• Mar 05, 18
  • Ron Mac Quarrie

Poolesland is a unique campground that is inhabited mostly by people who work in Tofino, British Columbia. It is open all year round and has more of a commune feel then a "campground". It is unique in that the owner Michael Poole, 66, who has been the steward of the roughly 17.5 acres of communal living space since 1988, zoned this land “for nothing innovative”. He wishes to sell and move onto other things. Unfortunately there are a few problems facing both the people that live there and the town of Tofino. The largest problems being, where to house the people who work in Tofino and where would the people currently residing in Poolesland go when it is sold.

According to Westerly News Micheal is motivated to sell. Though he has offered this land to the township of Tofino first, whom have not shown interest.

Coun. Dorothy Baert said she hoped the land could transition into a more mutually-beneficial win-win between its inhabitants and the district. “It’s been a bit of a double edged sword. In some ways, in my view, it hasn’t necessarily entirely served your vision because it’s not been able to find a pathway to function without conflict with the municipality,” she said to Poole.

He has also said that he will hold off till some group or fund me group comes forward to take possession. If that should fail he will sell to a "friendly business man". This shows he is quite motivated to sell.

What will the town of Tofino do with out the services that Poolesland provides?

Poolesland provides shelter and board for many of the workers who work in many of the shops and service industries in and around Tofino. The town faces a problem that many of the communities in British Columbia are feeling right now. That is, housing prices are completely out of reach of average income workers. With the selling of realestate to outside investors, the price of housing all over British Columbia have reached astounding prices that most Canadians will ever be able to afford. Places like Poolesland could actually fill this gap. Not only providing a community for the workers to live but something ideally different then anything else. Teaching communal living and a sustainable lifestyle that would carry a proof of work concept for future communities that face similar problems, housing low income workers.

Answering the question of "What would Tofino do with out the services Poolesland provides?"... Well, there will be a severe short fall of labour, quality of services will fall into disarray and people who can afford to live there will in fact go else where for services. It has happened in several communities in the same situation. Then the "value" of the properties will fall and the investors will likely try to sell or sell at a loss then move on. Not only that. I believe that we all could lose the potential learnings that Poolesland could show us. That a communal space with a sustainable lifestyle could actually work to benefit everyone or in the very least give us learnings toward a community functioning as such.



What will the workers of Tofino do with out the services that Poolesland provides?

Well, the people would be forced to move, pay for rent that is out of reach of their income, be forced to choose between food or rent or squat in park lands and crown lands. I have seen this happen before in several towns across Canada that have high income workers mixed with low income service workers. Resource based communities come to mind. Where rent and realestate go beyond the reach of the low income workers. Eventually these workers do move on to other places where they can survive with the skills they have at hand. Then leaving the community with poor services or none at all.

I hope that Micheal finds his investors or the community of Tofino can come to some agreement and purchase the land, keep the land as he intended and that everyone prosper from the unique ecosystem that would be created. Good luck to you Micheal and to Poolesland!