Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Powell River began as a pulp and paper company town. Though the mill remains the region's largest employer (400 workers), new economies are emerging. Tourism is one, retirement is another.

Directly south of the breakwater that protects the mill's logging pond are two beaches. The first beach is known as Second or Third Beach by some, First Beach by others. Those who know the first beach as Second or Third Beach recognize the first beach as Waddington Beach, the tourist beach (see my August 22 post). Those older see Waddington Beach as Third Beach, with First Beach (or Second or Third Beach) the first beach you see just south of the mill.

On Sunday, while watching the sunset at First Beach (or Second or Third Beach), I noticed a seal circling a swimmer. Eventually the swimmer came ashore and, after changing behind his motorcycle, introduced himself as a native son. He told me the gravel road behind us bypasses the town and meets up with Powell Lake; that most of its dirt bike and dune buggy traffic consists of those coming down from the lake to buy off-sales at the Rodmay.

Of course the real reason for this road is not to service beer runs but to bring logs to the logging pond, where they are sorted and sent to the mill. That this road bypasses the town is common to places that like to keep work at a remove. That it is used for play makes towns like Powell River a joy.

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