Thursday 18 December 2014

Winter Ready Recreational Properties

The winter storms are coming, and the snow, and that means it's time to winterize! 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 winter.
Winter Harbour, in winter
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, 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! 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.
A small amount of time spent shutting down, cleaning up and locking up will save time and possibly money come spring. It's not too late to get it done before the big storms come!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 4 December 2014

Listing Your Recreational Property

Thinking of listing a recreational property? Here are some tips to make the process go smoothly.

Listing Your Recreational Property
There are many things you as the property owner can do to increase your chances of success with selling your property. Getting it ready for viewing may require a bit of work, but it will pay off with better showings.

Is the entrance clearly marked with identifiers? Are the access routes clear for vehicles to drive along? If the access is by water, is the dock/property easily visible from the water with identifiers? Are there tie-ups available?

While people expect to see some equipment, etc on the grounds, have you cleaned up the extra items? Are they neatly put away, or scattered around the property? A general clean up of the grounds is advised. This includes winter blow-down of branches, etc.

Water Supply
Has the water supply and source been clearly marked? Are there directions for turning on and shutting off the water if required? Has the water supply been cleaned or serviced recently (if so, paperwork stating the details should be provided)?

If there is a residence on the property, has it been cleaned? Are there belongings left out or are they put away? The neater it can be left, the better. Do the doors/windows stick? Are there small repairs or projects that can be finished which will enhance the showings?

Are there loose boards? Do they need to be power washed so they aren’t dirty/slippery? Are there simple repairs that can be done to enhance the showing?

Any outbuildings on the property should be enterable and in a reasonable state of cleanliness.

If you have done work on the property, paperwork providing details of that work is always good to have readily available should people ask. Also any inspection work regarding the property should also have paperwork readily available.

Ed and Shelley have many years of remote and recreational property experience between them, and have a lot of information for both buyers and sellers to consider.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 27 November 2014

West Coast Tuna Fishing

Most people associate tuna fishing with more southern (warmer) waters, but in late August and early September the waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island can warm enough to bring the thrill of tuna fishing to local fishermen.

When they know the time is getting near the messages start. Someone is watching the water temperature sites, and texts and emails fly back and forth between friends and acquaintances, checking to see if the temperatures and conditions are right for a run out to the open water of the Pacific off Vancouver Island.

You can be sure Ed will be out there at least once, more if he can manage it and conditions allow. The thrill of the chase never gets old, and Ed is always grinning when he returns.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 20 November 2014

Nature Lessons at Your Back Door

Vancouver Island is world famous for salmon, and there is good reason for that. Many of the rivers on the island are salmon bearing, meaning that salmon spawn in those rivers. A number of the rivers around Campbell River are salmon bearing, and every fall a walk along the river becomes a lesson in the lifecycle of the salmon.
A shallow tributary of the Campbell River, where the salmon could be both seen and heard as they moved their way upstream. 

Two salmon still following nature's call to spawn in the rocks of the stream bed.

Once done, the fish die on the banks and in the shallows of the river, creating a smell unlike any other.
On the coast nature is often in your face, raw and unfiltered. When the province used the slogan "Super Natural BC" in their marketing a few years back, it was extremely appropriate. It's a big part of what attracts people to the region, and what keeps people here.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 13 November 2014

What Are FINTRAC Forms?

FINTRAC forms have become a standard part of the Real Estate paperwork. FINTRAC stands for Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada. The completion of these documents by realtors and the brokerages they work for is a federal requirement.

According to the government's FINTRAC website: FINTRAC is part of Canada's national initiative to combat money laundering and terrorist activity financing. It is a specialized agency created to collect, analyze and disclose financial information and intelligence on suspected money laundering and terrorist activities financing.

Not only is filling out the documents required for every transaction, the documents need to be witnessed by a professional, in our case either a realtor or a notary/lawyer. A realtor in a cooperating office generally will not charge for this service (so if you are a Royal LePage client you can go to any RLP office to fill out the paperwork) but a notary/lawyer generally will.

