Thursday, 15 February 2018

Mining Vancouver Island

While Vancouver Island is most commonly associated with the resource-based industries of forestry and fishing, the island also has a strong and deep history of mining.

Coal mining began on the island (and surrounding islands) in the 1800s, with the discovery of coal in the Nanaimo region. This initial discovery was facilitated by local First Nations, who noticed the coal that Hudson’s Bay Company employees used and offered the information that coal was available locally.

Mining jobs brought many people to the island, creating small towns of workers (eg Cumberland) while areas of Nanaimo and Victoria were built upon the success of prominent mining families.

Mining became big business, first coal and then metals. The island is physically marked by the industry, with both small, abandoned mine sites and large decommissioned mine sites. Two large mines near Campbell River, Quinsam Coal and Myra Mines, are on-again off-again mines; with production being at the whim of global markets.

There are still individual mine claims throughout the back country of Vancouver Island as well as on the smaller islands and on the stretch of mainland coast across from northern Vancouver Island. Whether any of these are active is hard to determine. There are also still people who pan in the local rivers, hoping to find a gold nugget or two.

north Vancouver Island old mine site

Properties that come up for sale in the more remote areas of the islands can be impacted by a mining background. Some may be actual mine sites while others can be at least partially made up of old mining claims.
there were mine sites on the hillside of Port Neville

Hatley and Cragidarroch Castles, the community of Cumberland, Newcastle Island, the IslandCopper Mine outside of Port Hardy, small mining relics and tailings piles, unused mining claims, the numerous dams around Nanaimo – all of these are part of the legacy mining has created on Vancouver Island.

It’s a Coastal Lifestyle … Live it!

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Real Estate Changes in BC

There are some major changes coming to BC real estate, and we believe the public should know what those changes are and how they came about. Following is information assembled by a taskforce in our Royal LePage Advance Realty office:

·         Real Estate in BC is governed by the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) for licensees and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) for consumers. The Rules are made by OSRE and guidance on carrying out those rules is provided by RECBC.

·         OSRE states: “A consultation on these rules was completed on October 6, 2017 after OSRE posted a draft version of the proposed rules for a 30 day public comment period on September 6, 2017. OSRE received strong support from the public on all proposed rules.”

·         According to the published report, only 169 members of the public answered the survey, along with 2,395 licensees. Of those 169 people, 66.9% were from the lower mainland.

·         On March 15, 2018 new and changed rules will come into effect.

·         Limited Dual Agency is being eliminated March 15, 2018.
The Superintendent has created a rule to prohibit the practice of dual agency. Dual agency is when a licensee represents two or more parties with competing interests in a trade in real estate, such as both buyer and seller, or two or more competing buyers.*

·         In explaining the new rules, RECBC has advised licensees that the elimination of Double Agency may create situations of ‘double recusal’ where a licensee will not be able to act on behalf of the seller or buyer if they are current clients, rather than only referring one client to another licensee.

·         A licensee will not be able to represent either party if a client buyer decides he wants to offer on a listing of that licensee
You should not continue to act for either client in this scenario. You should refer your buyer client and your seller client to get independent professional advice (i.e. another licensee). You cannot act for both clients in this scenario (even with their consent) because it would amount to dual agency, which is prohibited.*

·         The proposal to eliminate Dual Agency was voted on by only 131 members of the public (from the Province of BC) in the survey, and 81 people supported it.

·         Possible Scenarios
 1. Joe the buyer has been working with a real estate agent to look at properties in town, listed by several real estate agents, making Joe a client. Joe viewed 20 properties, 2 of them were listings of the agent he was working with. Joe decides he would like to make an offer on one of his agent’s listings. At that point, the agent must refer Joe to another agent AS WELL AS refer the seller to another agent.

2. Megan is interested in buying a recreational property, or a commercial property, and she knows, based on extensive research, that one agent is the expert in this specialized field. That agent also has most of the listings. If that agent wants to continue to act on behalf of his current clients (the sellers), he cannot represent Megan as a buyer client. She would either have to be an unrepresented buyer or find another agent, even though no other agents in the area specialize in those properties.

3. Dean has a preferred agent, who has worked on his behalf in the past. Dean trusts that agent, and calls them up on a listing they have on the market. That agent cannot work with Dean as a client because of the double recusal rule (they would have to refer both Dean and the seller to different agents).

                4. Jim Agent is taking care of business for his colleague, Judy Licensee, while she is away. During that time, one of Jim’s past clients comes to him and asks to look at some homes with Jim next week, after Judy Licensee is back looking after her own business. They find a home they love and want Jim to make an offer. However, the home they love is one of Judy Licensee’s listings. Because Jim Agent was looking after Judy Licensee’s business while she was away, this is now considered a conflict of interest and Jim cannot act on his buyer’s behalf and needs to refer them to another agent.

