Thursday, 19 April 2018

BCO Coastal Gem: Owen Bay

In the heart of the Discovery Islands lies the recreation area known as Owen Bay. It is located on the south side of Sonora Island on Okisolo Channel, just above Hole in the Wall. Busby Island, sitting just off shore of Sonora Island, is often included when people are referring to the Owen Bay area.

Owen Bay has a long homesteader history; at one point it was a thriving coastal community of about 1200 people and home to a school and general store. It has evolved into a quiet, coastal vacation and recreation community with a small complement of full-time residents. There is evidence of this long history scattered throughout the area.

Owen Bay has a government dock and local road/trail access for the property owners.

There are several marine parks to enjoy within close proximity, in particular The Octopus Island Group Marine Park is only minutes away. 

Owen Bay offers a number of excellent features. The bay itself enjoys primarily south and west exposure and is one of the best-protected areas from wind throughout the region. At the head of the bay is a large tidal beach that extends for ¼ mile at low tide. There are two creeks, which enter the bay – one of which originates at Hyacinth Lake. Just outside of Owen Bay are the magnificent upper and lower rapids of Okisollo Channel – an awesome display of nature’s power and beauty.  

Traveling to Owen Bay by boat takes a little less than 1 hour from Campbell River and approximately 40 minutes from Heriot Bay on Quadra Island. During the summer months there is regular scheduled water taxi service to and from Campbell River. 

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Real Estate Rule Changes: Update and Survey Link

The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (BC) has released a new feedback survey asking for response to some updates they have made to the rule changes which come into effect June 15, 2018. We believe all members of the public, especially those currently involved in selling or buying real estate, should have the opportunity to respond.

Click here to be taken to the consultation page and continue to the survey:

The survey does not deal directly with the elimination of Limited Dual Agency, as it appears the Provincial Government has made that decision for you. The survey does address the issue of Dual Recusal mentioned in earlier letters. At the end you are afforded an opportunity to provide additional comments, which we encourage you to use.

The BC Oceanfront Team continues to appeal to government and the governing bodies to reassess the decision to eliminate Limited Dual Agency, and if nothing else to provide better exemptions for remote, recreational real estate and small communities. We believe this is in the best interest of all our clients, both sellers and buyers, and we strongly believe that the government does not have the right to take that choice away from you; especially when the alternative may negatively impact your experience and decision-making.

You may also want to contact your local MLA as well as the governing bodies to voice your concerns.
Real Estate Council of BC: 
Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate: 
BC Real Estate Association: 
North Island MLA Claire Trevena:
Finance Minister Carole James:  

As always, Ed and Shelley welcome calls or emails with questions or to discuss the new rules further.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Multi-day Hikes on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is renowned for water-based recreation and exploration, but there is also a lot of land-based recreation available. The island has such a variety of ecosystems that someone looking for a multi-day hike adventure has many choices. 

You want mountains? Head to Strathcona Park where you will find a number of over-night or longer hikes that will take you to a number of iconic mountains in the park, such as Mt. Albert Edward.

Strathcona Park

Looking for the southern rugged shores? Head to the Juan de Fuca Trail.

The West Coast Trail is a world-famous trail that requires signing up to a waiting list at least a year in advance to even get to hike it.

Looking for remote? Head over to Nookta Island and the multi-day trail there. Or drive to the northern tip of the island and hike the Cape Scott Trail, along boardwalks and mud, and then move onto the North Coast Trail which extends from the Cape Scott Trail.

Cape Scott

Want to add some canoeing into the hiking adventure? Della Falls, Canada’s highest waterfall, is the spot for you.

There are many more that can be done by pushing in one long day or split more comfortably into two days. The island is absolutely the place for outdoor adventuring of all kinds, including serious hiking.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Fishing License Renewal Time

April 1 is the designated date change for annual fishing licenses in BC, both freshwater and saltwater.

Saltwater licenses are required to harvest any marine life from salt water - fish, clams, oysters, prawns, crabs, etc. These are required by anyone who is wanting to fish or harvest, even children. There is no charge for children under the age of 16. Be aware of restrictions and quotas for the area you want to harvest in.

Freshwater licenses are required to fish in the lakes and rivers of BC. Be aware that there are still restrictions on where and what you can catch and in some cases how you can fish (fly rod vs spin rod for example). A license is not required for a child under the age of 16.

While may residents get an annual license, you can always purchase a short term license at any time throughout the year.

Click here for a Saltwater license.

Click here for a Freshwater license.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 15 March 2018

BCO Coastal Gems: Port Alice

The west coast of Vancouver Island is marked by large inlets and remote villages and towns separated by wild coast and mountains. Only a few of the towns are accessible by paved road.

Port Alice is on the north-west of Vancouver Island, on the banks of Neroutsos Inlet. Often referred to as "The Gateway to the Wild West Coast", Port Alice draws fishermen looking to access the waters off Northern Vancouver Island as well as Neroutsos and Quatsino Inlets.

The town itself has approximately 660 residents. The main industry has historically been the local pulp mill. The town offers basic amenities and shopping as well as a marina and a golf course.

Beach in front of Port Alice

Port Alice is surrounded by amazing natural beauty, with great access to Alice and Victoria Lakes recreational areas. This is an area popular with outdoor enthusiasts. The climate is mild and wet, like most of the north island.

Alice Lake

To get to Port Alice is approximately a 3 - 3.5 hour drive from Campbell River, along highway that cuts through some very remote and beautiful coastal forest.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Moorage in BC

There are a lot of logistics involved in owning oceanfront (or lakefront) property. Many of the properties BCOceanfront deals with are boat access properties, which means the main way to reach the property is by boat or float plane. So what are the rules for moorage at a property like this?

At one time to have a legally conforming dock required a foreshore lease or license of occupation. Then Specific Permission came into place, which allowed for an owner to register a dock once and not have to worry about renewing a lease or license. As of January 2017 the government has created what is known as General Permission, which would now apply to some property owners requiring docks. This authorization is handled by the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The BC Government information page on moorage can be found here. All of these types of moorage authorization are still available, depending on the type of moorage required and other criteria (use of moorage, location, etc).

General Permission requires no application or fee to the government. There are certain requirements that are expected to be met when a dock is put in place, for example where the dock is placed and the size of the dock. Those are laid out clearly in the pdf document at this link: General Permission.

There are certain areas where General Permission cannot be used, including most of the south-eastern portion of Vancouver Island (and all the southern Gulf Islands). There are other criteria that would also make a location not qualify for General Permission, which can be found here.

Sourcing out this type of information and knowing what is happening in the world of remote, recreational, waterfront properties is just part of what we do here at the BCO office.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Gifting Property to Charity

While most people know that you can donate property to a charitable organization ir the government (for parkland, environmental area, etc), not everyone may know that if one chooses and the land qualifies, the gift can be classified as an "eco gift". This comes up in our area occasionally, as much of the land on the coast could be termed ecologically sensitive or near to ecologically sensitive land.

The federal government oversees the process of having a donation declared an ecological gift, and there are regulations and criteria regarding how a property qualifies.

Not only properties can be donated. One can also donate easements and covenanted areas. The donated parcel only needs to meet one of the criterion on the list, although most of them will meet more than one.

According to the federal government, an ecological gift can provide significant tax advantages to the donor and can ensure that a land's biodiversity and environmental value is protected into the future.

For more information, go to the Environment Canada Eco Gifts page:

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!