Thursday, 19 October 2017

Power on Remote and Recreational Properties

When dealing with recreational and remote properties there are considerations that don't come up with regular residential properties. For instance - is there power and where does it come from?

Some recreational and remote properties are close enough to small communities that they can hook into existing BC Hydro power supplies. It can be surprising how many boat access communities, such as Quatsino on the NW coast of Vancouver Island, actually have power from BC Hydro. This is then just like obtaining power for any new property - lines need to be accessed and power brought into the property through coordination with BC Hydro, neighbouring properties and local communities.

For properties beyond the scope of BC Hydro, there are still options for power. Many of the older, more established remote properties will have gas generators of some sort. This involves generators and usually a battery bank to store power so that the generators aren't running all the time. This requires gas to be brought on to the property, and general upkeep on the equipment.

Solar power has become an attractive option for some, and it is not unusual to see a house or cottage with an array of solar panels on the roof, or as a stand-alone system. These supply a battery bank which stores the energy. Some larger properties have been known to use solar power but keep a gas generator on hand as an emergency back-up system.

Another option for those who have access to a running water supply is personal use hydro-power. This requires a license for the water use, and on a good, strong water source can be a great power supply. There are a variety of set-ups depending on the amount of power required.

All of the options have pros and cons when it comes to upkeep, initial cost of installation and materials, efficiency, etc. It requires some good research both on the options and the property itself. At BCO we have a good deal of information on alternative energy and are always looking out for new and innovative ideas in power for remote/recreational properties.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

BCO Coastal Gems: The Southern Gulf Islands

When people think of the Gulf Islands of BC the first islands that come to mind are the big ones: Saltspring, Mayne, Pender and Galiano. While these are the anchors of this island system, the Gulf Islands are also home to a myriad of smaller islands.

 Galiano Island
Islands such as Ruxton and Gossip are smaller, boat access islands but still are home to many - either as a recreational get-away or as a permanent residence.
Gossip Island in the foreground

There are also private islands dotted among the bigger islands.

Leech Island with Thetis Island behind

The Gulf Islands are renowned for natural beauty, great climate, relaxed atmosphere and diverse culture. They are becoming known as a food and wine destination as well as a vacation destination.

Decourcy Island

The Gulf Islands offer residents and visitors alike a quick escape. They are close to both Vancouver and Vancouver Island yet are very different in culture. Each island offers something unique. The islands are very popular with boaters who like to explore the many beaches and protected hidden coves.

Visiting the main Gulf Islands is as simple as a ride with BC Ferries, while the smaller islands require either a personal boat, a water taxi or a charter flight.

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

Thursday, 28 September 2017

BC Coastal Gems: Cortes Island

Cortes Island is a perfect example of west coast island living. As one of the Discovery Islands off the central eastern coast of Vancouver Island it is popular with boaters and vacationers alike. As one of the two Discovery Islands with ferry access, Cortes also attracts a fair number of people year-round, and has a permanent population of about 1000 people. 

The relaxed, rural lifestyle attracts a cross-section of society, from old school hippies to new age environmentalists, from burned out city executives to small scale farmers - and everything else in between. There is a strong First Nations history and presence on the island as well as a more recent resource-based history and on-going presence.

The island is 130 square kilometres and boasts some beautiful beaches as well as gorgeous lakes. Smelt Bay Provincial Park is a popular summer camping destination. There are three main population areas on the island, where one can find a public school, a medical clinic, a library branch and small community amenities.
Smelt Bay
Cortes Island is considered a major gateway to the very popular Desolation Sound region. For the outdoor enthusiast it is truly one of the best jumping off points for a variety of outdoor activities including fishing, prawning, kayaking and hiking. This area enjoys a nice temperate climate and the waters here are warmer than in most other areas on the coast.

Access to Cortes Island is a 45-minute trip via regularly scheduled ferry service from Heriot Bay on Quadra Island.  Quadra Island is a short 10-minute ferry ride from Campbell River.  During the summer months there is also regular float plane service from Vancouver and Seattle directly into Cortes Bay.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Readying Your Recreational Property for Winter

Fall is upon us and with it comes the promise of rain and wind and storms. Just like you should clean your gutters, unhook your hoses and put away the patio furniture at your residence, you should prepare your recreational and remote properties for the fall and winter seasons.

Water - if you are not going to be using your property over the winter your water supply should be properly shut down. There is nothing worse than burst pipes in the spring!

General tidy up - make sure all the loose items from summer, such as chairs, tables, planters, tools, outdoor toys, etc are put away in a secure place. Winter weather can wreck these items, and winter storms can send them flying.

