Thursday 28 January 2016

The Agriculture Land Reserve in BC

The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is always 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."

Quadra Island

Residential and 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.

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 ... Live It!

Thursday 21 January 2016

Provincial Parks on Vancouver Island

You can't drive more than an hour on Vancouver Island without hitting a Provincial Park, or so it seems. Did you know there are 85 provincial parks on and around Vancouver Island, with another 30 in the Gulf and Discovery Island groups?
Strathcona Provincial Park
Vancouver Island is home to the very first provincial park - Strathcona - which stretches along the centre of Vancouver Island and encompasses a variety of mountains and lakes. Strathcona is a popular destination for wilderness seekers, as it provides two large campgrounds as well as a myriad of hiking trails.
Strathcona Provincial Park
While many of the parks are well known, such as Miracle Beach, Rathtrevor, Little Qualicum Falls and Bamberton, others are often known only to a select few. Parks such as Artlish Caves, White Ridge and Sooke Mountain are not featured in magazines or tourist brochures, but are simply there to be found for those seeking an adventure.
Miracle Beach Provincial Park
Some of the parks are marine parks, encompassing bodies of water that have been deemed worthy of protection. While beaches or small islands may be associated with these parks, generally they are accessed by boat. A few, like Raft Cove, do have trail access but it is not well maintained.
Raft Cove Provincial Park
The numerous parks on the island provide a wonderful opportunity for exploration and speak to the amazing natural beauty of this area.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 14 January 2016

Winter Fishing

The cold and damp doesn't deter the desire to fish, and so winter finds many people out on the water.

January means the arrival of the winter Springs, and salmon fishing off Campbell River is very popular on days that the water isn't too rough. A crab trap or two dropped over the side of the boat on the way out to the fishing grounds is just a good use of time.
Ed fishing for winter Springs.

River fly fishing is also active in the winter months. Good waders and warm boots are a requirement. Steelhead in particular are active in January and February in Gold River, the Stamp River and Cowichan River among others.

Lake fishing isn't as common, as many of the smaller lakes are frozen at least at the edges for much of the winter.

For true lovers of fishing, Vancouver Island is a year-round paradise.

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

Thursday 7 January 2016

BCO Coastal Gems: Winter Harbour

On the north-west tip of Vancouver Island sits the community of Winter Harbour. Renowned for access to amazing west coast fishing, this small village is home to about 20 full-time residents yet services hundreds of people during the fishing season. Well-protected moorage, services in the village, and (gravel) road access make this a popular choice with fishermen and adventurers looking to access the northern west coast of Vancouver Island.

The boardwalk adds a charm to this village, and is a nice walk. It's also a great spot to watch the boats or just look out over the water. There is a nice walking trail in the village as well. Winter Harbour has its own Post Office, and a small general store. There are a number of fishing charter companies that base out of Winter Harbour, and the docks do get busy in the summer.

Winter Harbour is a great place to visit while exploring Northern Vancouver Island, providing vistas that not many people get a chance to see.

Winter Harbour is at the mouth of Quatsino Sound, and is also accessible by boat from Coal Harbour (45 - 60 minute boat ride). The drive in from Port Hardy can take up to 2 hours, and it is advised that you watch for logging trucks!

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