Nestled on the shores of Babine Lake, Granisle is a cozy little village home to 300 people, with 75 percent seniors.
Granisle Mayor Linda McGuire says Granisle – at one time a 2,000 person, mining-based village – is now a small and scenic semi-retirement and tourism-based village.
“It’s pretty, it’s nice, and it’s WAY affordable,” said Sanga Gardner, caretaker of the Granisle Resort, an individually-owned condo resort overlooking Babine Lake.
Glen Newell, Condo Association Chairperson, says nature is the main attraction of Granisle, and the hunting and fishing right out a person’s backdoor.
People hunt moose, bear, deer, and sometimes elk, and they fish for salmon and trout, Newell said.
He says a lot of the residents go hiking or have quads and UTVs and go exploring through the miles of trails around Granisle.
There are also lakes with small trout that people can drive to with canoes or paddle boats, and Newell says children of the seniors often come for the summer to visit and enjoy nature’s opportunities.
Gloria Maughan, President of the Granisle and District Senior Citizens Association Society, says the seniors enjoy the outdoors as well, with many involved in skiing, snowmobiling and hiking.
Gardner says another attraction is the calm and quiet.
“Children come and they sit outside and they go, ‘Shh, listen. You can hear quiet.’
“It’s a relaxing place to come,” she said.
McGuire says that over the last two months, six people bought homes and moved to Granisle from all over the province, including from Fort Nelson, Quesnel, Fort St. John and Tumbler Ridge.
“The first thing I ask them is ‘Why Granisle? What made you come here?’
“It’s the fishing, the lake and the affordable housing,” said McGuire.
With that attraction, and considering the 75-percent-senior population, McGuire says sustaining the tax base is the main priority in Granisle, which services 700 people in the surrounding area including the Topley Landing and Tatchet reserve.
McGuire says their main accomplishment and their future goal is to maintain low taxes and the level of service.
“Everybody has grown accustomed to a lifestyle and the services that we have so we certainly don’t want to start cutting services,” she said.
McGuire says council is also working on several small, revenue-generating projects, but it’s too early to give details.
The other great achievement for Granisle was the Granisle Memorial Park, funded by the B.C. government through the “Towns for Tomorrow” grant.
The park is located on the east side of Highway 118 at the entrance into Granisle, and it spreads down over the edge of the hill with lookouts to Babine Lake.
McGuire says the next beautification project is dealing with the old concrete concentration shed near the Marina, that was used historically by the mines.
“A lot of people come in by boat. They don’t even come up to the top of the community; they just stay down there, so we want to make it look nice and beautify it.
“I’m a firm believer that you never get a second chance to make a first impression on people.
“That first impression stays with people. It’s really important,” McGuire said.
McGuire says that they will do something to beautify that area, and already this year they’ve put in some picnic tables by the Marina.