Thursday, 18 July 2019

BCO Coastal Gems: Quadra Island

Quadra Island is the largest (approximately 34 km long) and most populated (approximately 2,500 full-time residents) of the Discovery Island group. It lies between Campbell River on Vancouver Island and the mainland coast of British Columbia, off Canada's west coast. 

Quadra's residents enjoy a rural lifestyle surrounded by a clean unspoiled environment. The breathtaking wilderness scenery, mild temperate climate, and natural beauty make it a popular destination for visitors from around the world. 

There are complete services on the island as well as a wide variety of accommodation and dining from deluxe resorts to rustic campsites. Unlimited adventure recreation includes sport fishing, diving, hiking on over 200 km of hiking trails, sea kayaking, powerboat and sailing. There are many beaches, sheltered coves, protected channels and islets along the intricate shoreline and the rich waters fed by large tidal exchanges nourish abundant marine life.  

All regular services are available on Quadra and the full service community of Campbell River on Vancouver Island is just a 10-minute ferry ride away from Quathiaski Cove. From Heriot Bay, ferry service operates to Whaletown on Cortes Island.

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

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Transformations on the Shore 2019

Every year on the shores of Campbell River chainsaw carvers gather for a four day competition. Spectators are welcome and there is always a good crowd. Between the location - Frank James Park in Willow Point - and the time of year - late June - this event is a great one to attend.

If you visit more than one day you can really see the artists' visions come to life. Going from a rough piece of wood to a finished carving in just four days is an impressive feat! There are a number of categories and prizes are awarded in each.

While some of the carvings are already spoken for and so leave right after the competition ends, a number of them remain in Frank James Park for a good part of the summer, allowing locals and tourists to get a good look at them.

Transformations on the Shore is definitely one of the things that heralds the start of summer in Campbell River!

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

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Room for Recreation

Lots of people move to Campbell River, and the central/north Vancouver Island region, because of the wonderful outdoor lifestyle opportunities. Camping, boating, kayaking, hiking, atv-ing, mountain biking, skiing, hunting, fishing - the list goes on; as a home base, this region offers some of the most accessible outdoor activity area anywhere. Within 45 minutes of town one can be on a ski hill, at a beach, enjoying a lake, fishing a river, camping in a forest, or exploring the ocean and islands off shore.

With all that recreation, however, comes equipment. And if you are moving here to take advantage of the great outdoors, thinking about where you are going to keep your equipment is important.

Are you thinking of downsizing so you can spend time RVing? Then you need to have somewhere to store your RV. Coming here to fish on the ocean or lakes? Will you have a boat and if so, where will you keep it? Skis, ATVs, mountain bikes, kayaks - all need a place to sit when not in use.

Listings in this region should tell you if RV parking, extra outdoor space and good storage space is available. Most properties allow these types of outdoor items, although there are still some neighbourhoods that do not, so check if there are any covenants on the title restricting property use.

When you come to the area, come prepared to take advantage of all it offers and make sure your home allows you to easily access what you need. Whether that means a sturdy pair of walking shoes or a state-of-the-art RV beside the house is completely up to you!

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

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Top 5 Summer Beaches on Vancouver Island

Summer on Vancouver Island is generally warm, sunny and dry – perfect beach weather. This top 5 list is for beaches outside of Victoria that are perfect for summer relaxing.

·         Rathtrevor: This stretch of beach in Parksville is popular with tourists and locals alike, and big enough that there is room for everyone. At low tide the sandy beach stretches for miles. This is the site of one of the province’s most popular provincial parks, Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, as well as home to numerous resorts. No dogs are allowed on the beach in the summer months, so don’t bring Fido.

          Chesterman Beach: Tofino and Long Beach on the west coast of the island have many beaches to choose from, but Chesterman is a favourite with the locals and for good reason. With two beach fronts it is easy to be protected from any wind and to choose what wave action to play in. Both sides are nice and sandy, and the large space where the two beaches join gives lots of room for play.

      Saratoga:  Just north of popular Miracle Beach, Saratoga Beach is home to small resorts and RV campgrounds, as well as the popular Pacific Playgrounds Resort and Campground. Another sandy stretch, Saratoga has stunning views of the mainland coastal mountains and is great for a swim when the tide is coming in over the warm sand.

