, Davis Bay, Wilson Creek, West Sechelt, East Porpoise Bay, West Porpoise Bay, Sandy Hook, and Tuwanek.
IMPORTANT SECHELT NUMBERS
Fire Department (non-emergency):
Sechelt & District Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 360
#102 – 5700 Cowrie Street
Sechelt BC V0N 3A0
Toll Free 1.877.633.2963
Sechelt Visitor Information Centre:
1-877-885-1036 (Toll Free)
5790 Teredo Street
Sechelt, BC V0N 3A0
Sechelt Downtown Business Association:
Street Address: #203 – 5760 Teredo St
Phone: (604) 885-9611
5638 Inlet Avenue
Sechelt Medical Clinic:
Inlet Avenue Sechelt
St. Mary’s Hospital
Sunshine Coast Highway
Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living
Suite 105-5711 Mermaid Street
Chatelech Senior Secondary School
5904 Cowrie Street
West Sechelt Elementary School
5609 Mason Road
Kinnickinick Elementary/Middle School
6030 Lighthouse Avenue,
Davis Bay Elementary School
5078 Davis Bay Road
tel: 604 885.9523
L’école du Pacifique
5538 Shorncliffe, Box 390
CLIMATE & GEOGRAPHY OF SECHELT
Sechelt is part of the temperate rainforest climate territory. Summers are warm, usually in the mid-to-high 20s (celsius), very occasionally heading into the 30s, and in 2009 actually reached 40 celsius. Sechelt, being on the isthmus and around Selma Park/Davis Bay, is not in any rainshadows and often has clearer weather (2400 hours of sunshine/year) than both Gibsons and Pender Harbour – except in Sandy Hook/Tuwanek, which lie at the foot of Mt. Richardson and the Tetrahedron Plateau. Winter temperatures in the most populous parts of Sechelt get to around 0 celsius; -2 to +3 is great snow weather for Dakota Ridge. Sechelt gets approximately 114cm/45″ of precipitation each year.
Over the past 5 years, the trend has been towards dry and hot summers. Occasionally this has combined with poor snowfall in the winter (2014/15) and in 2015 led to Stage 4 water restrictions for many weeks. Many homeowners install rainwater collection systems for gardens and non-potable water, and most residents vie for the brownest lawn award in support of water conservation. Fire bans in the summer are becoming more common, the last two years seeing bans pretty much from June through September.
The growing season is quite long, often with early and late crops, and winter crops. There are a number of farms and ranches up on the West Sechelt plateau overlooking Sechelt Inlet. In storm season, Davis Bay and Trail Bay (Sechelt Village) experience tidal surges during high wind periods. Fall and spring bring mostly southeasterly gales, and late spring and in the summer there can be strong northwesterly blows. The region is becoming warmer from a growers perspective and fruit trees and flowers needing heat and sun do increasingly well.
The Sunshine Coast gets all kinds of sunshine, both radiant and wet. Grey skies are common in the late fall and through the winter, along with steady rain, pouring rain during storms, and light drizzles that last for days – mainly at sea level and part way up the slopes from the waterfront. Sea level rarely sees snow, and what does come down does not stay for long. However, Sechelt is hilly away from the water and the weather can be markedly different during winter months, and roads that are bare at highway level can see 6-10cm 1/2 km up side roads.
Locals (Bigpacific Publisher included) who struggle with low light and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) use full-spectrum lighting, and spend 30-60 minutes outdoors daily, regardless of weather, in activities like walking, hiking, mountain biking, mushrooming, snowshoeing and skiing. The Dakota Ridge Winter Recreation area is less than 30 minutes drive from Sechelt and is often in full sunshine.