Orlebar Point

photo of Orlebar Point

One of the most scenic places on the BC coast, this point has been on the front page of the national papers –  for reasons other than it’s beauty.

Berry Point roads, Gabriola Island.

Orlebar Point is at the end of Berry Point Road – now.  Apparently the Berry Point road allowance used to run directly to the point – that is until a certain high-powered politician took a liking to the location and somehow managed to purchase it from the province and amalgamate it with another lot  -  when nobody from Gabriola was looking.  What was intended as a fine beach access, became part of a residential waterfront lot  where former BC Cabinet Minister Dave Stupich built himself a home.  It was beautifully done, and even included a desalinization plant.  Many local tradesmen worked there off and on for months and when the news broke a few years later that Stupich had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar (misappropriating funds from a charity bingo) the island was buzzing with stories about the place. The media descended on the island and choppers brought in RCMP investigators. It was a big scandal,  and Gabriola Island made headlines, as Stupich – a former Provincial Cabinet Minister AND  federal Member of Parliament faced some damning charges.

carved rock at Orlebar Point

Mr. Stupich was eventually convicted for his actions, and sentenced to serve some time under ‘house arrest’.  The court, however, recognizing that confining the disgraced politician to a luxury home on arguably one of the nicest locations on the coast, was hardly a tough sentence.  The court required that the time be served at Stupich’s daughter’s house in Nanaimo.  Now, to me …that makes Nanaimo a penal colony for Gabriola Island, and I take great delight in telling that particular part of the Stupich saga to folks from the Harbour City (much to their chagrin).  Most Gabrioloids love it – unless perhaps they voted for the man.

It is worth noting that the fellow who originally blew the whistle on Stupich rented a modest place  on Gabriola for a while as the case was coming to a close. Jacques Carpentier had worked for one of the charities involved and discovered the discrepancies in the books. Jacques kept good records and had collected lots of paperwork from the Nanaimo Commenwealth Holding Society (NCHS)- which was run by Stupich – a powerful man in the NDP at the time. When he started asking questions, his life was threatened and he soon went public. The RCMP then began a forensic investigation.  When the case ended with a conviction, a large box of paperwork was returned to him by the RCMP, representing the evidence he had presented. He left Gabriola shortly thereafter.

The Stupich home  has changed hands now, and –  questionable ethics aside - Orlebar Point remains a beautiful place to visit, and the entire south coast is spread out before you.   The tourists love to take pictures there – usually with their backs to Orlebar.

 

Orlebar view

orlebar-view-1

These views from Orlebar Point are much different than the ones Mr.Stupich got while serving his time in Nanaimo.

4 responses

  1. A frequent question of course is who or what is Orlebar, and why does Berry Point Road go to it? Not a mystery, for it was so named in 1945 after Lt. Cdr. Vere Bernard Orlebar who served on the coast in the late-1800s. I don’t suppose many people remember him now.

    • Thanks for the info on Lt.Cdr. Orlebar Nick. I wonder if he ever set foot on the point? We are lucky that portion of Berry Point Road was built right along the shoreline, giving the views and access to the waterfront to the general public – which is not usually the case. That leads me to believe that perhaps that portion of the road was built by someone other than a developer.

  2. I very much doubt Lt. Cdr. Orlebar had any connection with Gabriola, and the same can be said of the Spanish nobleman Francisco Javier Everardo Tilly who got his name attached to the point in 1791. It was called “Punta de Casatilli”, but for some reason I’ve never worked out Capt. Galiano almost never used that name when he was here in 1792, despite the fact that he used the other 1791 name “Punta de Gaviola” quite freely. It’s quite possible that it’s thanks to Galiano that we don’t live on Tilly Island.

    The Snuneymuxw called it “xuwtluqs” which I gather was the name of a person too. There used to be a rock there that looked like a the head and shoulders of a man encased in the sandstone and they had a nice story about him.

  3. That lovely rock work was done by Gabriola’s Kevin Dent , back in the 80′s. He’s still working with rock today.

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