I was lucky enough to spend the BC Day holiday weekend on one of my favourite places, Savary Island.
Local informants tell me that the permanent population of this idyllic isle has fallen to about 15 people. Part of the explanation for the decline is that while aging residents have been withdrawing to the mainland to be closer to medical care, they have not been replaced by newcomers. I wonder to what degree this out-migration is shared by other coastal islands.
Mind you, a summer visitor has no inkling of any population decline. Seasonal vacationers throng to the island as they always have to enjoy its sand beaches and swimmable waters. The thumping of hammers and the whirring of power saws are evidence that the building boom that began several years ago is continuing.
It has also become customary on this particular weekend for hundreds of young people to descend on the island like a swarm of locusts, camping on the south beach, cavorting in the water, cranking up their sound systems and, I presume, ingesting a variety of mind-altering substances. I found that by and large the locals were pretty tolerant of these annual visitors, though they were quite naturally fearful that off islanders might not adhere to the strict fire ban. Like forests everywhere in the province, the island is tinder dry and one shudders to think what would happen if a fire took hold.