Thursday 24 September 2015

Meeting Your Communication Needs on a Remote Property

Twenty years ago, or even ten years ago, communication on a remote recreational or residential property was a non-issue. If the phone company didn't go there, you didn't have service and that was that. People who lived or vacationed on these properties did so knowing they were cutting themselves off from the rest of the world when it came to day to day communications.

Today, with smart phones and cell service and high speed internet filling every part of our lives, fewer people are willing to accept a complete cut off from their daily lives of communication. While there are still some who simply want to get away from it all, for many people getting away from it all no longer means being completely out of touch. While they want the peace and serenity and sense of getting away that these types of properties provide, they don't want to be cut off from the world at large.

Today there are options for those wanting to stay in touch. 
~Satellite phones provide phone service where cell phones can't. Sat-fi devices even allow you to use your wi-fi enabled devices to text, call and email over satellite networks. For example: 
~There are some internet companies that specialize in providing service to places no other company reaches. Xplornet specializes in providing reliable high speed internet to rural locations in Canada.
~Satellite TV companies such as Shaw Direct can provide service in many remote recreational locations.
~Some smaller communities in places where regular service doesn't always work (such as Sayward on northern Vancouver Island) are providing their own internet services. 

Communications services can allow people the freedom to escape to a remote recreational or even remote residential property while still being able to connect with their lives when needed. For some people it may mean longer vacations, or the ability to work from a home that is not in an urban centre. 

Of course, you can still go with no communication. It's all about choosing how your coastal lifestyle will look and work for you.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 17 September 2015

BC Coastal Gems: Sointula and Malcolm Island

Sointula is a small community on Malcolm Island, off the north-east coast of Vancouver Island. It is reached by ferry from Port McNeill. The town is vibrant with colourful buildings, murals and shops and it is easy to walk around.
The village was originally founded by Scandinavian settlers looking for a secure place to create a Utopian society. After world wars and personal disagreements, the settlement dispersed. 

By then fishermen and other resource workers had joined the town, resulting in a varied and rich history for the community.
Pulteney Point lighthouse is just a short drive to the north tip of the island. As soon as you are away from the town all the roads on the island are gravel, but they are in fairly good shape. The lighthouse offers a great vantage point to look at northern Vancouver Island as well as the narrow waterways to the north.

Malcolm Island's beaches are wonderful for walking, and show the exposure of the coast to the winter storms. Views from the east side of the island look out over the BC mainland and the Broughton Archipelago, where one can watch the marine traffic go by.

Of course, one of the main reasons people come to the area now is to see whales. There are lots of opportunities to go on whale watching boats, but often the whales can be seen from the shore. There are certain areas on the north-east side which are commonly frequented by the whales at different times of the year, including some beaches where the whales are known to gather and rub along the cobble stones (as in the pictures above taken at Bere Pt Regional Park).

A gem of a place; one that adds some magic into the lives of all who visit.

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

Thursday 10 September 2015

BCO Coastal Gems: The Discovery Islands

The Discovery Islands are a group of islands in the narrow Inside Passage between eastern Vancouver Island and the remote BC central mainland coastline. First the home of many First Nations groups, in the past hundred or so years many other groups of people have explored the islands, some staying to put their own marks on the place.

The Discovery Islands are made up of a number of islands. The two most well known of these are Quadra and Cortes. These also have ferry service originating in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. Due to the easier access, these are the most populated of the islands as well. Some of the other islands, such as Sonora and Stuart, have become popular resort and vacation destinations, with many private retreats. 

The islands are inhabited by an eclectic mix of environmentalists, homesteaders, resource workers and independent thinkers. In addition, the summer population more than doubles with adventure seekers, nature lovers and boaters all converging on the islands during the warmer months.

The diverse population is attracted to the islands specifically because of the diverse nature of the place. From the amenities and services found on Quadra and Cortes to the remote shores of East Thurlow, the islands offer an escape from the urban environment. 

With short distances between the islands and the communities of both Campbell River and Powell River near by the Discovery Islands provide an easily accessible get away. The many smaller islands which dot the waterways add to a sense of adventure and escape. So many places to explore!

Add in amazing fishing, diverse wildlife and resident whale populations, and it becomes evident that the islands really do offer something for everyone.

The region is popular as a repeat destination and for recreational properties because it has so much to offer, keeping people coming back time and again.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 3 September 2015

Dealing with Waste on a Remote Property

A reprint from an earlier blog post, with some additions, as many people have asked about this topic recently.

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.

Waterfront properties have the option of an outflow system, with waste being piped out into the water. This is a controversial option on the coast, however it is still common practise on many islands. Outflow systems can be as simple as an outhouse with pipes flowing downhill, or as complex as a full waste management system with a pump to run grey water.

There are also three 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!