Thursday, 23 March 2017

Mountains of Vancouver Island and the BC Coast

One of the amazing things about the east coast of Vancouver Island is that you are surrounded by mountains. Whether it is the central coastal mountains across from central Vancouver Island, the Vancouver mountains across from Nanaimo and region, or the mountains of Washington and Oregon across from Victoria (Mt. Baker being the most noticeable of these), the coastal mountains are a strong visual background for the eastern side of the island.

To the west and in the centre of the island are the mountains of Vancouver Island. These slope up from the south through gentler mountains such as Arrowsmith to the steep and imposing mountains found in Strathcona Regional Park, such as Mount Albert Edward and the Golden Hinde. The mountains continue up the spine of the island, again sloping off as they reach the northern end.

The mountains on the island are the source for much of the drinking water on the island and are the birthplace of the majority of the big rivers that Vancouver Island is so well known for. They also split the island and impact the climate from the east to the west coasts. Accessing west coast communities such as Tofino or Port Alberni requires crossing through the mountains, which can of course change your road conditions drastically.

There are two ski hills on Vancouver Island - Mount Washington is well-known as a ski resort and offers both cross country and excellent downhill recreation. Mt Cain is a lesser known ski hill, famous amongst serious skiiers for its west coast powder.

In the summer the mountains are a popular hiking and climbing destination, and Mount Washington offers trails and access for mountain bikers.

As much as the ocean forms the rhythm of life on Vancouver Island, the mountains also are part of the island lifestyle. Even if people never go into the mountains, the fact that they are always there makes them as much a part of an islander's experience as the ocean.

Vancouver Island embraces nature from shore to mountaintop, and it shows.

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

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Drinking Water on a Remote Property

For those living in a city or other residential area, domestic water is only really thought about when water restrictions are enacted. Otherwise it is hard to really think about where water comes from, when it is readily available at the turn of a tap.

For those who live outside the boundaries of cities and towns, domestic water can be one of the most important issues when establishing a home. Where will it come from? How will it be used? How much will be needed? All of these questions should be answered when considering a home on a remote or rural property. If the property already has a home in place, prospective buyers should be asking the same questions.

Domestic water outside of city water systems generally comes from three sources: groundwater through wells; surface water through springs, creeks or rivers; and rain water. (There are other options, such as desalination plants if one lives on the ocean or water delivery which many island communities use in the dry summers when wells and cisterns are empty.) Of these three, it is currently the use of surface water that requires a licence to access in BC.

The Water Act of BC defines what licencing is required and what that licence entitles one to. A licence will define where the water may be taken from, how much water will be taken and what the water will be used for.Information on applying for a domestic freshwater licence can be found here:

The BC Government is in the process of evaluating the Water Act and changing the laws to reflect licencing for non-domestic ground water usage. This is expected to become law early this year, and more on that can be found here:

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

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Licence Renewal Season is Here

The end of March is definitely the start of spring here on the coast. That's not to say we don't ever have snow in April, as it has happened, but it is obvious when you look around that spring is arriving.

The other thing that the end of March brings is fishing licence renewal. Both salt water and fresh water licences run from April 1 - March 31. Anyone who fishes tidal waters must have a licence on them, regardless of age. A fresh water licence is required by anyone 16 and up.

He had a licence

She had a licence

He did not need a licence

She had a licence

He had a licence

She had a licence

Tidal water licences are regulated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and you can find more information here: Fisheries and Oceans Tidal Licence

Freshwater licences are regulated by the BC Government, and you can find more information here: Fish and Wildlife Freshwater Licence

If you already have a licence, don't forget to renew before April 1!

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

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Gifting Property to Charity

While most people know that you can donate property to a charitable organization, 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!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

BCO Style

As you may have noticed in some of our photos, we have put our BCO logo on Stanfields, or Stanis as they are known around here. Why have we chosen that to bear our logo? 

The Stanfield exemplifies the coastal lifestyle (on Vancouver Island they are sometimes referred to as the Island Tuxedo). Made of wool, they are perfect for the damp weather of the coast. People from all walks of life wear them when they are outdoors (and some even when they are indoors). If someone is wearing a Stani, you know they like to be outside.

Considering that many of the properties we sell are recreational, and that many of our clients are buying property that they will use specifically as a way to get closer to nature and the outdoors, it just makes sense that Stanis are the clothing item we chose to represent BCO.

Shelley and Ed are often seen in their Stanis, especially when they have to go out on the boat or travel to more remote areas. They wear theirs with pride, and we hope that the clients who receive a BCO Stani do as well.

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

Thursday, 16 February 2017

BCO Coastal Gems: Malcolm Island and Sointula

Malcolm Island and the town of Sointula offer a picturesque west coast lifestyle, complete with colourful homes, historic buildings, pretty fishing boats and lots of walking trails.

 Sointula was originally founded by Finnish immigrants in the early 1900s looking for a better way of life, and that history is still reflected in the town. It has also been an active fishing centre in the region.

Accessed by ferry from Port McNeill on Vancouver Island, Sointula has shopping, fuel services, private and public docks, a library and a medical clinic among other amenities. There is a vibrant community of approx. 800, an eclectic mix of old-time families, artists, fishermen and those looking for a quieter life.

Whale watchers and outdoor enthusiasts favour Malcolm Island for its whale rubbing beaches and hiking trails, especially the Beautiful Bay Trail between Bere Point and Malcolm Point. There are a few campsites on the island, including Bere Point Regional Park campground as well as a number of B&Bs and guest houses. Pulteney Point lighthouse sits on the northeast point of the island and is accessible by a nice beach walk. The main roads along the eastern shore are paved, while the further out roads are gravel.

Malcolm Island sits at the junction of Queen Charlotte Strait, Broughton Strait and Johnstone Strait off the northern end of Vancouver Island. 

Definitely worth the trip!

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

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Tips For Selling Your Home in Winter

1. Lighting
In the winter, especially on the coast where it is often grey outside in the winter months, lighting is crucial. Check that all your lights are bright and change out any weak or dim bulbs.  Look for dark areas in the house and see if lamps or strategically placed lighting will enhance those areas. Warm light in the winter is nice, as are the daylight style bulbs. There are many options to choose from nowadays, so pick a light that suits the space and the time of year.

2. Windows
Winter light often comes in at an angle, and dirty windows are really noticeable. Make sure the windows are clean and clear. During the day open the window coverings to let as much natural light in as possible while in the evenings have window coverings closed against the dark.

3. Warmth
People love to feel cozy in the winter, but keep in mind that they will be coming in with coats on after being out in the cold air, so a house interior will already feel warmer to them. In other words you want the home warm but not hot. A nice throw on the couch and some soft accent pillows will enhance the cozy feeling.

4. Cleaning
In the winter when the outside spaces are dormant and cold the inside needs to shine even more.  Make sure the indoor living spaces are sparkling. Flooring in the winter can quickly become muddy and dirty, so keep watch on that. Also mud rooms and entryways in the winter quickly get cluttered with coats, boots and gear which need to be cleared away.

5. Outdoor Lighting and Access
While people won’t spend as much time looking at the outdoors in the winter, they will notice a dirty entryway our one that is not well lit. Keep it clean and bright, so the entrances are reassuring, welcoming and safe.

6. Use Timers

Dark days in winter can meet sometimes outdoor lights should be one earlier, while a bright sunny day might mean lights don’t need to come on until later. A good timer from the hardware store can be set for a certain time or even better is to buy one that is light sensitive. This insures that when people show up the lights are on if needed.

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