·         San Josef Bay: At the top of the island in the Cape Scott Provincial Park, San Josef is a walk-in beach well worth the easy 40 minute walk on good trails. With an interesting forest environment through the trails leading down to the marshy tidal area of the San Josef River, the beach itself is a shock with its stretches of sand broken only by amazing rock formations. This is a remote area, so the beach is never busy (although locals from Port Hardy do like to come there on sunny days).

·         China Beach: West of Sooke at the bottom of the island, China Beach is another one that requires a short hike to reach. It is well worth it though, with a long stretch of sandy beach, amazing views, and even a waterfall at one end of the beach close to the day use trail. This is also the head of the Juan de Fuca multi-day hiking trail. There is a small campground at China Beach, separate from the day use area.

These are all sandy beaches great for summer fun. Do you have a summer favourite?

It’s a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Be Prepared!

Many of the properties we market are remote, and we love them as do our clients. They are accessed via Forest Service Roads, private gravel roads, water, and long stretches of unserviced highway. There is often no cellular service, and certainly no wi-fi. So if you are going to travel in these regions remember the number one rule: Be Prepared.

gravel road

blown tire

Have a spare tire! In addition, a shovel to dig out (from dirt or snow), a mat to lay down on when you look under the vehicle, and a vehicle that can withstand scrapes from overgrown shrubs and trees are all assets. Remember that having warmer temps in town does not mean there won't be snow on the ground in the more remote areas. For some areas, a saw to take apart small windfall that's across the road could be useful.

yup, that's broken

Make sure people know where you are going and your approximate time of return. Letting people know your route ahead of time is also a good idea. We always ask people who want to just go look at a property on their own to tell us when they return. Have good maps with you so you can identify where you are, especially if you need to walk out to a more main road for assistance.

stuck in the snow

A first aid kit is important. Extra food and water as it may take longer than you'd expect. Good footwear. Warm clothes and a rain coat (even in the middle of summer) as the weather can change quickly on the coast! And for those of you who prefer the comforts of home, a spare roll of toilet paper is nice.

lots of water on hand

We love the coastal wilderness we are surrounded by, and if you are prepared then enjoying it and exploring it can be a great way to spend time.

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

Thursday, 6 June 2019

The Due Diligence, or Conditional, Period and Inspections

You've found your dream property, you've had a look at it and you've had your offer accepted. What comes next?

There is a lot of paperwork involved with buying property, but there is also a lot of due diligence involved. Whether the property is local or remote, residential or recreational, there are things about the property that you may want to have checked and/or verified before you commit completely to purchasing. These items would have become conditions in the purchase contract, and there would be a time frame included for completing these conditions.

Due to the diverse range of properties we sell in the BC Oceanfront office at Royal LePage Advance Realty, we have a wealth of resource information when it comes to the various inspections a property may require and who might be available to perform those inspections.

These could be:
  • For properties that aren't on a city sewer system a septic inspection could mean having someone come out and check the system, as well as verifying with the local health authority that the system has a valid permit.
  • For properties that aren't on city water, a water inspection insuring that water lines, wells or other domestic water sources are all in healthy, working order.
  • Building inspections, for all properties with improvements on them. If wood stoves are involved then certain certifications (WETT) are required of the building inspector so they can also check the wood stove system.
  • Docks and moorage for oceanfront properties, to insure all is in safe, working order.
  • Electrical systems - this can require an electrician for a basic wired system or an alternative energy systems company for off-grid power systems.
These are just some of the onsite inspections our office arranges for clients. Many of these require Ed or Shelley's attendance, and some properties can require several days of inspections depending on the complexity of the systems.

When you work with the BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team, you are benefiting from a group experienced with the logistics and inspections required for all types of properties - and we put that expertise to work for you.

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

Thursday, 30 May 2019

BCO Coastal Gems: Coal Harbour

Coal Harbour sits at the northwest end of paved road on Vancouver Island, about 20 minutes from Port Hardy. It is the access point for Quatsino Sound and a popular launch for those heading out to explore the myriad of waterways in the region.

 During World War II Coal Harbour was a Canadian Air Forces base for Pacific seaplane patrols, and some of the buildings are still in use today. After the war many of the buildings were bought by BC Packers, and it became a whaling station. It was Canada's last whaling station to cease operations, closing in 1967. From the 1970s to 1996 a near by copper mine brought more business into the community.

