Thursday 22 December 2016

Looking forward to 2017

The last blog post of the year means we look forward to the new year and what it may bring. 

Looking Forward to 2017

Social media has become an important part of everyday business and the BCO Team continues to expand and develop in this area. We enjoy sharing the coastal lifestyle on our Facebook page and now on our new Instragram account.

Client interaction is something we give serious consideration to whenever we review our office procedures. Regular marketing reports, thank you cards and the like are all details that show our clients we are thinking of them and appreciate their business. We encourage our clients to share reviews on Google. Referrals are also always welcome!

For 2017 the recreational and remote property market looks promising and Ed expects that lower inventory available will start putting upward pressure on pricing. The Campbell River market will likely see steady action. This is a desirable community as well as affordable in comparison to the other urban centres on Vancouver Island.

“We are looking forward to another busy, productive year.” – Ed
“I think this year an important focus for the entire BCO Team will be working towards finding that nice balance between work/family/personal interests that makes us all happier and healthier and in the end more productive.” – Shelley

The BCO Team – Ed, Shelley, Kate and Karen – wishes you all a fantastic holiday season and looks forward to working with you in 2017.

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

Thursday 15 December 2016

A Rare White and Sunny Break in December on the Island

After a very wet and grey fall, islanders were accepting that we were likely in for a long, damp winter. However we have recently been surprised by a stretch of first snow and now cold temperatures (thus keeping the snow around). While we aren't really well equipped for snow and ice out here, we are definitely appreciating the sunshine and treasured Vitamin D!

Of course there wasn't much sunshine for the two days that it snowed. Campbell River received up to 18 inches in places (including in Kate's neighbourhood).

The snow may stick around for another week or so, as we are expected to continue with the cold weather. There is even more snow in the forecast for Sunday! After that though it looks like it will warm up and be a more traditional green Christmas on the island.

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

Thursday 8 December 2016

BCO Coastal Gems: Zeballos

Ed and Shelley had the opportunity to take a road trip in to Zeballos this week. With snow capped mountains surrounding the little village, the setting was stunning.

Zeballos is on the west coast of Vancouver Island, accessed by road from Hwy 19 just north of Woss. This is a Forest Service gravel road and can be in varying condition throughout the year.

The community of Zeballos first started with gold miners, and then became a logging hub. Now its biggest draw is tourism - as coastal explorers and fishermen come to visit the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island. There is both fresh water and salt water fishing, as the Zeballos River runs through town.

There are limited services in the community, including a medical clinic, general store, marina and boat fuel sales. In the summer there are a number of accommodation options.

Zeballos calls itself the Golden Gate to the West Coast. It offers access to Nootka Sound and the fishing on the west coast of the island, as well as the provincial parks of the northern Island (Woss, Brooks Peninsula, Cape Scott).

Definitely worth the drive in. Click here for more information: Zeballos.

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

Thursday 1 December 2016

BCO Calendar, Year Two

Creating a calendar was on the list of projects for years, and last year was the first time we put it all together. This year the process was a little easier to go through although we still have divided opinion on choosing the final 13 photos.

last year's calendar and some of this year's options

We make our own calendar because we believe that the places we get to visit and market are some of the most astounding places around. The BC Oceanfront Team loves the coast and we want to share that love in any way we can.

preparing for mail out

We consider the BCO calendars a labour of love, and hope that those of you who receive one enjoy the pictures throughout the year.

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

Thursday 24 November 2016

Vancouver Island Living

Living on Vancouver Island you have easy access to lots of rugged wilderness, large trees, amazing beaches and vast spaces. While these are definitely a big part of the appeal of island living, what people don't realize are just how many amenities Vancouver Island offers as well, making it an ideal place to live with the best of both worlds at your doorstep.

looking across the water to Victoria, from Esquimalt

The four main urban areas on Vancouver Island are (in order of population) Victoria, Nanaimo, the Comox Valley (including Courtenay and Comox) and Campbell River. All of these centres have major hospitals (Victoria has two) and vibrant downtown districts.

