VIDEO – Construction is taking place on a wilderness camp being built on Haywire Bay by School District 47 and Powell River Model Community Project for Persons with Disabilities (MCP).
Roads are in, land is cleared and three of six fully wheelchair-accessible bunkhouse cabins are well underway at the camp. The camp will be used for school district outdoor summer programs, including Coast Mountain Academy, and for camp programs for people with mobility issues.
Seventy-two students can be accommodated at the camp and each cabin will be equipped with an accessible washroom and sleeping arrangements for 12 people plus a camp counsellor. Two storage cabins are also being built near the water to house outdoor recreation equipment. A dining hall and shower building is next in line to be built, along with the three additional cabins which have foundations ready and waiting.
The cabins are being built in part by students in the dual credit programs through Vancouver Island University and Brooks Secondary School, and in part by contractor Integrity Building, based out of Powell River.
An area with decks will also be built, along with docks. A wastewater treatment system and a dispersal field will be installed, resulting in an output of completely potable water.
David Morris, executive director of MCP, said the camp will eventually have kayaks with outriggers and canoes that have been adapted for use by people with disabilities. Morris also mentioned purchasing TrailRider off-road wheelchairs for hiking.
“They can have some fun and just literally have a summer experience the same as everyone else,” said Morris.
In Powell River alone there are about 1,200 working-age people with disabilities, not including youth and seniors, Morris added. Morris has already received calls from people as far away as Germany and Korea who have heard about the camp and want to know more.
“There’s quite a need out there. There’s not a lot of camps open to the general public who have a disability,” said Morris. “There’s just such a large population of people with disabilities looking for places to go, something different.”
Sunshine Coast Trail goes through the camp’s property but will remain intact. Morris considers it an advantage to have the trail near the camp and the one section that has been disrupted for construction will be rebuilt.
Organizers anticipate the camp will be ready for use by summer 2012.