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'We're so happy you're here!' More than a gas station, Kwalikum Crossing fuels community

From its diverse product range to water catchment for local firefighting, this site was built with purpose
Welcoming its first customers earlier this spring, Kwalikum Crossing features a beautiful, timbered Coast Salish design, fuelling stations, electric vehicle charging units, propane service and a convenience store and more. Photo courtesy Kwalikum Crossing

The best business plan is one that sees a need, then fills it. Just ask the Qualicum First Nation team behind the new Kwalikum Crossing service station, along the Inland Island Highway at the Horne Lake turn-off.

The goal from the start was to address an underserved stretch of highway between Qualicum and Buckley Bay, but the Nation did more than meet the needs of locals and travellers – they far surpassed it, with more coming, says manager Leslie Baynes.

"People keep telling us, 'We're so happy you're here!'" 

Welcoming its first customers earlier this spring, the site features a beautiful, timbered Coast Salish design, fuelling stations, electric vehicle charging units, propane service and a convenience store. An A&W Restaurant will also soon join the business, with a drive-through.

In addition to competitive fuel prices, both full-serve and self-serve bays, and free air, the EV charging station has been a welcome addition to the area. "It's growing every month and the universal design works for every vehicle," Baynes notes. 

Enjoying easy access on and off the Inland Island Highway at Horne Lake Road, the station is earning rave reviews from truck drivers and recreational travellers alike.

"The spacious parking lot and pump area makes it easy to pull a truck, RV or boat around, and we offer just about everything you need while on the road," Baynes says. 

Need a quick dinner idea? Stop by the freezer case for an M&M Food Market favourite. Forget something on the way to camping at Horne Lake? From firewood and fishing gear to propane, ice and an ATM, you'll find it here. Kids (or parents) in need of a treat? The slushie machine is pouring ice-cold drinks!

That "just about everything" will become even more extensive this fall, when A&W joins the Kwalikum Crossing family, selected specifically because it offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Baynes is also excited to work with local Indigenous artists to further connect the business to the local First Nations community.

Another unique feature to the property: an on-site pond and fountain also serves as a key water supply for the Bow Horn Volunteer Fire Department.

At the opening ceremony, fire chief Mark Taylor highlighted the significance, especially to a rural area with no hydrants. “Not only is this a great addition to the area but this building is fantastic. The way they designed it, every bit of rain water that drops on the roof, falls on the pond over here. And this pond is specifically for us to fight fires.”

A green space beside the pond is ideal for taking a stretch or walking the dog; later, A&W's arrival will also bring outside tables, Baynes says, inviting drivers to stop by, say hello and share ideas about what more they'd like to see. "We always say, 'We want feedback – if there's something you'd like us to offer, let us know!'"

Visit Kwalikum Crossing at 700 Horne Lake Rd., Qualicum Beach and follow them on Facebook for the latest news, products and more!