Vancouver Island has two universities. The University of Victoria has been around for 50 years and attracts students from across Canada as well as many international students. It is also a popular choice for students on Vancouver Island. The second university is Vancouver Island University, which is based in Nanaimo. It was originally Malaspina College, and in 2008 was granted full university status under its new name. All the urban centres have local colleges as well as private colleges.

The Save On Foods Memorial Center in Victoria regularly features high profile music acts. The MacPherson and Royal Theatres in Victoria and Port Theatre in Nanaimo attract major stage and dance productions, while the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay and the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River provide a nice variety of live entertainment for those communities. Victoria also boasts the world-class Royal BC Museum as well as an art gallery. There are many other places of culture, history and creativity throughout the urban centres and even on the smaller islands near Vancouver Island.

Empress Hotel, Victoria Inner Harbour

Both Victoria and Nanaimo have a number of indoor shopping malls, including The Bay Centre and Mayfair Mall in Victoria, and Woodgrove Centre in Nanaimo - all very popular with island residents. All the urban centres have a wide variety of shopping available.

One of the appeals of living on Vancouver Island is that you really can have it all. Anywhere you live on the island offers amazing coastal beauty, while all the amenities needed or wanted are also available.

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

Thursday 17 November 2016

Remote Property Field Trips

Ed and Shelley ventured out to the West Coast this week to visit a couple of properties. This is definitely a fun part of their job when the weather cooperates, but it also requires a lot of planning and preparation.

For remote properties that can take several hours by boat to get to, answering all the questions they can in the first visit is important. Unlike properties in town or that are easier to access, they cannot go back to the property whenever they want to answer questions. So paying attention to all the details and knowing ahead of time what information is still needed is crucial. Things like power supply, waste water management, house size, moorage, heating, where the key is located, access, etc are all questions they may need to answer.

Before they head to a property the BCO office assistants along with Ed and Shelley have spent time going through information and photos provided by the seller (or sometimes already in our reference files) and have created a list of questions. They have also prepared mapping so that Ed and Shelley can be sure they are at the correct property (these visits are often done when no owners are at the property).

While on site Ed and Shelley try to take notes on everything, taking measurements where needed as well. Another technique is to take photos of all of the infrastructure and anything else they think may be useful (for example the front of a woodstove so we know for sure the maker). These photos won't be used in our marketing but will be kept as reference and used to prepare our marketing materials as well as to answer questions from potential buyers down the road.

Field trip days such as this week's to the west coast can be a nice break from the office, but they are still a lot of work!

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

Thursday 10 November 2016

BCO Coastal 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 logging and fishing centre.

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 ... Live It!

Thursday 3 November 2016

Salmon Spawning Season

When the rain starts to fall in October on Vancouver Island and the rivers are filling up, that is when the salmon arrive in large numbers. Spawning season is well upon us here on the island, with the local rivers being popular with fishermen, photographers, tourists and wildlife - all coming to see the salmon.

Up and down the island school children are going on fieldtrips to the local river or hatchery to get a lesson in salmon lifecycles and the ecology of island forests. Seeing this up close is a wonderful experience and one that forms part of the west coast psyche. 

Walking along the Campbell River in October, especially along the spawning channels which are shallower and narrower than the big river, one doesn't know whether to watch the trail for decomposing fish dropped by bears and birds, or to watch the river in awe as the surviving salmon struggle their way upstream.

The cycle of the salmon has helped create the amazing natural wonder of our rich forests, as their decomposing bodies enhance the soil - nature's best compost. We never take for granted this show that nature puts on - it is just another reason to love living on the island and a great reason to visit in the fall.

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

Thursday 27 October 2016

What Is the Coastal Lifestyle?

At BC Oceanfront, we talk a lot about the coastal lifestyle. For us, a coastal lifestyle means finding the balance between life and work so that we can enjoy to the fullest this amazing place where we get to live.

Campbell River and Discovery Passage

Big Picture, this has meant Ed and Shelley finding a way to get some time away in the summer especially, but really all year round, for fishing/hunting/camping. This may mean one is out of town while the other is covering the office, or it may mean Ed is at his cabin in Quatsino fishing in the mornings and working remotely in the afternoons and evenings.

