Protection Island

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A week or so ago we were visiting in Nanaimo and heard about Protection Island. Actually I was told it was a place I would enjoy as there were few motor vehicles on the island.

One afternoon we took a small passenger ferry across from Nanaimo harbour to the island – about a 10 min. ride. The ferry holds about 35 people and has bike racks for 4 bikes. See the photo above.

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The ferry docks next to the pub/restaurant on the island and it is a short walk up to the road network on the island. The second photo (above) is taken at the area just up from the dock. You can see Nanaimo in the background. There were several motor vehicles parked there but mainly there were bikes, some with trailers and several electric golf carts.

The road network is made up of gravel roads and quite a few walking paths. A resident told us that there are about 300 permanent residents on the island plus quite a few who have vacation cottages. The residents have rejected paved and improved roads, liking it the way it is. In effect, the narrow gravel roads provide natural traffic calming.

It was great walking around the island. We passed quite a few pedestrians, some obviously bringing groceries (and beer) home on foot and a few driving quiet golf carts at low rates of speed. Most people walked in the middle of the road and when we were passed by one motor vehicle, the driver was very careful, drove slowly and gave a wave when we moved over.

It would appear that the owners of the few motor vehicles on the island are known and it would be quite foolish for them to drive idiotically.

Most of the houses are fairly small and most do not have huge garages beside them or taking up space in the building. More often than not, the houses had a number of bikes parked beside them and of course there were quite a few golf carts.

We didn’t see any locked up bikes – after all anyone taking a bike can’t go very far.

All in all a very rare and enjoyable environment where the motor vehicle does not rule and people are welcome on the streets.

John.

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