The information collected is kept locked away and confidential, by the brokerage office. It does not stay in our files.

For more information on this, please visit the website:
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 6 November 2014

BCO Coastal Gems: Jervis Inlet

Jervis Inlet is the principal inlet of the British Columbia Coast.  It slices through the Coastal Mountain range, narrowly zigzagging over 80 km through stunning granite-walled cliffs and forested mountains. This inlet is the deepest of British Columbia’s Inlets reaching depths of over 720 meters or 2,400 ft. and is located about 95 km northwest of Vancouver The inlet was named by George Vancouver after Rear Admiral Sir John Jervis.

Like elsewhere on the rugged BC Coast, Jervis Inlet was involved in the logging and fishing industry in the 19th and 20th centuries. It also has a history as a seasonal settlement for local First Nations.
Access points and service centers include Egmont providing access to Sechelt and Vancouver as well as Saltry Bay which provided access to the Northern Sunshine Coast and Powell River. Both of these locations are approx. 25miles travel by boat. There are no roadways into Jervis Inlet, this is another of the boat in areas of the coast. The remote location and breath-taking beauty make it a location for outdoor enthusiasts.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 30 October 2014

BCO Adventures Fall Flying

One of the biggest challenges the move to a new company has brought about has been how to address signage. With properties ranging from Victoria to Haida Gwaii, there is a lot of ground to cover to change signs! Add to that the onset of unpredictable, fall west coast weather and you have a good challenge.

This has meant that Ed and Shelley have to take opportunities when they are presented to get on a plane at a moment's notice. Ed was out last week and this week Shelley hopped a flight into Kyuquot. The first attempt was postponed but yesterday, despite the fog and some serious delays, they made it in and back out. And luckily for all of us Shelley had her camera while up in the air.

Another BCO office day - nothing ever typical about it!
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 23 October 2014

BCO Joins Royal LePage

On October 20 Ed, Shelley and the BC Oceanfront office relocated to the Royal LePage Advance Realty offices in Campbell River. This was a big move, a big decision, and an exciting time.

Royal LePage is a national real estate company, representing over 15,000 agents in 600 offices from coast to coast. As a franchise, Royal LePage Advance Realty in Campbell River is locally owned and dedicated to the community, but offers the support and strength of a national company. In turn this provides BC Oceanfront with a larger platform to network and market our unique coastal properties.

A.E. LePage established his real estate company, ‘A.E. LePage – The Bungalow Specialist’ on July 2, 1913. He was a pioneer in the business of real estate, whose innovation and belief in customer service helped set the standard for the industry.

To see more milestones regarding Royal LePage, check out the 100 year time line on their website:

The foundations of professionalism, principled conduct and the highest moral and ethical standards remain Royal LePage’s hallmarks today.

BC Oceanfront is excited to have joined with this national company as well as this Campbell River office, and looks forward to a prosperous relationship well into the future.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

The office when we were ready for business Monday morning. Still a few things to set up, but we hit the ground running!

Thursday 16 October 2014

BCO Coastal Gems: Sayward

Located on the east coast of north Vancouver Island, BC, the logging community of Sayward has a population of approximately 410 and is just 45 minutes away from Campbell River and all the facilities and shopping one would require. The small settlement community of Kelsey Bay is located 1 mile from Sayward and enjoys a resident population of approximately 120.

This picturesque area has an abundance of wildlife, fresh, & salt-water fishing. Outdoor recreation includes caving, kayaking, hiking, whale watching, wildlife viewing, and exhilarating river rafting on the Salmon River. Robson Bight Provincial Park - west of Sayward in Johnstone Strait, provides ocean adventurers with a sure thing when it comes to whale watching.

Travel time along the Island Highway 19 to Sayward is under one hour from Campbell River in the south, and about 2 hours from Port Hardy to the north. Logging is the primary industry in the area around Sayward and Kelsey Bay, but tourism continues to grow and gain in importance. 
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 9 October 2014

Archeological Sites

Archeological sites are a hot topic in the news these days. 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 assessments 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.