Clean up - make sure that food stuffs are either well packaged, stored somewhere else or thrown out. Mice love a winter meal, and there is nothing worse than coming back months later to a super smelly fridge from the milk that was left behind. Putting linens, towels, dishcloths, etc somewhere extra dry will help keep mould from growing on damp fabrics.

Lock up - make sure the property is closed up properly. Windows and doors should be latched so wind doesn't blow them open and so that critters can't get in.

Docks - make sure the surface is "gripped" or cleaned so that if someone needs to use the docks they won't slip on the slick surface from all the winter moisture.

Trees, shrubs, etc - now is a good time to prune any dead branches or long branches that are getting too close to buildings. These can come down during winter storms doing a lot of damage with no one around to clean up. Better to deal with it now.

Roof and Gutters - check they are clear of debris and are running clear. This should be done later in the fall even if the weather permits, so that falling leaves can be cleared out.

A small amount of time spent shutting down, cleaning up and locking up will save time and possibly money come spring. Time to get it done before the big storms come!

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

Thursday, 14 September 2017

BCO New Team Photos

It seems every couple of years we have reason to update our office team photos. New team members, new looks, things changing - all of these have been reasons to prompt a photo shoot. This August was our most recent photo session, and we are thrilled with the results.

 Our photographer was Karen McKinnon, out of Courtenay. Karen's corporate gallery caught our eye, and we have been very impressed with her professionalism and service. Karen and her colleague John ventured up to Campbell River at 6:30am to catch the beautiful morning light at Tyee Spit. We were battling smoke from the wildfires in the interior as well as a windy morning, but we feel this set of photos does a great job of capturing the coastal lifestyle we all live and strive to introduce to our clients. Our thanks to Karen and her team for a wonderful job.


Photo shoots are always a challenge as we try to get in the various settings that portray the BCO work spaces, and as a photographer works with four personalities. Karen was a delight to work with and did a great job a directing and also accommodating our wishes.



Photos are a necessary part of a business and good photos let prospective clients get to know a little more about us. Many of the clients we work with we may not meet in person when we first start working with them (or in some cases at all) due to the nature of our remote properties and so these photos give them a chance to put faces to names and voices.


Watch for more photos to appear in our various marketing materials and on social media over the next couple of weeks!

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

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Archeological Findings on Properties

Archeological sites are a common topic with coastal properties these days (the majority of these are sites with cultural and/or historical significance), and even make the news every once in a while. They can be controversial, but they are an essential part of developing property these days on the coast of BC so it is important to know what needs to be done.

Some properties have already had investigations done and have marked archeological sites on them. Understanding the implications of these sites is important, as an owner, or potential owner, needs to know what can and can't be done with the property. A small site can simply mean making sure you do not disturb it when creating development plans, while a large site can mean further action is required.

 You can first determine if there are any known sites on the property by contacting the provincial government through their Archaeology Branch. This is something that we at BC Oceanfront, a part of the Royal LePage Advance Realty team, do on most of our listings. We have found the Arch. Branch to be very easy to deal with, and the forms required are straight forward to fill out. We submit directly from online.

If you wish to build on a property or make major alterations to a property, then an archeological assessment is generally required. Most municipalities and regional districts will require an assessment during the permitting process. These are done by private companies, and there are often many steps involved in the process, which the company should be able to facilitate.

From the Archaeology Branch's FAQ document, these are two things they see as important to property owners: "The current use of the property is seldom affected unless the use involves significant land alteration. A house on a fully developed lot is not affected by overlapping with an archaeological site. An active gravel pit is a concern, because this current use will damage or destroy a site.
New development, such as changing the building footprint, major landscaping, or installation of an in ground swimming pool, will be a concern, because the new activity may damage the archaeological site. When planning for land use change, ensure that a professional consulting archaeologist is part of the planning process. They can determine if the new development will have an effect on the archaeological site.
In many cases, the archaeological site is not within the development zone. As an example, sites on waterfront properties are usually close to the water and are often contained within zoning setbacks set up to protect other environmental values."


Owning property on the BC Coast is a dream for many, and it is important to have all the information on hand when making those dreams reality.

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

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Summer Sign Trips

Summer is very busy in the BCO office, although often that office space is outside.

  

The dry months are perfect for getting out and viewing properties, sometimes with clients and sometimes just Ed and/or Shelley. It's especially a good time for fresh photos and to put signs up.



Because Ed pilots the boat, Shelley is often the sign hanger. This requires scrambling onto rocks and finding the right tree for the sign, all while not dropping your tools and carrying a 4ft x 4ft sign on plywood!


The beauty of recreational and remote real estate is the opportunity to visit not only the specific properties but to be in the regions where those properties are, to experience firsthand the spectacular views and surroundings, and to spend time on the water. Having seen it and experienced it ourselves, it makes it that much sweeter to share with clients and prospective buyers.


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