On a smaller scale, the coastal lifestyle means week-ends outdoors, and often evenings as well. It means stopping and looking out the windows when someone thinks they spot whales, or an interesting boat is going through the passage between Quadra Island and Campbell River.  It means that during client meetings talk about fishing takes as much time as talk about properties. It means Monday morning any one of us, or all four of us, uploading photos of week-end adventures to share on social media. It also means that when Shelley and Ed show clients a property they share in the delight a buyer feels upon seeing the wonder of the coast for the first time. After years of living and working on the coast, that feeling of awe and wonder hasn’t gone away.

Vanisle 360 race from the BCO office window

Discovery Passage

The coastal lifestyle doesn’t mean you just live on the coast. It means every day you appreciate that coast and the lifestyle it allows you to enjoy. It means you relax a little more often than if you lived in the big city, and you get outside.

Walking the Campbell River seawalk

We believe in it, we live it and we love to share it.

It’s a Coastal Lifestyle … Live It!

Thursday 20 October 2016

Arbutus and Garry Oak Eco-Systems on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is home to a number of different eco systems. Some of the most distinctive on Vancouver Island (and the Gulf Islands) are the Garry Oak and Arbutus forests on southern Vancouver Island.

A garry oak in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria

Garry Oak eco-systems are becoming quite rare, and are protected in many places on the southern islands. The system likes dry, partially meadowed areas, often along the seashore or on rocky hillsides. There are a few pockets of this eco-system on some of the more central islands, for example Hornby Island.

Arbutus trees are very common south of Nanaimo but they too have had stress, and in recent years have suffered from diseases that threaten to do serious damage.
Garry oaks and Arbutus along the Westway walkway in Esquimalt

Both of these trees and their respective eco-systems are part of the magic that is the natural beauty on Vancouver Island.

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

Thursday 13 October 2016

Fall River Walking on Vancouver Island

One of the wonderful things about Vancouver Island is that every season offers a different nature show. The Fall happens to be a great time to walk along local rivers. With the beauty of the changing leaves on the trees along the banks of the rivers, the salmon returning to spawn to many of the rivers and the extra water brought by seasonal rain, rivers are the perfect place to be in the fall.

There is a great selection of walks and rivers close to most of the towns and cities on Vancouver Island. Many of them are within minutes of town and are easy to drive to. Some walks are just meandering strolls while others can be quite the hike.

We are expecting a series of storms to hit the island over the next few days. Should make the rivers even better for a visit next week!

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

Thursday 6 October 2016

Weather Watching on Vancouver Island

Fall is well upon us here on Vancouver Island, with the trees quickly changing colour and the mornings being quite cool and damp. While this indicates that the fog and rain and storms are coming, it does not mean the down turn in tourism and adventuring that it once did. These days many people come to the island in the winter, both for the mild climate compared to the rest of Canada and also to watch nature in action.

Fall colours on Quadra Island.

Fall and winter weather is a part of life here on the island, and it can be awesome to watch. Many regions of the island have marketed this, none more so than the west coast through Tofino and Uclulet. However the west coast isn't the only side that gets stormy wet weather.

Campbell River shoreline after a winter storm.

Parksville and Campbell River are two of the communities where one can easily enjoy the wild weather months along the shoreline. With miles of beaches (both sand and rock) and fewer people around, being on Vancouver Island in the fall and winter can be an exciting and invigorating adventure.
Miracle Beach in winter fog.

Vancouver Island really is a year-round destination, and the natural beauty shines in all seasons.

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

Thursday 29 September 2016

Archeological Sites on Properties

Archeological sites are a common topic with coastal properties these days, and even make the news on a regular basis. They can be controversial, but they are an essential part of developing property these days on the coast of BC so it is important to know what needs to be done.

Some properties have already had assessments done and have marked archeological sites on them. Understanding the implications of these sites is important, as an owner, or potential owner, needs to know what can and can't be done with the property.

