qathet Living February 2022

Page 35



eil MacKinnon and I (Austyn) met the traditional way – a dating site – and got married shortly after. On our first date we both made it clear we wanted a dog, a house, kids, and an adventurous life of camping, road trips and trying fun food wherever we go. Simple enough. Neil came up with a creative way to buy a house in North Van on a budget – by buying it with another couple and separating the two floors so it was like two separate homes. One year later with our son on the way Neil was rear ended and our lives changed forever. Priorities gained or lost importance based on his pain levels. The first half of 2021 was spent dreaming of the next chapter. Then we came to Powell River for Canada Day weekend and felt happier in two days than we’d felt in the last two years in the city.

Why did you choose to move here? Austyn • My husband’s grandparents retired to a cottage on Klahanie Drive. His parents now vacation there several months of the year, his sister got married there and we kept feeling this pull, which made so much sense to have people who already visited this beautiful spot. We bought our house here in August and moved up at the end of October. What surprised you about qathet once you moved here? Austyn • How incredibly patient and kind everyone is – drivers here wave you into traffic whereas in the city you have to fight for a spot in every lane.

care of our children… The hardest part was trying to decipher the right neighborhood to live in without being here to check things out in person. If you were mayor, what would you do? Austyn • Quit that job immediately! Neil might like that though, since he used to work for the City of Port Moody, and quite enjoys improving logistics and quality of life for everyone. What are qathet’s best assets?

AN ACCIDENT CLARIFIED WHAT THEY VALUE MOST: Neil, Aylin, Nash and Austyn MacKinnon moved here from Lynn Valley in the fall. Missing: Rolo the dog.

Solutions-savvy family finds ease in qathet’s “patient and kind” lifestyle

What made you decide to move? Austyn • Every time we visited we felt calm, happy and at home here and never wanted to leave. We realized happiness does not include terror any time our kids want to bike in their own cul de sac, not to mention the insane effort to afford a middle class life in North Van, so we seriously asked ourselves why we kept boarding the ferry back there. We decided the time to move had come.

What would make this a nicer community? Austyn • I’m not sure anything could, at this point. Some progressive changes are for the better, but keeping things as slow paced and small town as possible with no high rises and only one Starbucks feels so refreshing. I hope we can retain that over many years to come (though I do confess, I miss White Spot).

Where is your favourite place here?

What challenges did you face in trying to make a life for yourself here?

Austyn • I would have to choose the beach by Tla’amin Playground. We love walking the soft sand, inspecting all the shells and wading in the stunning waters while staring at the endless sky.

Austyn • Every single aspect of changing our lives added up to a lot. Leaving my career in the automotive industry for something new that would fit into this community, finding new people we can trust to take


Austyn • Keeping it small and keeping it real. Small business, small town, real people and real life. You can tell it’s about the life we get to live here instead of who has the nicest clothes, most expensive watch, car or house. I appreciate this vibe so much. What is your greatest extravagance? Neil • Austyn’s car. It’s a Volvo. Austyn • It’s six years old and I got a great deal Having previously worked for this brand, I believe in it. It makes me feel safe driving our children anywhere in any weather, so to me that is essential rather than extravagant. Which talent or superpower would you most like to have? Austyn • I would love the ability to heal people. I recently lost a friend my own age to brain cancer. I have watched people I love suffer with lifelong chronic pain. I’ve seen so many people’s happiness stolen from them by a single moment in time that changed everything through injury, it’s heartbreaking and I wish there was something I could do about it.

Find out how we make a difference at

k n a B u o Y Makes a Difference 4721 Joyce Avenue Powell River | Courtenay | Cumberland | Union Bay | Bowser | Bowen Island | Texada Island | Hornby Island qathet Living • February 2022 •


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