Thursday 25 May 2017

Putting Up the Signs

When recreational, remote and waterfront properties are your specialty, all aspects of the job can create challenges. For instance, how will for sale signs get put up and where will they be placed?

Signs are awkward to carry and transport, and the ones we put up on properties have to be big enough to be visible from a distance. Getting them into the boat or truck is one thing, getting them to where they are going to go on the property is another thing altogether!

Signs need to go up at all times of the year, and they need to be sturdy enough and mounted well enough to withstand all types of weather, especially some of the wilder winter weather the BC coast can receive. This adds to the challenge of prepping the sign. It can also mean sometimes replacing signs in the spring!

Ed and Shelley are usually the ones to put up the signs, although they have recruited others to help on occasion. As Shelley says about these outings, "Sometimes it seems to be a comedy of errors - you never have the right supplies no matter what you bring and something always creates a challenge."

"Getting the sign on the right property can be difficult," says Shelley. "There aren't any street numbers on these properties, so good mapping and charts are crucial."

Some properties require travelling to by vehicle and some good trekking to find the right location to place the sign. Up on trees, in clearings and in other places of high visibility are all good options.

The reward in getting these signs out comes when we receive a call in the office from someone who is in a boat or on a remote road looking at the sign and calling to inquire about the property, or they've written the number down and called us when they are back in cell range. (Of course that can also pose challenges for us in the office, as we have a lot of signs out there and telling us it was seen from the water doesn't really narrow it down – and there isn’t a road name to give us more of a clue. “What island were you near?" or "What forestry road were you on?")

Sign placing is just another unique aspect of the BCO office. "It's always interesting, but in the end we get the job done while having fun and being outdoors.”

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

Thursday 18 May 2017

BCO Coastal Gems: Port Hardy

Northern Gateway

Port Hardy, with a population of approx. 4000, is the largest coastal community on North Vancouver Island. The community embraces a strong First Nations culture and also recognizes a past rich in resource-based work. It is now best known as a tourism and transportation centre.

The community is a gateway to Cape Scott Provincial Park as well as to the diverse waters of Johnstone Strait.

Visitors enjoy the beauty of Storey’s Beach, an expansive sandy and pebble beach just south of town. The seawall along Hardy Bay is also a great way to enjoy the beautiful views.

Recognized as having some of the most spectacular underwater scenery on the Pacific coast, the waters around areas like Stubbs Island, Christie Pass and Quatsino Narrows attract divers from all over the world, who see an array of interesting marine species as well as shipwrecks and sunken cargo ships.

Port Hardy services as a transport hub for the BC Central Coast region and is the terminal for the BC Ferries Inside Passage route to Prince Rupert.

The town offers a wide range of amenities including shopping, hotels, marine services, a full recreation/community center, seaplane base and more. Just minutes away is the Seven Hill Golf and Country Club.  

Spectacular mountain views, large expanses of natural wilderness areas and miles of undeveloped coastline are readily accessible and combine to create an ideal setting for a full range of outdoor activities, from sports fishing & boat cruises to wilderness hiking.

Marine recreation opportunities for visitors include fresh and salt-water fishing, world class caving, underwater diving and ocean kayaking and canoeing. A kaleidoscope of colourful marine life abounds in the waters around northern Vancouver Island.

Port Hardy is definitely a place to visit and use as a base to explore more of the North island region. The drive from Campbell River to Port Hardy on Highway 19 takes 2.5 to 3 hours.

Thursday 11 May 2017

Getting a Listing Up and Running

What Happens When BCO Lists My Property?

Once the listing documents are signed a number of things happen in the BCO office. Documents need to be handed in and processed through the real estate systems. This happens generally at Karen’s desk, where she makes sure all the paperwork is accounted for and accurately uploaded into the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board system (and/or another board depending on the location of the property). She also is the one who uploads the property and all its photos and text to the relevant websites (BC Oceanfront, the MLS system, and other regional sites as appropriate).

Once the listing is signed the file then goes on Kate’s desk, where Kate and Ed or Shelley work on putting together the write up for the property. Once that is completed a package is prepared, with mapping that Karen has pulled together during the listing research and any other information deemed pertinent (zoning for example).

Kate also begins preparing advertising text and placing the property into the advertising schedule. We advertise in a number of print publications, and make sure that a property is placed in the appropriate ones to reach the widest audience that may have an interest in that particular type of property.

Signage can be tricky for our out of town listings, but best efforts are made to arrange for signs to be placed at the property. Most of the time this is done by Ed or Shelley on one of their field trips, but sometimes it is done by a third party (in town signs are placed by a local contractor) or even by the property owner.

Once we know everything is up and running on the internet, we send our listing clients an email outlining where the property can be seen online, as well as provide a copy of the information package we have prepared.

All of this takes place within an intense system of checks and balances that have been developed over time, along with time parameters for when these procedures are done.  The BC Oceanfront Team takes pride in the work we do and the comprehensive service we provide.

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

Thursday 4 May 2017

No City Sewer? No Problem!

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 to access an outdoor toilet nor handle the maintenance of an outhouse. There are many other options out there in the world of alternative systems and they are getting easier to find.

A lot 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 also filtration systems and outflow systems, all of which direct the waste somewhere else (holding tanks, gravel fields, or in some cases directly out to bodies of water).

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 ... Live It!