Since the closure of the mine, Coal Harbour has become a bedroom community for Port Hardy as well as a launch point for fishermen, boaters and kayakers looking to explore Quatsino Sound and the open waters of the Pacific. There is also seaplane service offering flights to west coast fishing lodges and various work camps as well as some of the water access coastal communities, such as Quatsino.

Quatsino First Nations operates the marina in the community, where there is moorage, fuel, showers and a laundromat. There is also a government dock.

Coal Harbour is a pretty little community and with paved road access from Port Hardy and the rest of Vancouver Island, it is the ideal end of the road before getting on the water.

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

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Overnight Hiking on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is renowned for water-based recreation and exploration, but there is also a lot of land-based recreation available. The island has such a variety of ecosystems that someone looking for a multi-day hike adventure has many choices. 

You want mountains? Head to Strathcona Park where you will find a number of over-night or longer hikes that will take you to a number of iconic mountains in the park, such as Mt. Albert Edward.

Strathcona Park

Looking for southern rugged shores? Head to the Juan de Fuca Trail.

The West Coast Trail is a world-famous trail that requires signing up to a waiting list at least a year in advance to even get to hike it.

Looking for remote? Head over to Nookta Island and the multi-day trail there. Or drive to the northern tip of the island and hike the Cape Scott Trail, along boardwalks and mud, and then move onto the North Coast Trail which extends from the Cape Scott Trail.

Cape Scott

Want to add some canoeing into the hiking adventure? Della Falls, Canada’s highest waterfall, is the spot for you.

There are many more that can be done by pushing in one long day or split more comfortably into two days. The island is absolutely the place for outdoor adventuring of all kinds, including serious hiking.

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

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Exploring The Discovery Islands: Teakerne Arm Provincial Park

Tucked into a cove midway up the side of West Redonda Island hides a little gem. A dock directs boaters to Teakerne Arm Provincial Park, where a trail along beautiful mossy bluffs leads to the stunning Cassel Falls, a wide expanse of water tumbling straight down into the ocean.

Shelley and her husband were out exploring the other week-end and took a great video tour from the park!


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

Thursday, 9 May 2019

BCO Coastal Gems: Port Hardy

Port Hardy, with a population of approx. 4000, is the largest coastal community on North Vancouver Island. The community embraces a strong First Nations culture and also recognizes a past rich in resource-based work. It is now best known as a tourism and transportation centre.

The community is a gateway to Cape Scott Provincial Park as well as to the diverse waters of Johnstone Strait.

Visitors enjoy the beauty of Storey’s Beach, an expansive sandy and pebble beach just south of town. The seawall along Hardy Bay is also a great way to enjoy the beautiful views.

Recognized as having some of the most spectacular underwater scenery on the Pacific coast, the waters around areas like Stubbs Island, Christie Pass and Quatsino Narrows attract divers from all over the world, who see an array of interesting marine species as well as shipwrecks and sunken cargo ships.

Port Hardy serves as a transport hub for the BC Central Coast region and is the terminal for the BC Ferries Inside Passage route to Prince Rupert.

The town offers a wide range of amenities including shopping, hotels, marine services, a full recreation/community center, seaplane base and more. Just minutes away is the Seven Hills Golf and Country Club.  

Spectacular mountain views, large expanses of natural wilderness areas and miles of undeveloped coastline are readily accessible and combine to create an ideal setting for a full range of outdoor activities, from sports fishing & boat cruises to wilderness hiking.

Marine recreation opportunities for visitors include fresh and salt-water fishing, world class caving, underwater diving and ocean kayaking and canoeing. A kaleidoscope of colourful marine life abounds in the waters around northern Vancouver Island.

Port Hardy is definitely a place to visit and use as a base to explore more of the North island region. The drive from Campbell River to Port Hardy on Highway 19 takes 2.5 to 3 hours.

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

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Flushing or Not - Getting Rid of the Waste

One of the many things that need to be considered when looking at a remote or recreational property outside of municipal boundaries is how septic waste disposal happens. There are many options, and each has its own merits.

Indoor plumbing is generally an option, but it can be costly. All properties who choose to have indoor plumbing, and are not on a municipal waste system, are supposed to have a permitted system, which means installation and inspection by a professional. In our region this is covered by the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA). You can find more information about regulations for septic systems at the VIHA site here.

