COVID-19 Pandemic Protocols – as of 6 July 2020

The Outdoor Club held a planning meeting today and decided to resume outings under the provision of the following protocols.  These may be amended over time.  While many feel we have an elevated risk now with increased travel, we hope we can find the balance between staying safe and exercising and socializing outside. In general the Club members are vulnerable due to age, and many have other specific vulnerabilities. There is a wide range of sensitivities to the present risk. We recommend that everyone on a Club outing bring a mask, hand sanitizer and gloves.

Size of the group: In order to accommodate more hikers, we will try to break the group into pods of 2 to 4 people. The pods will start the hike about five minutes apart. This will be done on hikes where the risk of the group becoming separated is very low. On more complex routes, the group will either move as a distanced unit or use family radios to stay connected. Trip coordinators have discretion about the total number of participants on a trip.

Physical distancing: We may want to avoid busier trails, trailheads and times. Advance planning will include recognizing the width of the trail so that distance can be maintained with oncoming hikers, and wide places to stop for breaks or lunch as a group. We will stay two metres apart when stopped. Depending on individual comfort levels, more space may be requested when moving.

Talking can become problematic when the distance is considerable between hikers. We don’t want to bunch up in order to hear more clearly. While socializing is an important component of our activities, it may be preferable to converse at the beginning, at breaks or at lunch, and at the end of the outing, rather than while moving.

Sharing: Sharing of gear without disinfecting is not encouraged. Many people are not comfortable sharing food, so please do not assume that offers of shared food are welcome and don’t take offence, because it’s not personal.

Touching common surfaces: While it’s not the most common method of infection, hikers will want to give some thought to the rocks or trees they hold onto for balance and whether the hikers in front of them have also used those hand holds. You may wish to use hand sanitizer.

Who can participate: For now the Club will not include visitors on trips. Members who are locals or those who have been on the island for al least 14 days may join a trip. We encourage our members to be friendly to everyone they meet on the trail.

Car pooling: Car pooling is discouraged outside of family or bubble members. If it is necessary, the occupants would be encouraged to wear masks and sanitize surfaces and hands.

COVID-19 Pandemic – as of 1 July 2020

As British Columbia enters phase 3 of the re-opening during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be time to consider whether the Outdoor Club should resume activities yet. A few people have mentioned that they miss the hikes and would like to start again.

Just to review what is recommended in phase 3, most of the changes from phase 2 have to do with commercial re-openings. There is currently a very low incidence of COVID-19 in our local area. Nonetheless, “if you are at greater risk (over the age of 60 or with underlying medical conditions), be informed of your risk, think through your risk tolerance and take extra precautions.” No gatherings over 50 people are permitted. The bubble size is still 2 to 6 people. For everyone else outside of the bubble, it is important to remain physically distanced, maintained proper hand sanitizing and other hygiene protocols. At this time the general belief is that the risk of contagion from outside activities, while following these protocol, seems to be quite low.

So, how many of you think it’s time to resume activities? Don’t be bashful. If you don’t speak up, it will seem as if no one is interested. If you think it’s a bad idea, you should also comment. Along with people who want to hike and perhaps kayak, we would also need coordinators. One possibility is to have a planning meeting (outside) to discuss what people want to do. This really needs to be a process driven by member interest. Please respond (either by e-mail or by commenting here) by answering these questions:

I think it would be a good idea to resume Outdoor Club hikes and kayaking outings – yes or no
I would attend a planning meeting – yes or no
I would like to participate in the following trips:
I would like to coordinate the following trips:
Here are my other comments about resuming activities:


COVID-19 Pandemic – as of 8 May 2020

Here we are at the beginning of May with gorgeous weather. There are no Outdoor Club members as the membership year began May 1st, and there are no trips currently planned. With spring turning to summer it’s wonderful that Dr. Henry has recommended that people go outdoors and our local parks are soon reopening for day use. She has also said that individuals can somewhat increase the size of their social bubble. So what does that mean for the Outdoor Club?

Here are some personal opinions. We now know a bit more about the mysterious COVID-19 virus. We know that there are vulnerabilities based on medical conditions, age and gender, and that it is highly contagious. So for the vulnerable individual, or someone in a household with a vulnerable person, it’s no safer now than it was before. Each person will need to decide about how much exposure they are willing to tolerate.

A bubble of two to six people is not very large for the Outdoor Club to make outings work. As I interpret this, the two to six people would need to be stable and not changing each week. This guideline works better if people make their own small group and venture out together regularly.

It’s easier to maintain adequate physical distance in a kayak than hiking on a narrow trail. It’s quite difficult to talk while walking on a trail and maintain distance.

The Outdoor Club would like to facilitate people on Quadra to get out for exercise, and the other benefits of sunshine and the beauty of nature. But I think the new guidelines are still too restrictive to start up weekly trips.

If you wish to give feedback on any of this, please leave a comment.

COVID-19 Pandemic – as of 22 March 2020

It is with the greatest reluctance that the Quadra Island Outdoor Club has decided to suspend any further trips in our schedule for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be re-evaluated on an ongoing basis. In the last 10 days the acceptable size of a group has dropped from 250 to 50 to something between two and zero. Dr. Henry’s statement on March 19th said “…right now we need to be in small groups … one or two of us. And we need to maintain our distance with others….. We are not to be outside in groups….” The Physicians of Comox Valley Division of Family Practice have advised that people should associate outside only with family members.

