Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Delights of Vancouver Island

Conde Naste released its top 20 islands (outside the US) of 2016 and Vancouver Island was #6 on the list. What makes that even more impressive is that Vancouver Island is the only temperate climate on the list. (While the Greek Islands do have a mild and wet winter, their summers are on average much hotter than ours.)

Why does Vancouver Island attract and interest travelers? The reasons are much the same as what appeals to those of us who live here, and what makes travelers look to buy recreational property in the region.

Cape Scott, north end of Vancouver Island

Natural Beauty: Miles of sand beaches, stunning rock beaches, mountains, waterfalls, large rivers and towering rainforests. There is so much nature on this island that just exploring it can keep one occupied for a lifetime, let alone a one week visit.

Mild Temperatures: While some people love to lie in the hot sun (as evidenced by the many tropical islands on the list), others enjoy our temperate summers which allow you to still be active even on the hottest days. Plus the evenings generally cool off nicely. Our fall and spring are lengthy and even our winters, with wild rain and wind storms, appeals to those looking to experience nature's ferocity.

Walking by the Quinsam River in November

Urban Amenities and Services: Victoria, Nanaimo and to a smaller extent Campbell River, the Comox Valley and the Cowichan Valley, offer almost all the amenities of the big mainland cities. Concerts, plays, sports, art galleries and world class museums as well as a large variety of shopping and dining attract those looking to see nature from a more sophisticated setting.

Wildlife Viewing: Whale watching seems to be number one on many travelers' lists and there is lots of opportunity to do that around Vancouver Island. In addition seals, sea lions, bears, eagles and much more wildlife are easily viewed. Being so close to the mainland and having a number of smaller islands off its east coast means Vancouver Island is easily accessible for shore animals as well as ocean dwellers. It's cooler waters are rich in sealife and food sources, encouraging many local populations as well as putting it on migration routes for many species.

Orca, Malcolm Island

Fishing: Salmon species, halibut, cod species - Vancouver Island waters have them all and the fishermen come in droves to experience pulling them in. Plus the numerous lakes and rivers on the island are a mecca for fly fishermen and other freshwater fishermen.

Shelley fishing

Ease of Access: Vancouver Island is easily accessed by plane or ferry and once on the island all the main communities have good road access. So both getting to the island and getting around the majority of the island are easy. It is possible to drive from one of the island to the other in a day, which makes it possible to visit a number of communities and regions in a week or two.

central mountains of Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island, and the surrounding coastal islands, is a unique place in the world that offers something to everyone. It is majestic, breath-taking, beautiful and exciting. We are privileged to call it home.

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

Thursday, 5 January 2017

The Agricultural Land Reserve in BC

The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is always a hot topic in BC. The Agriculture Land Commission (ALC), the body that governs the ALR, defines it as:

"The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. Farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are restricted."

Quadra Island

Residential and recreational properties can be found within the ALR, and it is a good idea to understand what restrictions that places on the property. The ALC website provides clear guidelines in this regard, as well as providing mapping of ALR land in BC.

The ALR protects approximately 4.7 million hectares of agriculturally suitable land across British Columbia, according to the ALC. Buying property within the ALR does not stop one from having a home on the land, it does however restrict what activity the land can be used for.

It is also important to note that different municipalities and regions may have zoning bylaws that also affect the land and uses.
Keep in mind that buying property in the ALR means your neighbours are likely in the ALR as well, and may well be engaged in agricultural practises - this could mean all the unique things that are part of farming and agriculture are part of your neighbourhood (e.g. machinery noise, fertilizer spreading, etc).

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

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Looking forward to 2017

The last blog post of the year means we look forward to the new year and what it may bring. 

Looking Forward to 2017

Social media has become an important part of everyday business and the BCO Team continues to expand and develop in this area. We enjoy sharing the coastal lifestyle on our Facebook page and now on our new Instragram account.

Client interaction is something we give serious consideration to whenever we review our office procedures. Regular marketing reports, thank you cards and the like are all details that show our clients we are thinking of them and appreciate their business. We encourage our clients to share reviews on Google. Referrals are also always welcome!

For 2017 the recreational and remote property market looks promising and Ed expects that lower inventory available will start putting upward pressure on pricing. The Campbell River market will likely see steady action. This is a desirable community as well as affordable in comparison to the other urban centres on Vancouver Island.

