UCLUELET, B.C.—At Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, every day is Earth Day. The popular Ucluelet resort is once again raising the sustainability game with its Refillable and Zero Waste programs reducing its ecological footprint and taking a load off the landfill while reducing plastic waste.
Spearheaded by Black Rock General Manager Adele Larkin, the initiative is aimed at sourcing 100 percent natural, biodegradable, refillable products for its cleaning needs and guest amenities in 2021.
As one of the first resorts in Canada to adopt such a model, Black Rock turned to its own backyard for solutions. Thanks to a partnership with two forward-thinking Vancouver Island small businesses, The Den and Mint Cleaning, Black Rock guests are now enjoying refillable bathroom products such as Oneka shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotions, Cascades paper products, and Tru Earth laundry strips. At the same time, housekeeping staff now use earth-friendly, all-natural cleaning products.
“The Zero-Waste dream started with a conversation. It reflects how we feel about the natural environment and our desire to protect the rainforest and ocean,” Larkin says about this effort that builds on natural rainforest landscaping, energy efficient lighting, recyclable coffee pods, and many other green initiatives. “It’s better for the community, environment, visitors and our staff.”
A Overall Community Effort
Black Rock’s ongoing journey is being taken together with the District of Ucluelet, whose progressive council has also made sustainability and climate action a community cornerstone. When a resort puts sustainability under the microscope, it can inspire others in the hospitality sector to follow suit; when an entire community embraces sustainability, it can be a game changer for destination tourism. Ucluelet is a small, tightknit coastal town with big ambitions. The community is aiming to be a leader in adopting climate action standards on the provincial, national, and international stage. As a signatory to the provincial Climate Action Charter, Ucluelet has already attained Level 3 Achievement of Carbon Neutrality through the purchase of verified carbon assets from Offsetters.ca. The next goal is to reach Level 4.
“The conversations within our municipality and our hospitality sector are changing. We all value the importance of sustainability and working together, and we know we are more powerful as a team,” says Mayco Noel, Mayor of Ucluelet.
As part of its efforts, the District purchased four Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations that support private sector investments in charging infrastructure. As of 2020, visitors and locals can now plug in at a total of nine Level 2 chargers and two DC fast chargers, including stations at Black Rock, the Pacific Rim Visitors’ Centre and the Ucluelet Community Centre. This is a big leap forward for sustainable transportation, making it feasible for travelers to visit Ucluelet and Vancouver Island’s rugged West Coast by electric vehicle.
Climate Change Adaptation Plan
Ucluelet is going even deeper into sustainability and climate change resiliency. In January of 2021, the district adopted its first Climate Change Adaptation Plan, following a detailed risk assessment to identify current and future climate impacts to the coastal community.
Black Rock’s Adele Larkin believes strongly that when it comes to sustainability, together we are stronger and more impactful.
“As a tourism destination we all recognize that the reason people come here is because they enjoy pristine natural spaces,” Larkin says. “This understanding is at the heart of all the decisions we make for our businesses, guests, staff, and the environment.”