Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Pssst! Wanna Buy an Island?

For Sale: 780 acres of land featuring an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a 5,000 square foot owner’s residence, six guest cottages, and a Western-styled ghost town. All on your very own private island. Mind you, you'll need a whole lotta dollars to buy this island. 75,000,000 of them.
James Island, a Gulf Island halfway between Victoria and Sidney, is being put up for sale by its reclusive American owner, Craig McCaw.
For most of the 20th century, the island was home to an explosives manufacturing plant. 10% of the bombs used by Commonwealth countries in WWI were produced here. But the plant was closed in 1972, and the village disassembled in 1979, and McCaw bought the island almost 20 years ago.
We've kayaked here a few times over the years, and we've heard the occasional story concerning private security guards on the island not taking kindly to kayakers who've paused on the sandy yet private beaches. (In fairness, I must point out that we have never suffered such an occurrence.)
So what do you say? Every kayaker on the planet puts in a couple of bucks and we'll buy the place. And everyone can camp for free. Deal?


  1. Great idea, John. I'd let canoeist and rowers and dragonboaters co-invest too. An island for small boat users!
    It's a pity that Craig McCaw hasn't yet learned a lesson from the family that owned Russell Island, near SaltSpring Island. That family had noticed increasing numbers of people arriving at their little island by boat in the earnest belief that this was Portland Island nearby in the Gulf Islands Marine Park Reserve. A couple of years ago, the family sold Russell Island to GINPR to become part of the Park -- but they sold it at a modest price instead of the kind of price they could have got in today's inflated real estate market. A classy decision by that family! And a good example for Craig McCaw.
    I'd like to imagine that the land used to make 10% of the bombs used by Commonwealth countries in WWI could be redeemed by peaceful use as a park!

  2. Hello John and Paula - it's a lovely idea, but unfortunately all that bomb making likely left a legacy. I suspect there may still be some pricey contamination clean up work needed to bring the land up to today's standards for a park. Then again, maybe the $75M includes the clean up costs? I'd be happy to put up a few dollars.

    1. Hi I understand it, large chunks of the island have been remediated. Whether the island is fully cleaned is an open question as Mr. McCaw is not known for his public statements.
      Wouldn't it be great if it became a park? Anybody know anyone at TLC? Mybe we can give them a little nudge....