·         Contact information
Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate: phone:  1-855-999-1883
                Real Estate Council of BC: phone: 1-877-683-9664
                Claire Trevena, MLA: : CR office 1-250-287-5100
                Minister of Finance Carole James:

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Agricultural Land Reserve in BC

The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) affects a number of properties in BC and it is important to understand if a property you are interested in happens to be in the ALR. 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.
Sayward Valley

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, 18 January 2018

2017 Recognition

Ed and Shelley are proud of the work the BC Oceanfront Team does here at the Royal LePage Advance offices. The team works hard to achieve results for our clients and strives to be the best possible.

This year The BC Oceanfront Team has been recognized both locally and nationally among their peers.

  •  top producer in the Royal LePage Advance office for 2017
  •  Red Diamond award within Royal LePage
  •  Chairman's Club for 2017, placing in the top 1% of realtors with Royal LePage nationally


Royal LePage Advance 2017 Top 10

These honours are the product of excellent team work, dedication and good goal setting, as well as  commitment and trust from our clients. The team is grateful for that last one most of all.

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

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Vancouver Island East Coast and West Coast

Most people don't think of islands as being very different from one side to the other. But Vancouver Island is a bigger island than many people realize and it differs greatly from one coast to the other.

Vancouver Island is approximately 460km long, 80km across at its widest, and has an area of just over 32,000km. It is the biggest island on the coast of North America. The defining feature of the island is the Vancouver Island Mountain Range which runs up the centre of the island. These mountains are home to Comox Glacier, Della Falls (Canada's largest waterfall) and the Golden Hinde, the highest peak on the island at 2,195 metres. These mountains effectively divide Vancouver Island into the east side and west side.

 Vancouver Island Mountains
The west coast of Vancouver Island is open to the Pacific Ocean. The constant wave action and storms of the open ocean have shaped this coast, which is famous for its deep bays with sandy beaches and windswept rocky coastline in between. There are fewer people living on the rugged west coast, and road access is limited to a few points of access from the east side of the island. The west coast constantly attracts outdoor enthusiasts for its rugged beauty, amazing open water fishing and stunning landscapes.

Rugged Point
Cox Bay
The east coast of the island, facing out to the Strait of Georgia (and Strait of Juan de Fuca on the south end) is a much calmer coast. Typified by sandstone, cobblestone and smooth rock shorelines with pockets of sand beaches (notably in Parksville and between Courtenay and Campbell River) the east coast is more protected for the most part and less rugged. While winter storms still hit on the east coast, they are not as aggressive in wave action as on the west coast of the island.
Campbell River
The east coast also provides access to the mainland of BC through the ferry service from both Nanaimo and Victoria. The main highway system runs along the east side of the island, and most towns and cities have been built from the water inwards. While there are still more remote areas on the east coast of the island, most of them are towards the north after Campbell River.

Discovery Passage, north of Campbell River
Thanks to its size and geography, Vancouver Island offers an array of outdoor experiences, from calm ocean kayaking among small islands in the Strait of Georgia to wild and wet storm watching on the west coast. Both sides of the island offer amazing beauty and incredible regions to explore, vacation in or call home.
West Coast Vancouver Island
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 4 January 2018

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!

Thursday, 28 December 2017

BCO: Looking Forward to 2018

A new year can sometimes bring new challenges. As you may be aware, the Superintendent of Real Estate in BC has recently brought some new changes into the way real estate assistance is delivered to clients. One of the changes which will have a larger impact on our office than perhaps others is the elimination of Limited Dual Agency. In the past and especially with our recreational properties, we have been able to work on behalf of both seller and buyer with their permission and understanding of what that means. We will no longer be able to provide this service. The new rules come into effect in March 2018 and we are still working out how the BCO Team is going to approach these changes. Our clients’ best interests are always at the front of mind and will continue to be as we move forward in this changing real estate landscape.

Campbell River continues to thrive, serving as a hub for many coastal industries. The City continues to promote a diverse economic and cultural community, and there is a lot of physical development happening throughout. Perhaps the biggest draw to Campbell River though is the lifestyle it provides – giving some of the best access to beaches, lakes, mountains and forests of anywhere on the coast.

In the recreational market we have seen some long standing inventory be consumed and a start in an upward trend in prices.

While there continues to be a steady small presence of American and international buyers, the majority of people looking at properties on the BC Oceanfront website are Canadian, predominantly from the island and lower mainland. Buyers are looking for recreational property close to home, and many are exploring downsizing from a larger family home to a smaller residence plus a recreational property.

Early in 2018 we look forward to introducing a selection of private lakefront acreages on northern Vancouver Island – something not seen before.

The BCO Team wishes all our clients a contented holiday season and we look forward to working with you in 2018.