“We are looking forward to another busy, productive year.” – Ed
“I think this year an important focus for the entire BCO Team will be working towards finding that nice balance between work/family/personal interests that makes us all happier and healthier and in the end more productive.” – Shelley

The BCO Team – Ed, Shelley, Kate and Karen – wishes you all a fantastic holiday season and looks forward to working with you in 2017.

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

Thursday, 15 December 2016

A Rare White and Sunny Break in December on the Island

After a very wet and grey fall, islanders were accepting that we were likely in for a long, damp winter. However we have recently been surprised by a stretch of first snow and now cold temperatures (thus keeping the snow around). While we aren't really well equipped for snow and ice out here, we are definitely appreciating the sunshine and treasured Vitamin D!

Of course there wasn't much sunshine for the two days that it snowed. Campbell River received up to 18 inches in places (including in Kate's neighbourhood).

The snow may stick around for another week or so, as we are expected to continue with the cold weather. There is even more snow in the forecast for Sunday! After that though it looks like it will warm up and be a more traditional green Christmas on the island.

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

Thursday, 8 December 2016

BCO Coastal Gems: Zeballos

Ed and Shelley had the opportunity to take a road trip in to Zeballos this week. With snow capped mountains surrounding the little village, the setting was stunning.

Zeballos is on the west coast of Vancouver Island, accessed by road from Hwy 19 just north of Woss. This is a Forest Service gravel road and can be in varying condition throughout the year.

The community of Zeballos first started with gold miners, and then became a logging hub. Now its biggest draw is tourism - as coastal explorers and fishermen come to visit the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island. There is both fresh water and salt water fishing, as the Zeballos River runs through town.

There are limited services in the community, including a medical clinic, general store, marina and boat fuel sales. In the summer there are a number of accommodation options.

Zeballos calls itself the Golden Gate to the West Coast. It offers access to Nootka Sound and the fishing on the west coast of the island, as well as the provincial parks of the northern Island (Woss, Brooks Peninsula, Cape Scott).

Definitely worth the drive in. Click here for more information: Zeballos.

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

Thursday, 1 December 2016

BCO Calendar, Year Two

Creating a calendar was on the list of projects for years, and last year was the first time we put it all together. This year the process was a little easier to go through although we still have divided opinion on choosing the final 13 photos.

last year's calendar and some of this year's options

We make our own calendar because we believe that the places we get to visit and market are some of the most astounding places around. The BC Oceanfront Team loves the coast and we want to share that love in any way we can.

preparing for mail out

We consider the BCO calendars a labour of love, and hope that those of you who receive one enjoy the pictures throughout the year.

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

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Vancouver Island Living

Living on Vancouver Island you have easy access to lots of rugged wilderness, large trees, amazing beaches and vast spaces. While these are definitely a big part of the appeal of island living, what people don't realize are just how many amenities Vancouver Island offers as well, making it an ideal place to live with the best of both worlds at your doorstep.

looking across the water to Victoria, from Esquimalt

The four main urban areas on Vancouver Island are (in order of population) Victoria, Nanaimo, the Comox Valley (including Courtenay and Comox) and Campbell River. All of these centres have major hospitals (Victoria has two) and vibrant downtown districts.

Vancouver Island has two universities. The University of Victoria has been around for 50 years and attracts students from across Canada as well as many international students. It is also a popular choice for students on Vancouver Island. The second university is Vancouver Island University, which is based in Nanaimo. It was originally Malaspina College, and in 2008 was granted full university status under its new name. All the urban centres have local colleges as well as private colleges.

The Save On Foods Memorial Center in Victoria regularly features high profile music acts. The MacPherson and Royal Theatres in Victoria and Port Theatre in Nanaimo attract major stage and dance productions, while the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay and the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River provide a nice variety of live entertainment for those communities. Victoria also boasts the world-class Royal BC Museum as well as an art gallery. There are many other places of culture, history and creativity throughout the urban centres and even on the smaller islands near Vancouver Island.

Empress Hotel, Victoria Inner Harbour

Both Victoria and Nanaimo have a number of indoor shopping malls, including The Bay Centre and Mayfair Mall in Victoria, and Woodgrove Centre in Nanaimo - all very popular with island residents. All the urban centres have a wide variety of shopping available.

One of the appeals of living on Vancouver Island is that you really can have it all. Anywhere you live on the island offers amazing coastal beauty, while all the amenities needed or wanted are also available.

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