Thursday, 10 January 2019

Mining on 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, 3 January 2019

6 Tips for Selling a Home in the 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, 20 December 2018

Looking Forward to 2019

The holidays are upon us, and as we batten down the hatches here in Campbell River (very stormy weather at the moment) we thought we would take this opportunity to share our look forward to 2019....

With all the real estate changes in 2018 (elimination of limited dual agency, speculation tax, stricter mortgage rules) we are hoping for a more settled 2019! It would be nice to see some reconsideration of the ban on limited dual agency for our more remote property listings, and we continue to communicate our concerns as well as those of our clients where appropriate. We will of course keep our clients updated with any changes that may come our way.

The coast is attracting a wide variety of interested buyers – from young people looking to live off grid to retirees looking for a recreational property and investors purchasing holding properties. This is reflected in the diverse range of properties selling in the remote and recreational market. Providing our listings with good exposure in a variety of venues is the continued focus!

Campbell River is being recognized as an affordable coastal location, and according to Zoocasa* is actually one of the top 4 most affordable places in BC. The City has been working on infrastructure improvements this year, most noticeably through sewer upgrades and high-tech upgrades in the downtown core. We have seen a number of new builds in the condo, rental and patio home markets reflecting current demand.  “Campbell River is still seeing high levels of construction with hundreds of new dwellings built in the past year. There’s a continued interest in new development as well, with many new subdivisions and multiple housing projects currently in the approval process.” City manager Deborah Sargent.

The BC Oceanfront Team is looking forward to another great year, with providing professional and exceptional service always front of mind. We wish all our clients a successful and healthy 2019.

*November 2018 report

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

Thursday, 13 December 2018

What are Forest Service Roads?

Anyone who spends time exploring the central and northern parts of Vancouver Island will soon come to realize that the adventures happen mostly off the paved roads. There is an entire network of gravel roads on the island, most of which are Forest Service Roads.

What are Forest Service Roads? According to the BC Government, they are part of the Resource Roads of BC:

Resource roads are typically one- or two-lane gravel roads built for industrial purposes to access natural resources in remote areas. Over 620,000 kilometers of roads on the British Columbia landbase are considered resource roads. Resource roads are a highly valued part of B.C.’s transportation network and are essential to economic development.

The B.C. Government administers about 60,000 kilometers of Forest Service Roads (FSRs). FSRs are maintained by the forest industry under road use permits, or where there is no industrial user responsible for maintenance, by the B.C. Government.  Where there is no industrial maintainer, the B.C. Government carries out maintenance, subject to available funding, where communities, rural residents and high value recreation sites have priority.

Many of the BC Oceanfront listings will say that a property is accessible by limited Forest Service Road access. This is because Forest Service Roads are not guaranteed to be be open and in working condition at all times. However most of the main lines on northern Vancouver Island are generally open.

Driving on a Forest Service Road on Vancouver Island is not the same as driving on a private gravel road or farm track. The condition of the roads vary greatly depending on the season and the amount of industrial traffic using them at any given time. In the rainy winter months it is not uncommon for the roads to get very slick, and for parts to be partially washed out. For roads that head towards the mountains snow is more common than on the rest of the island. In the summer the roads can be rutted and dusty, making visibility a challenge. Drivers should be prepared for any conditions and if it is the first time driving on these roads, take it slow. Keep in mind, the large work trucks generally always have the right of way!

There are many maps available showing the forest service road networks. The one used most often in our office is the Backroads Mapbook - an excellent resource for anyone looking to venture beyond the paved roads of Vancouver Island. However spurs and side roads can open and close depending on the logging work in the region, so a sharp eye and good sense of direction helps in navigation.

For many people living on Vancouver Island, the Forest Service Roads provide access to remote communities, lakes, hiking trails, rivers, hunting grounds and much more, enhancing our connection to the rich landscape.

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

Thursday, 6 December 2018

BCO Coastal Gems: 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 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, 29 November 2018

2019 BCO Calendar

The 2019 calendars have arrived fresh from RH Printing here in Campbell River, and we are getting ready to mail them out.

The calendar process takes about 5 weeks every fall, as pulling together and agreeing on the 13 photos takes time. We love doing it though, every time it reminds us of all the cool places there are on the coast. Making sure we represent different aspects and regions of this diverse coast is a challenge we enjoy as well.

The calendars should be in the mail next week, but with the Canada Post disruptions this fall and the reported backlog of mail and parcels it has caused, we don't know when they will reach people. Let us know when you have yours!

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

Thursday, 22 November 2018

BCO Road Trips

While a majority of our listings are boat access, there are a handful that require a driving road trip. Properties in Zeballos and Tahsis require a long drive, first on paved roads and then on gravel roads. These are all day trips, starting generally by 7am and not ending until 5pm or later.

Driving the large forest service roads into these communities requires one to be alert. However it also requires stopping along the way, as there is some breath-taking scenery and views to be found.

These small communities are shaped in part by the long drive in - not everyone wants to make such a drive. A truck is not a must but generally is better equipped to handle the varying road conditions, especially in the wet winters. And whatever one is driving - it's going to get dirty!

Just another aspect of the type of real estate BC Oceanfront deals in!

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