If you wish to build on a property or make major alterations to a property, then an archeological assessment is generally required. You can first determine if there are any known sites on the property by contacting the provincial government through their Archaeology Branch. Most municipalities and regional districts will require an assessment during the permitting process.

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 ... Pass It On!

Thursday 2 October 2014

West Coast Wildlife

It's been quite a summer on Vancouver Island, which means Ed has had some good days out on the west coast of Vancouver Island. And spending time on the West Coast means seeing interesting wildlife! These are just a few of our favourites from this year.

Rissos Dolphin

Sea Otter


Deep sea Mussels

What a magical place we live, work and play in.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 25 September 2014

Island Eco-Systems

It's not only the beaches that are different from one end of the island to the other, there are also different eco-systems in place. One of the most distinctive on Vancouver Island (and the Gulf Islands) is the Garry Oak and Arbutus forests on southern Vancouver Island.

A garry oak in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria

Garry Oak eco-systems are becoming quite rare, and are protected in many places on the southern islands. The system likes dry, partially meadowed areas, often along the seashore or on rocky hillsides.

Arbutus trees are very common south of Nanaimo, but they too have had stress on their eco-systems, and in recent years have suffered from diseases that threaten to do serious damage.
Garry oaks and Arbutus along the Westway walkway in Esquimalt

Both of these trees and the eco-systems they live in make Victoria a very special place to visit and walk in, and create the magic that is all part of Vancouver Island.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 11 September 2014

BCO Coastal Gems: Sonora Island

Sonora Island is one of the larger islands in the Discovery Islands group, which is nestled between the central east coast of Vancouver Island and the BC mainland. The region is known for its waterways, islands and beaches and is a very popular boating destination. There is no ferry service to Sonora Island, so anyone visiting arrives by private boat or float plane.

There is a large and popular resort on Sonora, as well as a popular recreational vacation area in Owen's Bay, where there is a Government Dock. Water taxis run out to the island regularly in the summer months.

The waters surrounding Sonora are well known for tidal activity, and have become a regular part of local water tours.

Two marine parks are close by, including Thurston Bay Provincial Marine Park on the west side of the island and Octopus Islands Marine Park. These parks attract kayakers to the region.

Sonora is a typical, rugged coastal island, with peaks topping 1200m as well as deep forested regions and rocky shores. It also has some beautiful beaches and wonderful protected bays.

Definitely a place to explore.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 4 September 2014


We get asked a lot in this office about non-residents buying property. This article, on the BCREA website, provides a quick and concise overview.

We work with clients from all over the world and are happy to do so. Who wouldn't want to live here?
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 28 August 2014

Choosing Your Recreational Property

Ocean, lake or forest? Water or road access? Rugged or pastoral? Small island or big island?

These are just some of the considerations that go into deciding where to buy a recreational property, and the reason that the first thing Ed does is have a conversation about a client's likes/dislikes, dreams and future plans. Each person who dreams of a recreational property has a different idea of what recreational property is, and part of the job at BCO is to determine the right property for each client.

Some of the things one needs to consider:
1. What type of recreation do you want to do? Are you a fisherman who wants an ocean cabin where you can readily access your favourite fishing holes? Are you a hiking family who wants to be closer to great hiking trails and park regions? Do you want to be out in a canoe or water skiing on beautiful lakes? Or do you just want to get away from the bustle of daily life and unwind in a beautiful, natural setting?

2. How can you access the property? Do you have a boat for water access only properties on lakes or islands? Do you have a truck or four-wheel-drive vehicle to access remote properties down rough dirt roads? Or would you prefer easy drive-to locations?

3. What sorts of amenities do you want in your recreational property? Running water? Electricity? Heat? Plumbing? Or are you wanting more rustic, such as an outhouse and water from a creek? Are you willing to do propane appliances and generators or do you want to be in the power grid? These types of properties are all possible, so knowing what you want to deal with and what you are comfortable with is important to insure long term happiness and satisfaction.

