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Station: Step inside back to nature
It’s easy to see why folks living on verdant Maple Bay Peninsula cherish their West Coast lifestyle.
A bumpy ride through forests and muddy potholes ends after crossing a bubbling creek with a stunning, sloping panoramic vista across Sansum Narrows to a treed mountainside preserve on Salt Spring Island.
That’s just the start to realizing why the 2.18-acre seaside spread at 7941 Stoney Hill Road could be coveted worldwide. The off-grid tranquility alone is worth the $575,000 price tag.
“This is a nature-lover’s paradise,” said the owner, who we’ll call Mary since she asked her identity be kept anonymous for professional reasons.
While wanting a lifestyle change, she’ll clearly be sad to sell her oceanside oasis. She and another person bought the place 13 years ago. They lived elsewhere while crews lifted and renovated the original 1970s-era cabin into three levels.
They comprise 1,500 square feet of cedar-lined space tapping well water and producing its own power from solar and water-driven micro-hydro. Those sources charge batteries hooked to an inverter converting power to useable electricity.
“There are huge advantages to being off-grid. There are no power lines, and you don’t deal with power outages. We create our own power,” Mary said. “Everyone living out here says the hardest thing to do is sell.”
She’ll miss the quiet most.
“From April to October, it’s just a summer paradise. The only lights we ever see are from Vesuvius.”
Beyond that Salt Spring town sit mainland mountains. From the cedar deck are seen whales, eagles, owls, seals, hummingbirds, and other wildlife. Bears, cougars and deer inhabit the surrounding forest.
But danger isn’t really in the cards: she’s only had a brief visit from a bear cub. Being hugged by Mother Earth provides the magic of the place.
“One reason this area has stayed this way is how the owners have stewarded it in all sorts of ways.”
Stoney Hill Road means slow driving through woods with no signs or trash; you may not even meet another vehicle on the five kilometres between the home and the locked access gate along Genoa Bay Road.
That drive will be smoother when North Cowichan council regrades the gravel road along an adjusted route. But Stoney Hill Road will preserve its precious seclusion, bounded by municipal forest and parkland, including Sansum Point Park.
If a tree falls in this forest, no one will likely hear it.
“You don’t hear any sound here, except nature,” Mary states.
Well, occasionally a small generator hums to provide back-up power. She has wi-fi access for a laptop, satellite TV cable, and a cell phone to bring the outside world to somewhere that seems far away.
“But we’re only a half-hour from Duncan, and it’s five minutes by boat to Maple Bay Marina.”
A half-hour by float plane from Maple Bay and you’re in to Vancouver; the same period of time by boat lands you in Victoria.
“It’s very accessible, but has a nice, remote feeling too.”
That feeling’s stoked by a woodstove on the ground floor, warming the top two floors joined by wooden staircases. And the owners garnished their abode with comfortably rustic, antique furniture, and happy artwork. It’s all crowned by a metal roof — with snow rails — holding two solar panels and ceiling fans.
Huge double-glazed picture windows reveal views from each level, including the landing outside the loft bedroom.
“The only thing left from the old cabin are the wooden beams, the ceilings and the cedar walls,” she said. “The appraiser said ‘You’d think this house is new because so much has been changed and redone’ — but it’s still got the flavour of the old cabin.”
That’s why she’ll hate to leave.
“I don’t know if I can live anywhere urban again.
“It’ll definitely be a change to move from here. It’s been a fabulous 13 years.”