 You can first determine if there are any known sites on the property by contacting the provincial government through their Archaeology Branch. This is something that we at BC Oceanfront, a part of the Royal LePage Advance Realty team, do on most of our listings. We have found the Arch. Branch to be very easy to deal with, and the forms required are straight forward to fill out. We submit directly from online.

If you wish to build on a property or make major alterations to a property, then an archeological assessment is generally required. Most municipalities and regional districts will require an assessment during the permitting process.

From the Archaeology Branch's FAQ document, these are two things they see as important to property owners: "The current use of the property is seldom affected unless the use involves significant land alteration. A house on a fully developed lot is not affected by overlapping with an archaeological site. An active gravel pit is a concern, because this current use will damage or destroy a site.
New development, such as changing the building footprint, major landscaping, or installation of an in ground swimming pool, will be a concern, because the new activity may damage the archaeological site. When planning for land use change, ensure that a professional consulting archaeologist is part of the planning process. They can determine if the new development will have an effect on the archaeological site.
In many cases, the archaeological site is not within the development zone. As an example, sites on waterfront properties are usually close to the water and are often contained within zoning setbacks set up to protect other environmental values."

Owning property on the BC Coast is a dream for many, and it is important to have all the information on hand when making those dreams reality.

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

Thursday 22 September 2016

Fall/Winter Property Care

Fall is upon us and with it comes the promise of rain and wind and storms. Just like you should clean your gutters, unhook your hoses and put away the patio furniture at your residence, you should prepare your recreational and remote properties for the fall and winter seasons.

Water - if you are not going to be using your property over the winter your water supply should be properly shut down. There is nothing worse than burst pipes in the spring!

General tidy up - make sure all the loose items from summer, such as chairs, tables, planters, tools, etc are put away in a secure place. Winter weather can wreck these items, and winter storms can send them flying.

Clean up - make sure that food stuffs are either well packaged, stored somewhere else or thrown out. Mice love a winter meal! Putting linens, towels, dishcloths, etc somewhere extra dry will help keep mould from growing on damp fabrics.

Lock up - make sure the property is closed up properly. Windows and doors should be latched so wind doesn't blow them open and so that critters can't get in.

Docks - make sure the surface is "gripped" or cleaned so that if someone needs to use the docks they won't slip on the slick surface from all the winter moisture.

Trees, shrubs, etc - now is a good time to prune any dead branches or long branches that are getting too close to buildings. These can come down during winter storms doing a lot of damage with no one around to clean up. Better to deal with it now.

A small amount of time spent shutting down, cleaning up and locking up will save time and possibly money come spring. Time to get it done before the big storms come!

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

Thursday 15 September 2016

A Summer of Islands

Every year in the BCO office it seems some region or type of property is the 'hot' property. One year it might be Quatsino and another year it might be Haida Gwaii. We never know what it will be, but it does provide for some entertaining guessing.

Farquharson Island

This year it seems to have been the year for islands. Private islands make up a small portion of the BCO portfolio but they do attract a lot of attention. The appeal of living on your own island, owning your own private place that way, seems to appeal to many people. Given the logistics of it however, islands can also make people nervous and so don't necessarily move to the short lists of prospective purchases.
Turn Island

We have had a good selection of islands and that means something to offer no matter what people are looking for. It started with the sale of the exceptional Sturt Island last fall. This stunning 85 acre island in the heart of Surge Narrows is one of the most magnificent islands BC Oceanfront has worked with.
Sturt Island

This summer the trend has continued, with the sale of Round Island, North Trail Island and Shewell Island. These three islands are very different from each other and in different locations. In fact the only thing they have in common is that they are private islands.
Round Island

North Trail Island

Shewell Island

At the end of the day, private islands are in fact no different from other recreational properties in that they can be raw land or with improvements, close to amenities or in the middle of nowhere, large or small. It is the emotional and romantic pull that private islands have on our imaginations that make them something special in the world of recreational and remote properties. For that reason, they are one of our favourite properties to sell.

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