Thursday 29 January 2015

What is the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR)?

The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a hot topic in BC. The Agriculture Land Commission (ALC), the body that governs the ALR, defines it as:

"The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. Farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are restricted."
Hornby Island

Recreational properties can be found within the ALR, and it is a good idea to understand what restrictions that places on the property. The ALC website provides clear guidelines in this regard, as well as providing mapping of ALR land in BC.

The ALR protects approximately 4.7 million hectares of agriculturally suitable land across British Columbia, according to the ALC. Buying property within the ALR does not stop one from having a home on the land, it does however restrict what activity the land can be used for.

Sayward Valley
It is also important to note that different municipalities and regions may have zoning bylaws that also affect the land and uses.
Keep in mind that buying property in the ALR means your neighbours are likely in the ALR as well, and may well be engaged in agricultural practises - this could mean all the unique things that are part of farming and agriculture are part of your neighbourhood (e.g. machinery noise, fertilizer spreading, etc).
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 22 January 2015

BCO Coastal Hidden Gems: Minstrel Island

Minstrel Island is situated off the north-west tip of East Cracroft and adjacent to the entrance to world-famous Knight Inlet, a 70-mile long glacial fjord. Located on the southern central BC coast, this area is one of the most spectacular on the mainland coast and offers a great variety of outdoor recreation opportunities such as fishing, shellfish harvesting, wildlife viewing, yachting and kayaking.


Minstrel Island is home to a small community, and has a government dock. There are a number of floating fishing lodges in the vicinity. In the past it was an active centre in the logging and fishing industry.

Just a short distance to the south are the waters of Johnstone Strait and Robson Bight, home to some of the largest populations of resident and migrating orca whales. Lagoon Cove Marina is located a short distance to the east, providing convenient access to fuel and other amenities.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 15 January 2015

No Zoning and the Implications

Many rural properties in BC are excluded from zoning bylaws by their respective Regional Districts and are simply referred to as No Zoning areas on maps. However, if you read the fine print, most Regional Districts will inform you that there are still requirements. This example is taken from the Mount Waddington Regional District site:
"While there is no Building Bylaw in effect for the rural area that requires a Building Permit or Site Permit be applied for and issued for new construction, building construction must meet the requirements of the BC Building Code."

While this may seem to be a bit too much structure for someone who just wants to go build a cabin in a remote location, there are some good reasons to pay attention. And all buildings built in BC are required to meet the BC Building Code.

No matter how we might want our recreational or remote property to stay in the family for generations, sometimes life happens. If you need to sell a property that you have built on within 10 years of the building being completed, you have to have an HPO warranty (Homeowner Protection Office) in order to be able to sell. And they want to see a property built to code. This is becoming more of an issue, as there are properties right now that cannot be sold because they don't meet the HPO requirements.

Insurance premiums are constantly on the rise, and getting insurance for a remote property can be a challenge. Building it to code may help your chances of getting insured.

A lot of the basic Building Code is around safety issues. As the property is in a remote location and likely to be unoccupied at least some of the time, following the code in these instances will help keep the property protected and as safe as possible.


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

Thursday 8 January 2015

Victoria, Vancouver Island

If it weren't for the daily views of ocean it would be easy to forget you live on an island when it's as big as Vancouver Island and there is a city like Victoria on it.
 Looking over Victoria from Mill Hill Park
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and sits on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. the Capital Regional District is made up of a number of communities, including the City of Victoria, that most people refer to simply as Victoria. The population of the Regional District is approx. 350,000.
Victoria Inner Harbour from Esquimalt
Victoria offers everything from a world class museum to high end accommodations, a nationally recognized university, athletics teams, and a climate that is the envy of other cities across Canada. (Residents hold a bloom count in February, tongue in cheek reminding the rest of Canada how lovely it is even in winter in Victoria.) Known as a city that attracts both young and old alike, Victoria offers a charm and lifestyle that cannot easily be found anywhere else.
World famous Empress Hotel, Victoria Inner Harbour
For people who live on Vancouver Island, Victoria offers the amenities and attractions of a big city without having to leave the island. With the Inland Island Highway getting to Victoria is direct from almost anywhere on the island. Whether for shopping, a night on the town or cultural activities such as a concert or show a get away to Victoria is a treat for those who live on the island.

Victoria has a good transit system and is becoming more and more cyclist friendly. It is the perfect blend of small town and big city. As is common with government towns, it boasts a lot of parks and green space including Beacon Hill Park downtown on the water - a popular park for locals and tourists alike.
Gardens in Beacon Hill Park
It's a Coastal Lifestyle .... Pass It On!