Thursday 26 February 2015

Strata is Not Just For Condos

Most people associate the term Strata with condos and strata councils. But strata can have a place even in remote and recreational properties.

When developers purchase a large piece of land and decide to subdivide it into smaller lots they can create individual fee simple lots, just like your average residential lot. Or they can create what are called Bare Strata Lots.

Chatham Channel Lots 

As the name implies, these lots have no buildings on them (thus bare land). The subdivision will have been created with a common property that is shared equally among the property owners. Some developers will create strata rules (Bylaws), some will not. A common access point is also included in the development.

It is good to be aware of what type of title you are looking at, as strata can mean additional fees or rules. It can also however mean access to some larger common areas which can be an attractive bonus. Also fee simple non-strata remote properties  can be governed by a development plan which can restrict what is allowed on the property (again just as residential properties can be).

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

Thursday 19 February 2015

Moorage in BC

(Re-posted from summer 2014)

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 simple 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 12 February 2015

Commuting, Coastal Style

When your market is remote properties, you have to know how to access them. And often on the coast that means taking a boat or sea plane to a property. This past week Ed has been showing properties and has used both boat and float plane to get there. While sometimes he will use his own boat, a lot of the time he relies upon water taxi to get himself and clients to the property.
 water taxi out of Campbell River

Water taxis can be found in most coastal towns and cities along both Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, ferrying people and goods around where the BC Ferries don't venture. Whether it's a large charter like the Lady Rose into Barkley Sound and Bamfield and the Uchuck into Nootka or a small, private boat run by a local and offered as a service to the occasional visitor, water taxis are indispensable along the BC Coast.
Uchuck in dock

Rates vary greatly, depending on time of year and distance. There is sometimes a different stand-by rate if you want the taxi to wait for you (not always possible on larger boats or with regular service). In the summer you are more likely to be able to find a regular service between the popular smaller island regions.
water taxi out of Sidney
It's a Coastal Lifestyle .... Pass It On! 

Thursday 5 February 2015

BCO Coastal Hidden Gems: Cortes Island

Cortes Island is a perfect example of west coast island living. As one of the Discovery Islands off the central eastern coast of Vancouver Island it is popular with boaters and vacationers alike. As one of the two Discovery Islands with ferry access, Cortes also attracts a fair number of people year-round, and has a permanent population of about 1000 people. The relaxed, rural lifestyle attracts a cross-section of society, from old school hippies to new age environmentalists, from burned out city executives to small scale farmers - and everything else in between. There is a strong First Nations history and presence on the island as well as a more recent resource-based history and on-going presence.

The island is 130 square kilometres and boasts some beautiful beaches as well as gorgeous lakes. Smelt Bay Provincial Park is a popular summer camping destination. There are three main population areas on the island, where one can find a public school, a medical clinic, a library branch and small community amenities.
Cortes Island is considered a major gateway to the very popular Desolation Sound region; well known for its waterfalls, secret coves, rock cliffs and tranquil natural beauty with plenty of opportunity for wildlife viewing, including bald eagles and bears. For the outdoor enthusiast it is truly one of the best jumping off points for a variety of outdoor activities including fishing, prawning, kayaking & hiking. This area enjoys a nice temperate climate and the waters here are warmer than in most other areas on the coast.
Access to Cortes Island is a 45-minute trip via regularly scheduled ferry service from Heriot Bay on Quadra Island.  Quadra Island is a short 10-minute ferry ride from Campbell River.  During the summer months there is also regular float plane service from Vancouver and Seattle directly into Cortes Bay.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!