Malibu Hydro...Background                                  To index

picture History and Mission
What Malibu is all about and how it came into being.

The physical Plant
Behind the scenes, the power, water and infrastructure.

Past Hydro Investigations
The attempts by Fran Gorden and others.
Our existing 12 kW hydro plant.

The History of Young Life's Malibu Club

The Malibu Club was begun by Mr. Tom Hamilton back in the late 1930's. Mr. Hamilton, who had held the patent rights on the variable pitch aircraft propeller prior to W.W.11, had seen what would become Malibu on a visit to Princess Louisa Inlet with Bill Boeing of the Boeing Aircraft Company. Hamilton immediately fell in love with the magnificent beauty of the area and returned to purchase the land from Herman Casper, the old fellow who had homesteaded t. Hamilton built the Malibu Club as an exclusive resort for the very elite Hollywood set, and operated it for approximately four years. The operation was fraught with many difficulties and after a discouraging time, Mr. Hamilton left in about 1951. The place stayed empty and up for sale for a couple of years. The asking price at the time was one million dollars U.S.

In 1953 Jim Rayburn, the founder of Young Life, was taken up to view the Malibu Club in Canada. Almost before Rayburn got off the airplane, he knew that this would be Young Life's next property for high school kids. The story goes, as Jim Rayburn walked around he said "This is where the girls will stay; this is where the boys wiIl stay. Oh! This dining room wont be anywhere near big enough - we'll need to increase the size. Down there is where we'll put the swimming pool. This room which was the ballroom will be used to have Young Life Club at night". Rayburn left Malibu that day determined to make this a fantastic resort for high school kids, similar to his Colorado ranch called "Frontier Ranch".

A million dollars was a tremendous amount of money in 1953, and almost an unthinkable figure for a fledgling youth organization such as Young Life. But Jim Rayburn was a very charismatic and energetic person. He invited Mr. Hamilton to visit Frontier Ranch in the Colorado Rockies, and he showed Mr. Hamilton the work Young Life was doing with high school kids. Alter that time, Mr. Hamilton agreed to renegotiate the price of the Malibu Club down to $300,000 U.S., contributing the first $70,000 personally so that the Malibu Club could be used for high school kids. The only stipulation in the deal was that the transaction be completed before December 31, 1953 so that Mr. Hamilton could realize his significant tax loss in that year

1954 marked the first year that Young Life welcomed high school kids to this precious spot, and for 40 years now we have given kids what most of them will describe as the greatest week of their life. Young Life kids come from their home Young Life area, be that in Calgary, Burnaby, or Portland, or even Sydney, Australia. They come to camp with their volunteer Young Life leader who has usually been relating to the camper for over a year. These leaders are what we call counselors, and spend a lot of time with kids in various activities. Young Life has been going for over 50 years in North America, and it is active in over 30 countries. In Young Life camps in North America, over 20,000 kids will come and hear the Christian message every summer.

The Malibu Club is a marine centered camp with a large number of fun and exciting activities ranging from sailing, canoeing, rowboats, water skiing basketball, zip Line, ropes course - we even have a 13 hole pitch and putt golf course! The days are filled with a number of organized activities intermixed with a large amount of free time for the kids to enjoy the spectacular grandeur of the Princess Louisa Inlet.

Our goals in developing this Hydro Electric Project center around keeping the camp's operating costs low, thus continuing to make Malibu accessible and affordable for kids. The Hydro Project would also reduce air and noise pollution in the camp and neighboring inlets, decrease our dependency on diesel generators, limit the amount of fossil fuels burned to a bare minimum, and lessen the risk in transportation and storage of diesel. These important benefits of converting to hydro electric power will reduce the potential risk of damage to the environment while at the same time allow more kids and adults to experience the beauty of one of British Columbia's most spectacular marine areas.
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Behind the scene operations

The camp drinking water comes from Helenea creek, 2 miles up Jervis Inlet. This gives the camp a year round supply, produced from melting snow high on Mt Albert, 7000 feet above the camp. A 3 inch diameter plastic water line carries an average of 75 US gallons per minute (300 liters/minute) to a 15000 gallon storage tank located behind the camp. Minor chlorination all that is needed.
In the past year, two wells were drilled on the property. This was to meet new provincial standards stating that all run off water in BC is considered suspect.

