Thursday 30 March 2017

BCO Coastal Gem: Owen Bay

In the heart of the Discovery Islands lies the recreation area known as Owen Bay. It is located on the south side of Sonora Island on Okisolo Channel, just above Hole in the Wall. Busby Island, sitting just off shore of Sonora Island, is often included when people are referring to the Owen Bay area.

Owen Bay has a long homesteader history; at one point it was a thriving coastal community of about 1200 people and home to a school and general store. It has evolved into a quiet, coastal vacation and recreation community with a small complement of full-time residents. There is evidence of this long history scattered throughout the area.

Owen Bay has a government dock and local road/trail access for the property owners.

There are several marine parks to enjoy within close proximity, in particular The Octopus Island Group Marine Park is only minutes away. 

Owen Bay offers a number of excellent features. The bay itself enjoys primarily south and west exposure and is one of the best-protected areas from wind throughout the region. At the head of the bay is a large tidal beach that extends for ¼ mile at low tide. There are two creeks, which enter the bay – one of which originates at Hyacinth Lake. Just outside of Owen Bay are the magnificent upper and lower rapids of Okisollo Channel – an awesome display of nature’s power and beauty.  

Traveling to Owen Bay by boat takes a little less than 1 hour from Campbell River and approximately 40 minutes from Heriot Bay on Quadra Island. During the summer months there is regular scheduled water taxi service to and from Campbell River. 

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

Thursday 23 March 2017

Mountains of Vancouver Island and the BC Coast

One of the amazing things about the east coast of Vancouver Island is that you are surrounded by mountains. Whether it is the central coastal mountains across from central Vancouver Island, the Vancouver mountains across from Nanaimo and region, or the mountains of Washington and Oregon across from Victoria (Mt. Baker being the most noticeable of these), the coastal mountains are a strong visual background for the eastern side of the island.

To the west and in the centre of the island are the mountains of Vancouver Island. These slope up from the south through gentler mountains such as Arrowsmith to the steep and imposing mountains found in Strathcona Regional Park, such as Mount Albert Edward and the Golden Hinde. The mountains continue up the spine of the island, again sloping off as they reach the northern end.

The mountains on the island are the source for much of the drinking water on the island and are the birthplace of the majority of the big rivers that Vancouver Island is so well known for. They also split the island and impact the climate from the east to the west coasts. Accessing west coast communities such as Tofino or Port Alberni requires crossing through the mountains, which can of course change your road conditions drastically.

There are two ski hills on Vancouver Island - Mount Washington is well-known as a ski resort and offers both cross country and excellent downhill recreation. Mt Cain is a lesser known ski hill, famous amongst serious skiiers for its west coast powder.

In the summer the mountains are a popular hiking and climbing destination, and Mount Washington offers trails and access for mountain bikers.

As much as the ocean forms the rhythm of life on Vancouver Island, the mountains also are part of the island lifestyle. Even if people never go into the mountains, the fact that they are always there makes them as much a part of an islander's experience as the ocean.

Vancouver Island embraces nature from shore to mountaintop, and it shows.

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

Thursday 16 March 2017

Drinking Water on a Remote Property

For those living in a city or other residential area, domestic water is only really thought about when water restrictions are enacted. Otherwise it is hard to really think about where water comes from, when it is readily available at the turn of a tap.

For those who live outside the boundaries of cities and towns, domestic water can be one of the most important issues when establishing a home. Where will it come from? How will it be used? How much will be needed? All of these questions should be answered when considering a home on a remote or rural property. If the property already has a home in place, prospective buyers should be asking the same questions.

Domestic water outside of city water systems generally comes from three sources: groundwater through wells; surface water through springs, creeks or rivers; and rain water. (There are other options, such as desalination plants if one lives on the ocean or water delivery which many island communities use in the dry summers when wells and cisterns are empty.) Of these three, it is currently the use of surface water that requires a licence to access in BC.

The Water Act of BC defines what licencing is required and what that licence entitles one to. A licence will define where the water may be taken from, how much water will be taken and what the water will be used for.Information on applying for a domestic freshwater licence can be found here:

The BC Government is in the process of evaluating the Water Act and changing the laws to reflect licencing for non-domestic ground water usage. This is expected to become law early this year, and more on that can be found here:

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

Thursday 9 March 2017

Licence Renewal Season is Here

The end of March is definitely the start of spring here on the coast. That's not to say we don't ever have snow in April, as it has happened, but it is obvious when you look around that spring is arriving.

The other thing that the end of March brings is fishing licence renewal. Both salt water and fresh water licences run from April 1 - March 31. Anyone who fishes tidal waters must have a licence on them, regardless of age. A fresh water licence is required by anyone 16 and up.

He had a licence

She had a licence

He did not need a licence

She had a licence

He had a licence

She had a licence

Tidal water licences are regulated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and you can find more information here: Fisheries and Oceans Tidal Licence

Freshwater licences are regulated by the BC Government, and you can find more information here: Fish and Wildlife Freshwater Licence

If you already have a licence, don't forget to renew before April 1!

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

Thursday 2 March 2017

Gifting Property to Charity

While most people know that you can donate property to a charitable organization, not everyone may know that if one chooses and the land qualifies, the gift can be classified as an "eco gift". This comes up in our area occasionally, as much of the land on the coast could be termed ecologically sensitive or near to ecologically sensitive land.

The federal government oversees the process of having a donation declared an ecological gift, and there are regulations and criteria regarding how a property qualifies.

Not only properties can be donated. One can also donate easements and covenanted areas. The donated parcel only needs to meet one of the criterion on the list, although most of them will meet more than one.

According to the federal government, an ecological gift can provide significant tax advantages to the donor and can ensure that a land's biodiversity and environmental value is protected into the future.

For more information, go to the Environment Canada Eco Gifts page:

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