With an older demographic on Quadra and a significant number of vulnerable people in the community, we think being cautious is particularly important. We know that hiking with family is not an option for some of you, but our hands are tied. We hope that everyone will continue to get out each day for the benefit and beauty that it provides. If you want advice about trails on the island, don’t hesitate to e-mail. Please stay safe, follow health hygiene protocols and maintain physical distance.

Town Hall meeting regarding proposed communication tower

Notes from the Sunday 18 August 2013 Town Hall meeting regarding the
proposed public safety communications tower on Heriot Ridge, Quadra

For more background on events leading up to this meeting, see
Proposed Communication Tower on Heriot Ridge

These notes are arranged in Q&A format in order to distinguish between comments made by the presenters and the audience, even if the Q is not strictly a question.
The attempt here is to report the ideas and issues discussed and not to try to do a transcript. Wordings are paraphrases, not exact; it has organized by topic.
The identities of audience speakers have been left out.

Dave Emery, North Island Communications, the applicant for the land tenure for the tower site, the “landlord” for the proposed tower.
Brian Fentiman, Mgr. RCMP Communication Sys. Vancouver Island District, one of the “tenants” of the proposed tower.

Dave opened by expressing his regrets and an apology that he did not call this public meeting 8 months ago, before he applied for the land use tenure.
Dave is withdrawing his current application for the site (letting it fail) because of community concerns. Dave plans to reapply for a tower site in a different location. This meeting is to get all issues out in the open before going to the expense of submitting a new application. The existing application cannot be amended because it is a change of site.

Conclusion of Meeting

  • Due to concerns expressed about the health effects of microwave radiation, Dave agreed that all microwave transmission from the tower will be done using very narrow beam antennas and that they will be aimed at Campbell River and away from Quadra, and also that
  • No cell phone antennas will be installed on this site. If a cell phone company expresses interest in the tower, they will be referred to Quadra Island.
  • The proposed internet service for Open Bay and Hyacinthe Bay (WiFi AP) will be dropped.
  • Dave and Brian will work with residents who have concerns about radiation to predict, measure, and ensure that they will have no measurable microwave radiation from this tower.
  • Aesthetic issues are important
  • A legal covenant covering community issues including the above is to be included in the land title from Ministry of Forests and NIComm will sign off on this.

Next Steps

  • hire a local biologist to investigate whether there are rare plants in this site
  • survey the new site
  • draw up legal covenant regarding agreements, working with Quadra and the SRD
  • hold another public meeting on the new site when there is a firm proposal
  • reapply for the site from Lands and Forests.

Meeting Notes

Continue reading

Proposed Communication Tower on Heriot Ridge

An application has been submitted to Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) for use of a small parcel of land on Heriot Ridge for a communications tower. There are several concerns about this, including concerns about mistakes in the application and the procedure, in addition to concerns about the usage and the site chosen. There is some confusion about this, so it’s best to go through this in order of history.

Continue reading

Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

The club has purchased a Personal Locator Beacon, or PLB for short, for use on club trips, especially those where there is no cell or VHF coverage

It is an a ResQLink PLB-375 (part number 2880), made by ACR.

Its one of those things that we hope to never have to use. Its sole purpose is to call for help from Search and Rescue by sending your GPS position to a satellite system when activated. It’s small and light and easy to use. Unclip the antenna so that it is vertical and push the ON button.

WARNING: This PLB is authorized for use only during situations of grave and imminent danger. It is only to be activated when all other means of self-rescue have been exhausted. Deliberate misuse may incur a severe penalty.

In other words, try your cell phone and/or VHF radio first if at all possible.

There were several options that the club considered.  All use a satellite system for communication; some have additional, very desirable features and higher costs.

PLB.  “SOS” feature only.  Uses the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system
These beacons must be registered with the government, but there is no monthly or annual usage charge. It uses a 5 Watt 406 MHz signal to send the distress signal to the satellites.

ACR makes several models and there is also the McMurdo FastFind 220.

SPOT2, SPOT3, and Delorme inReach. In addition to the SOS feature, these units also can send “I’m okay” messages to selected contacts, they can send periodic position reports so that your friends can follow your track on a map on a web page, and they can also send “send help” messages to your selected contacts instead of to search and rescue. These are desirable features, but they come at a cost of at least $100 per year, which is more than the club can afford. Both Spot and inReach use the commercial satellite phone systems. Spot uses the Globalstar satellites and inReach uses the Iridium satellites; both systems use low earth orbit satellites. The satellite system can do two-way communication, but these devices can only send pre-written messages; they cannot receive messages.

SPOT Connect and inReach Smartphone. These devices can do all of the above, plus they can be used together with an app on your smartphone. You can write a short text message on the spot and you can receive messages. This is a very nice feature, and it comes at an additional expense. The inReach SE is similar, except that it is stand-alone; it does not require a smartphone.

Two way communication will obviously dominate in the future. If you ask for help, it’s nice to say what kind of help you need. It’s nice to have confirmation that help is on the way. From the SAR’s point of view, it’s nice to know that it is not a false alarm.

Satellite Phones. These have been expensive to buy and expensive to use.
SPOT makes one now which is more affordable. Relatively speaking.