Power Plant
There are currently four diesel gen sets in the power house. The capacities are:
-125 kW Cat diesel, used during the camp season day light hours
-113 kW Cat diesel, used after 11 PM untill 8 AM
-40 kW Susukie diesel, used during the winter and for small camps
-17 kW Deutz diesel, used in winter when only one family at camp
-12 kW micro hydro, our successful demonstration plant

The camp is split into 2 independant busses for power distribution. This enables us to isolate the two busses and if need be, operate two engines should the need arrise. This has rarely been necessary, and consumes nearly twice the fuel.
The large engines consume up to 180 gallons of fuel a day in summer, ant a cost of around $3.00 a gallon. There is one large diesel storage tank of 12000 gallons capacity, which needds filling several times a year.

Malibu has no central heating in the camp buildings, although all residances and some buildings have wood stoves. Heat is generally not really needed in camping season, only in early spring and and late fall camps. However theere are rainy days in June when it would be appreciated. There is currently insufficient electrical power to provide adaquate heat to buildings with existing diesel generators. The cost would be prohibitively expensive in any case, and fuel storage would have to be increased as well.

The Malibu kitchen regularly feeds up to 500 folk 3 times a day. The kitchen is equipped with gas and electric appliances. Hot water is produced by propane flash boilers, electric boilers and from the heat recovery system on the main diesel genertors.

Since the addition of propane heated dryers, the energy demand of the laundry has decrteased. Theere are still six standard electric dryers and six washers. The entire camps needs are met by the hard working crew using these machiens.

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Past Hydro Investigations

This is not the first time there has been interest in persuing energy independance at Malibu. As far back as 1962 the then property manager, Mr. Fran Gorden and several others were involved in a plan to harness the energy of Helena Creek.

In those early days, money was in short supply, and only a very limited survey was conducted of the river's capability. As far as we know, only a few measurements were taken one winter season, and these used as a basis for the power potential calculations. Second hand equipment was for sale at Brittian River, 20 miles down Jervis Inlet. There was an effort made to obtain this, with little consideration as to its suitability.

The idea for the project continued for a year or so, before being put on the back burner due to financial reasons and other more pressing obligations.

There was passing interest over the next 20 years that followed, but no attempt to preform an in-deapth investigation. Then in the spring of 1985 a new polyethelene water line was installed to replace a badly worn and cracked ABS plastic line. The then caretaker, Frank Porier, examined the mountan side from the inlet and picked a new route for the line.

This time, the route chosen for the pipeline ran out from camp, climbing diagonally up the slope of Mt. Helena toward a recently abandoned logging road. Half the total distance would make use of this perfect, gently sloping road bed.

The intake for this new line was now at 1,450 feet elevetion! (The old intake had been at 269 feet, and it was a wonder it ever pushed water the 2 miles to camp.) Frank, along with several other regular Malibu'ites began to see the potential in this new situation. It was now that a renewed intrest took shape, and so began a much more serious and scientific study of the possibility to produce all the camps energy needs from Helena Creek.

The demonstration turbine producing power to light the flood lamp in forground
The demonstration system that inspired our 10 kW plant.
What really got the ball rolling!
We set this ancient water wheel up on the overflow from the camps water tank one day in the summer of 1992. That evening, I asked Don Prittie to come down to the boat houses for... 'a talk'. He was so surprised and impressed to actually see the flood lamp lighting up the surrounding area, powered directly from the falling water, that funding for the 10 kW plant was in place in short order!
See "Winter Hydro" for the complete report.

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