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!

Thursday 24 July 2014

Exploring Moorage in BC

An oceanfront get-away, complete with dock for the boat, is a dream of many people. However, many people don't realize that putting in a dock isn't as simply as, say, putting up a fence. There are requirements, applications and permits that must be obtained.

In BC the installation of docks is overseen by the Land Tenures Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Any person wanting to build a dock on any body of water in BC (river, lake or ocean) must apply to this government body. There are specific requirements that must be met and a fee paid to apply. If one is thinking of putting in moorage it requires detailed plans, usually requiring the services of a surveyor, an engineer and/or a professional dock builder.

Other parties also need to be consulted. The Ministry requires that local government be consulted for any local zoning or regulations on moorage and docks. First Nation consultation is required, and the Ministry recommends that applicants start the conversation process with  any local First Nations groups, as this can make the process more streamlined. Finally, if there are any upland properties that will be affected by the proposed moorage then those owners must provide permissions.

Applying for permission for moorage and installing the moorage do not have to happen at the same time. Often property owners will apply for moorage knowing that eventually they want to install moorage facilities, or knowing that it will enhance the selling of their property. Once Specific Permission for Moorage is obtained, it can be transferred to new property owners without them having to go through the approval process, although First Nations consultation is required and the transfer process can take up to 6 months. Specific Permission is the normal approval given for moorage now and has no expiry date once given. One can still get a lease for a set term as well, usually this is for larger, commercial moorage applications. It is important to read the Private Moorage policy to see which one you would be applying for.

Note that moorage buoys are not governed by this policy, they are instead under the jurisdiction of Transport Canada.

Like any other major project, the best advice is do your homework. Talk to the appropriate officials, get recommendations of experts from people who already have docks or know about docks. Make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On! 

Thursday 17 July 2014

Summer Days on the Coast

The west coast of Canada has a reputation when it comes to our climate - mild but wet is the main impression people have. There is a lot of truth in that, for a good part of the year temperatures are mild and it does rain a fair bit. This is a temperate rain forest, after all.

But late spring and into summer, when all is the way it should be, the coast becomes a place of wonder. Long, warm days (average of 20C/68F but can get up to 30C/86F) and dry skies for weeks on end can be the norm. The lakes and beaches become magnets for people looking to soak up some Vitamin D and splash in the water.

One of the nice things about the coast is that, aside from mosquitos in the evenings, there are no where near the bugs that people inland experience in the summer. So one can enjoy the outdoors without constantly flapping at no-see-ums and flies.


The warm dry spells do bring their own issues. Water becomes a concern, as most of communities rely on local lakes and rivers that fill up in the wet winters for their domestic water source. Even those who aren't hooked up to municipal water services start to conserve water, as they watch well levels drop or cisterns run dry, requiring purchases of water. It is generally standard procedure in the summers, at least on the island, that most communities are on water use restrictions. These often are implemented in late May, and address lawn watering, etc. If there is an extended dry spell then further restrictions may be put in place to protect the water resources for fire fighting and municipal use.

Fire bans are another common response to the warm, dry weather. Being surrounded by forest as we are on the coast, dry ground is a concern. Generally a stretch of hot weather will mean the wildfire centre will issue bans on campfires and backyard burning. This can happen at any time in the summer, some years it's not until August but this year a ban was issued today. The only sections where a ban doesn't get enforced is along what is known as the "fog line" along the west and north coasts of Vancouver Island and through Haida Gwaii, which are generally damp with ocean fog even in the summers.

The coast is fortunate to have four distinct seasons, each with its own magic and rhythm. Summer can be spectacular - you really don't want to miss it.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 10 July 2014

BCO Adventures: Alder Bay

One of the joys of living on the coast is exploring the many different areas where one can enjoy the outdoors. Over the Canada Day long week-end Shelley and her family had the opportunity to go experience the delights of Alder Bay and the waters of Broughton Strait.

Alder Bay Resort is just south of Port McNeill outside Telegraph Cove on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The resort has 90 sites, including some tent sites, and has all the amenities one would like to find at a private RV resort. It also has a marina with fish cleaning facilities, perfect for the family up fishing!
The waters around Alder Bay provide ever changing opportunities for exploration as well as some excellent fishing.

Another week-end adventure, just one of the many, many benefits of living on the BC coast and proof that we really do live by our slogan:
It's a Coastal Lifestyle .... Pass It On!

Thursday 3 July 2014

Campbell River Carvings 2014

Campbell River's Transformations on the Shore, commonly known as the Carving Competition, has wrapped up for another year. Every year the Campbell River Shoreline Arts Society hosts this popular event, where carvers spend five days creating art with a chainsaw from a very large chunk of cedar or fir.
The carvers are a mix of amateur and professional from both the island and the mainland. This year there was even one from the east coast of Canada.
Some of the carvings are traditional in nature, while others are whimsical. There are even modern art style pieces once in a while.

Nature themes are strong, but sometimes imagination takes over and myth and magic emerge. Some carvings have a simple varnish, while others are painted.


At the end of the five days prizes are awarded in various categories. The tools and tents are put away and the sawdust piles disappear. Select carvings move from the site quickly - ones that already have a home or intended destination. Others sit down at the park along the ocean for a week or more, allowing locals and tourists to visit and admire them at leisure. The event draws big crowds every year, and never fails to impress. The carvings which live around Campbell River, at various businesses, parks and private residences, serve as a connection to art and community with a west coast flair.

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