Many of the systems available still require pumping and disposal of the waste from a holding tank. These can be great options for those living on larger islands where pumping services are available (such as Quadra, Cortes or Gabriola); however not such a great option for many recreational and more remote properties. There are also filtration systems and outflow systems, all of which direct the waste somewhere else (such as gravel fields or in some cases directly out to bodies of water).

For most people when they think of cabins and remote properties, the traditional outhouse comes to mind. These are still very popular and common, and once established require little more than routine maintenance. Outhouses can be fun to decorate and they can range from incredibly rustic to quite fancy.

There are three waterless options that property owners can consider. These can be inside a cabin or in an outhouse-style building.

*Composting Toilets. These are toilets that use aerobic processing through composting. This is a controlled composting system that protects the surrounding environment. These are popular systems and readily available in many countries. Here is some more explanation on how they work:

*Incinerating Toilets. As the name implies these toilets burn the waste. This can be done in a few ways depending on the system's design but generally the waste is reduced to an ash in a holding tank and then can be safely disposed of. This is an information sheet from 1999 created by the EPA in the US, all about incinerating toilets:

*Evaporating Toilets. These systems actually dry-out the waste and create a sterile, compact waste that can be safely disposed of in the trash system. There are both passive systems that require no outside electricity and systems that do require some energy input. Evaporating toilets are very low maintenance.

There are solutions for every budget and every lifestyle!

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

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Accessing Remote Recreational Properties

"So, how long does it take to drive there?" "Can I take the ferry there?"

BC Oceanfront transportation

If there is one thing we know at the BCO office, it's that remote properties mean different things to different people. Whenever someone tells Ed they are looking for remote property, the first thing he works to clarify is just how remote they mean.

Bute Inlet

Phillips Arm

BC Central Coast properties, such as Jervis Inlet, Bute Inlet or Phillips Arm, are logistically the most isolated. These are water access only properties, which can be reached by boat or float plane. While there may be some logging roads in the vicinity, there is not any possibility of road access from an urban area to anywhere near the property. If you own your own boat or float plane, then getting there is relatively straight-forward. Otherwise there are water taxis and float plane charter companies that can provide transportation - for a fee of course.

float plane charter

Many other properties, although in a more populated area, are still water access properties. The Discovery Islands or further north in the Broughton Archipelago on the east side of Vancouver Island and Quatsino or Kyuquot  on the west side of Vancouver Island are examples of these types of properties. In these cases you can often drive to the nearest community and then use a public boat launch to travel by boat. Again there are charter options for all these properties.


Another important factor to keep in mind is that travelling to these properties will be weather-dependent. While coast regulars do get used to travelling in poor weather conditions, there are still days that even charter planes and water taxis can't run. If you are using personal transportation, the weather factor will also depend on the size and type of boat you are using.

Remote properties are enticing and appealing to many people, for many different reasons. It's important that logistics come into play when actually moving forward on purchasing a remote property, and a major consideration is how you will access the property.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 11 April 2019

BCO Coastal Gem: Owen Bay

In the heart of the Discovery Islands lies the recreation area known as Owen Bay. It is located on the south side of Sonora Island on Okisolo Channel, just above Hole in the Wall. Busby Island, sitting just off shore of Sonora Island, is often included when people are referring to the Owen Bay area.

Owen Bay has a long homesteader history; at one point it was a thriving coastal community of about 1200 people and home to a school and general store. It has evolved into a quiet, coastal vacation and recreation community with a small complement of full-time residents. There is evidence of this long history scattered throughout the area.

Owen Bay has a government dock and local road/trail access for the property owners.

There are several marine parks to enjoy within close proximity, in particular The Octopus Island Group Marine Park is only minutes away. 

Owen Bay offers a number of excellent features. The bay itself enjoys primarily south and west exposure and is one of the best-protected areas from wind throughout the region. At the head of the bay is a large tidal beach that extends for ¼ mile at low tide. There are two creeks, which enter the bay – one of which originates at Hyacinth Lake. Just outside of Owen Bay are the magnificent upper and lower rapids of Okisollo Channel – an awesome display of nature’s power and beauty.  

Traveling to Owen Bay by boat takes a little less than 1 hour from Campbell River and approximately 40 minutes from Heriot Bay on Quadra Island. During the summer months there is regular scheduled water taxi service to and from Campbell River. 

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