There are hostels all over Vancouver Island-used them many times.
There are no remote areas that can be reached by bus-in addition many mountain parks will still be under a blanket of deep snow.
This bus line on Vancouver Isl...
Take the little ferry across False Creek to Sandbar under the bridge.
No need for an SUV here you'll pay more than a saloon car (sedan) and have less space-not to mention abysmal fuel economy.
Drive down to Squamish for lunch/have a look around maybe a ride up the gondola.
Because it'll cost more than $600/per for the most average room- the place is awash with cashed up Ockers all throwing down large.
Yes it's easy to do day trips to Whistler in fact transporting people for day trips is big business here are just two of the most popular providers.
Whistler is fine as a day trip from Vancouver-it will pale after the grandeur of the Rockies.
Skis staying in Nanaimo and spend all that time in/around Parksvi...
""east" and "west" directional street names are NOT based at Main Street."
Yes that's true strictly speaking they start at Ontario St- 2 blocks west of Main.
"Shangri-la worth the extra money? "
Yes many times over it's several cuts above the HR.