New gas station ends long drought in Port Renfrew
For 20 years, residents of the Vancouver Island community faced a 2-hour drive to fill up the tank
Port Renfrew residents celebrated Thursday as a ribbon was cut to officially open the first gas station in the community in 20 years.
The new fuel retailer means residents and visitors won't need to make a two-hour round trip to fill the tank or keep filled jerry cans close at hand.
"It's been a rough 20 years with no gas" Pacheedaht First Nation Chief Jeff Jones said.
Jerry cans and borrowing from neighbours
"We've been relying on tiny tanks and borrowing gas off neighbours."
The Pacheedaht First Nation developed the station,which is expected to support four full time and four part time employees.
The Port Renfrew marina sells gas during the warmer months but from October to mid-April the nearest gas was 71 kilometres to the southeast in Sooke or 62 kilometres northeast in Lake Cowichan.
Tourism and resident numbers have been growing for the unincorporated community which counted 145 permanent residents in the 2016 census.
Port Renfrew is the southern entrance to Pacific Rim National Park and the start of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail as well as a centre for sport fishing and natural attractions such as Avatar Grove and Botanical Beach.
Traffic through the community has also increased with promotion of the Pacific Marine Circle Route, which paved former logging roads to complete a touring circuit that links Victoria, Duncan, Port Renfrew and Sooke.
With files from Dave Biro.