Thursday 30 April 2015

BCO Coastal Gems: Tofino

Tofino is a magical place - a blend of old-school charm and new luxury; of hippies and yuppies, surfers and fishermen; of long-time residents and visiting tourists. Somehow it takes all the opposing factors and blends them into one captivating place.

With a permanent population of approximately 1800 and a transient population of many times that, Tofino offers all amenities and services one could need. It also offers a plethora of outdoor activities, from surfing and kayaking to whale watching and wilderness tours. There are also numerous spas, resorts and fine dining opportunities.

Although many people are drawn to Tofino initially for the Pacific Rim National Park that it neighbours, it soon becomes apparent that Tofino itself also has much to offer. Modern west coast architecture sits snug to older homes and ramshackle hostels, while a bustling waterfront shows the resource base of the town.

Whether one goes to surf, wander the beaches, or stay in one of the many resorts that dot the shoreline, Tofino quickly reveals a depth of character that enhances any stay.

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

Thursday 23 April 2015

Alternatives for Waste Disposal on Unconventional Properties

More than an Outhouse.

Even with indoor plumbing on a remote property, a conventional septic system may not be an option. While some people are content to turn to the convenience and tradition of an outhouse, not everyone wants the basic hole in the ground. There are many other options out there in the world of alternative systems and they are getting easier to find.

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 that is not the case for many recreational and more remote properties.

There are three other waterless options that property owners can consider.
*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.
*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.
*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.

Living without a regular flush toilet does not automatically relegate one to an outhouse if that is not wanted. There are options out there and doing a little research will lead to suppliers and resources.

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

Thursday 16 April 2015

BC Coastal Gems: Port McNeill

Port McNeill sits on the NE coast of Vancouver Island, and is the gateway service centre for the Broughton Archipelago and Johnstone Strait. With a population of 2500, Port McNeill provides most services and amenities. It is also houses the headquarters for the Mt. Waddington Regional District as well as the ferry terminal for the Sointula (Malcolm Island) and Alert Bay (Cormorant Island) BC Ferries route.
Port McNeill from the air

Port McNeill is a pretty town and attracts a fair number of visitors every year, for fishing, wildlife viewing and boating excursions. It is only 26km north of Telegraph Cove, the world renowned whale watching centre.

Historically Port McNeill was a forestry hub, and to this day the largest employment source is forestry.  The town is home to the world’s largest burl.

bear on the side of the turn off to Port McNeill

From Campbell River it is about a two hour drive along Hwy 19. There is no cell service along the highway after Campbell River, although once in Port McNeill there is reception.

Thursday 9 April 2015

Wells - Water Issues

Dealing with properties outside of an urban centre brings up many questions. One of the big ones we ask/get asked is where does the water come from? The answer can vary from cistern collection, to a water licence on a local creek, to a well.

Wells generally come in two forms - dug wells and drilled wells. A dug well does not mean necessarily dug by hand, a bucket auger may be used for deeper wells. You will often hear Ed or Shelley reference these types of wells as shallow or deep dug wells, meaning of course the depth of the well. Drilled wells are just as they sound, drilled by a machine to reach water.

The level of the underground water aquifer, the type of ground material, and the cost of the project all help determine what type of well will be installed. In BC a well should be installed by a qualified well pump installer, and there are specific rules that should be followed during installation. These rules are set out in the Ground Water Protection Regulations of BC.

Well documentation is something that is very useful to have when it comes to selling a property - well logs, installation, etc - so keep good records if your property has a well!

Just another part of the BCO office workings.

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

Thursday 2 April 2015

Use of Water in BC

Remote properties do not generally tie in to a city water system and so one needs to think about how to collect and use water for domestic purposes. In BC water is often used for power as well, even on small properties. If there is a stream or other ground water source either on or near the property, then there is a possibility of using that water as a resource.

Having water available on your property does not automatically mean it can be used. All ground water use requires a license in the province of B.C. The application process is clear, and the Province will take a number of things into consideration when deciding to grant a license. One of the first things will be to see if anyone else has a license on that source. You can find this out yourself on line here.

Having a water license in place for power or domestic water use is a nice feature for a remote property, as it eases the concern over water resources. One can also apply for a short-term water use permit, for instance to use a local water source while one drills a well. This is a different application from the more permanent license.

The Province of BC has excellent information about this process at the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. That webpage can be found here.

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