For all the changes, island residents seem remarkably at ease. "You get more traffic and pressure on the environment," says fiber artist Monica Bennett of the impact of new growth on life on the islands. But, she adds, you also get more jobs ― and more business for the artists, chefs, and others making a living here. Case in point: Susan Taylor and Frank Ducote, whose bold seascape murals in Aurora Restaurant compete with sunset views through its big west-facing windows.
"Life here is about happiness, not making money," Delacôte says. "I love the peace, the environment, the wildlife, the sea, my little house with the view, the very kind people, and zero crime."
The islands are changing, confirms goldsmith Peter Binner with a little reluctance ― and not a little irony. He helped to resurrect the Hope Bay commercial complex, where his shop is situated, raising the islands' profile among visitors. Despite all the changes, he says, the Pender Islands remain a gem.
"I still wouldn't live anywhere else."