4. How long do you want to travel to get there? Are you ok taking a ferry or two? How long a drive do you want to make, and on what kinds of roads? If it is too far away will you use it less, or is it the distance that makes you want to go there even more?

A good recreational property can bring joy and contentment, especially if it is purchased after careful consideration of one's lifestyle, desires and needs. At the BCO office those are some of our favourite conversations to have, as we then get to introduce clients to a property we feel confident they will really love.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 21 August 2014

BCO Coastal Hidden Gem: Quatsino Village

Quatsino Village is in Quatsino Sound on the north-west coast of Vancouver Island. It is a boat access only community with 40 permanent residents, and many more seasonal residents. It is an older community, having been around for over 100 years and at one time was the customs entrance for the area.

The Village has worked hard to maintain some of the heritage of the area and has a small museum as well as an old church still in use.

An unusual feature of the Village is that it is strung out over approximately 16km along the shore line which encompasses a couple of small bays. There is a road that runs along the length of most of the Village, and many residents barge over trucks or ATVs to get around.

Like most west coast villages, Quatsino is best known as a fishing hub. However there is much more to offer, including spectacular Colony Lake and lots of great beach combing. The Village has the advantage of having power and decent cell reception, making longer stays easy. It also makes preserving the fish catch easier as well!

Quatsino just happens to be Ed's favourite area to spend time. It provides great access to the open West Coast for outside fishing, as well as beautiful areas to explore and harvest (both fish and crabs, prawns, etc) in Quatsino Sound and its various waterways.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 14 August 2014

Changes in the BCO Office

We are a very close group here in the BCO office, as any of you who have visited us in person can attest to. We work in close quarters, and tend to know a lot about each other. We like to consider ourselves a family of sorts.

Well, one of our family members is leaving home this week. Louise, who has been a part of the BCO team for 10 years, is moving in a new direction with her career and going back to school. We are all sad to see her go, although we are excited for her as she embarks on this new journey. Our office will be quieter and calmer without her mischievous sense of humour, her love of flirting and her crazy surprises.

With Louise leaving we are welcoming a new member to our team. Jennifer has been in the office for the past six weeks, shadowing Louise and trying to absorb her tasks and knowledge as quickly as possible. A tall order!

Today we are heading out on Ed's boat to fish and laugh together, and wish Louise well. Tomorrow is Louise's official last day.

We will miss her.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 7 August 2014

Eco Gifts

While most people know that you can donate property to a charitable organization, not everyone may now 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.

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 ... Pass It On!

Thursday 31 July 2014

Coastal Beaches

A beach for every taste, that's what Vancouver Island and coastal BC offer.

The west coast of the island, along with certain pockets of the east coast and the smaller islands, provides amazing sand beaches. Whether it is Cadboro Bay in Victoria, Long Beach in Tofino, Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville, Tribune Bay on Hornby Island, Saratoga Beach in the Comox Valley or Raft Cove on the north end of the island, the sandy beaches of the region provide miles of soft sand to walk and play on.
Raft Cove

Cobble and small rock beaches are common as well, especially on the central to northern parts of Eastern Vancouver Island. These may have areas of sand at low tide, known sometimes only to the locals, but for the most part they are made of small rock and stone. These are great beaches for finding crabs, skipping stones into the water and for having beach fires.
Campbell River Shoreline

Sandstone beaches are spread out along the island, tending to occur in pockets. There are many in and around Nanaimo and the gulf islands, such as Gabriola Island. These beaches can create amazing caves and fun places to explore and hide. The sandstone creates amazing tidepools as well as flat spaces for warming up after a swim.
Gabriola Island sandstone

Of course, the wildest beaches are those that aren't really even beaches, just rugged rock leading into the forest. These are tough to visit with anything but a boat, and often don't provide space to walk about. But they are spectacular to look at!
Phillips Arm

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ...Pass It On!