NORTH ISLAND GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Telegraph Cove Resort owner Gordie Graham.

Telegraph Cove Resort owners Marilyn and Gordie Graham issue statement on whale watching company switch

“We approached the Prince of Whales company and a long-term agreement was made.”

Dear editor,

This week, Telegraph Cove Resort made an exciting announcement that will ensure the long-term stability of whale watching and eco-tourism here while also enhancing marine conservation, education and orca research.

Following months of discussions and consultations, we made the decision to change our whale watching provider. Our decision will bring certainty to our guests and staff and lead to many other benefits. But we understand it has caused some concern. To clear up any misunderstanding, we want you to know some of the important facts.

First of all, it is important to understand the history. In 1979, we (Marilyn, Gordie and our two daughters) started a campground and marina at Telegraph Cove, a small village surrounded by forest. The road to the campground needed to be built, the marina dredged, the campsite cleared and sites built. This was the first resort in this region and it involved hard work and long days.

Over the years the Cove has grown, the boardwalk rebuilt, the cottages renovated. Eventually the warehouse at the end of the dock was built into a Whale Interpretive Centre at a cost of about $500,000 which we donated to the local non-profit society: “The Johnstone Straits Killer Whale Interpretive Society.” We have always paid the foreshore leases and the taxes as part of our commitment to this beautiful place.

It is currently managed by Jim and Mary Borrowman. Jim was one of the first owners of the Stubbs Island Whale Watching Company, the first whale watching company on Vancouver Island. We worked together at the Cove for almost thirty years.

Last fall, we learned that the current owners of the Stubbs Island had put the business up for sale. This created more uncertainty for Telegraph Cove as there was no long-term lease in place. Who would be the new owner? When would this change? Would they be reliable?

Would they provide safe, ethical and environmentally-respectful service?

It was imperative for the future of Telegraph Cove and its employees that we secure a principled and successful whale watching business. About the same time, we met Alan McGillivray, who founded Prince of Whales more than 25 years ago, and we were impressed with the reputation of his company and his commitment to the environment.

We approached the Prince of Whales company and a long-term agreement was made. We have been impressed with how much the Prince of Whales team does for whale research and salmon habitat enhancement. The company collects a conservation surcharge from passengers which is expected to raise up to $100,000 per season.

All of that money will stay here, in our community, supporting orca research, the Whale Interpretive Center and fishery enhancement programs.

As many of you know, we also raise funds for fishery improvement and have donated more than $150,000 to the Kokish River Salmon Enhancement program. We will be even stronger together.

Now, with a secure whale watching agreement in place, we can move forward into the future, providing jobs for our staff and great experiences for the thousands of visitors who come here every summer to explore this wonderful place.

Telegraph Cove has a long, storied history from sawmill town to tourism magnet. We are grateful to have played a role in that and we look forward to a bright future for generations to come.

Thank you for your support,

Marilyn and Gordie Graham

Just Posted

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation takes the next step towards getting Trustee Road land

Seniors rejoice, Port Hardy council is very much in favour of helping… Continue reading

Port Hardy Volleyball club requests funding from Port Hardy council

The sport of Volleyball is alive and well in the North Island,… Continue reading

Should aquaculture programs be offered at North Island College in Port Hardy?

“I think it would be very timely to have an aquaculture program”

Island Health issues press release regarding Port Alice Health Centre service changes

Island Health will be hosting a community meeting in Port Alice Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in the rec centre.

Vancouver Island Regional Library wants to team up with the Town of Port McNeill to build a new multi-use facility

“A new library for the town, as you know, will quickly become an exciting hub of literacy”

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

Most Read