Thursday 22 February 2018

Provincial Parks on northern Vancouver Island

Strathcona Park is the largest park on Vancouver Island and one of the best known. It is central to the island but for southern islanders is often the extent of exploring. However, for the adventurous there are actually many more provincial parks north of Strathcona on Vancouver Island (and still more marine or water-access only provincial parks for those who want to get out on the water).


At the top of the island is the famous Cape Scott. While people think of this as a serious hiker's park (for the well-known Cape Scott Trail) it has some easily accessible day-use areas, including the beautiful San Josef Bay.
San Josef Trail

San Josef Bay, Cape Scott Park

Raft Cove is not far from Cape Scott, just more to the west. Easier to access by boat, there is a walking trail that can be challenging when muddy. Some people also choose to walk in from Cape Palmerston at low tide. The sweeping sand beach at Raft Cove is well worth the adventure to get there.

footwear after walking the trail in to Raft Cove in summer

Raft Cove

There are a number of lake parks scattered around the north island - Woss Lake, Schoen Lake and Nimpkish Lake are all provincial parks. Schoen Lake Park is the largest and actually comprises several lakes. At Schoen Lake there is a small campground accessible by forest service roads. Woss and Nimpkish Parks are mainly boat access and have no established amenities. Wilderness camping is permitted. All three parks offer visitors a glimpse into the rugged and remote beauty that makes up the interior of northern Vancouver Island.

Marble River, at the edge of Quatsino Sound, is the easiest of the river parks to access (via logging roads) and there is a forestry campsite just outside the park boundary. Marble River offers hiking and biking trails as well as good angling.

the Marble River Park surrounds most of Varney Bay 

A number of the parks on the north island are much more difficult to access and in fact some are almost inaccessible. Much of the access into the northern portion of the island is dependent on logging roads, and once a road is deactivated it is no longer serviced and can quickly become impassible. This has happened with the Artlish Caves Provincial Park, where there is now a hike in to the park as the logging road access was deactivated several years ago. These parks have been established to protect sensitive habitats and ecosystems, so access is not a priority.

You can discover all the provincial parks (and ecological preserve areas) through the BC Parks website. A good place to start is the geographical locator page, which lets you zoom into the region you want to explore.

Vancouver Island north of Campbell River is a massive space that may seem empty as the communities are small and spread out, but for the intrepid explorer there are some beautiful areas to discover. Doing a circuit of Provincial Parks is just one way to get out there.

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

Thursday 15 February 2018

Mining Vancouver Island

While Vancouver Island is most commonly associated with the resource-based industries of forestry and fishing, the island also has a strong and deep history of mining.

Coal mining began on the island (and surrounding islands) in the 1800s, with the discovery of coal in the Nanaimo region. This initial discovery was facilitated by local First Nations, who noticed the coal that Hudson’s Bay Company employees used and offered the information that coal was available locally.

Mining jobs brought many people to the island, creating small towns of workers (eg Cumberland) while areas of Nanaimo and Victoria were built upon the success of prominent mining families.

Mining became big business, first coal and then metals. The island is physically marked by the industry, with both small, abandoned mine sites and large decommissioned mine sites. Two large mines near Campbell River, Quinsam Coal and Myra Mines, are on-again off-again mines; with production being at the whim of global markets.

There are still individual mine claims throughout the back country of Vancouver Island as well as on the smaller islands and on the stretch of mainland coast across from northern Vancouver Island. Whether any of these are active is hard to determine. There are also still people who pan in the local rivers, hoping to find a gold nugget or two.

north Vancouver Island old mine site

Properties that come up for sale in the more remote areas of the islands can be impacted by a mining background. Some may be actual mine sites while others can be at least partially made up of old mining claims.
there were mine sites on the hillside of Port Neville

Hatley and Cragidarroch Castles, the community of Cumberland, Newcastle Island, the IslandCopper Mine outside of Port Hardy, small mining relics and tailings piles, unused mining claims, the numerous dams around Nanaimo – all of these are part of the legacy mining has created on Vancouver Island.

It’s a Coastal Lifestyle … Live it!

Thursday 8 February 2018

Real Estate Changes in BC

There are some major changes coming to BC real estate, and we believe the public should know what those changes are and how they came about. Following is information assembled by a taskforce in our Royal LePage Advance Realty office:

·         Real Estate in BC is governed by the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) for licensees and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) for consumers. The Rules are made by OSRE and guidance on carrying out those rules is provided by RECBC.

·         OSRE states: “A consultation on these rules was completed on October 6, 2017 after OSRE posted a draft version of the proposed rules for a 30 day public comment period on September 6, 2017. OSRE received strong support from the public on all proposed rules.”

·         According to the published report, only 169 members of the public answered the survey, along with 2,395 licensees. Of those 169 people, 66.9% were from the lower mainland.

·         On March 15, 2018 new and changed rules will come into effect.

·         Limited Dual Agency is being eliminated March 15, 2018.
The Superintendent has created a rule to prohibit the practice of dual agency. Dual agency is when a licensee represents two or more parties with competing interests in a trade in real estate, such as both buyer and seller, or two or more competing buyers.*

·         In explaining the new rules, RECBC has advised licensees that the elimination of Double Agency may create situations of ‘double recusal’ where a licensee will not be able to act on behalf of the seller or buyer if they are current clients, rather than only referring one client to another licensee.

·         A licensee will not be able to represent either party if a client buyer decides he wants to offer on a listing of that licensee
You should not continue to act for either client in this scenario. You should refer your buyer client and your seller client to get independent professional advice (i.e. another licensee). You cannot act for both clients in this scenario (even with their consent) because it would amount to dual agency, which is prohibited.*

·         The proposal to eliminate Dual Agency was voted on by only 131 members of the public (from the Province of BC) in the survey, and 81 people supported it.

·         Possible Scenarios
 1. Joe the buyer has been working with a real estate agent to look at properties in town, listed by several real estate agents, making Joe a client. Joe viewed 20 properties, 2 of them were listings of the agent he was working with. Joe decides he would like to make an offer on one of his agent’s listings. At that point, the agent must refer Joe to another agent AS WELL AS refer the seller to another agent.

2. Megan is interested in buying a recreational property, or a commercial property, and she knows, based on extensive research, that one agent is the expert in this specialized field. That agent also has most of the listings. If that agent wants to continue to act on behalf of his current clients (the sellers), he cannot represent Megan as a buyer client. She would either have to be an unrepresented buyer or find another agent, even though no other agents in the area specialize in those properties.

3. Dean has a preferred agent, who has worked on his behalf in the past. Dean trusts that agent, and calls them up on a listing they have on the market. That agent cannot work with Dean as a client because of the double recusal rule (they would have to refer both Dean and the seller to different agents).

                4. Jim Agent is taking care of business for his colleague, Judy Licensee, while she is away. During that time, one of Jim’s past clients comes to him and asks to look at some homes with Jim next week, after Judy Licensee is back looking after her own business. They find a home they love and want Jim to make an offer. However, the home they love is one of Judy Licensee’s listings. Because Jim Agent was looking after Judy Licensee’s business while she was away, this is now considered a conflict of interest and Jim cannot act on his buyer’s behalf and needs to refer them to another agent.

·         Contact information
Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate: phone:  1-855-999-1883
                Real Estate Council of BC: phone: 1-877-683-9664
                Claire Trevena, MLA: : CR office 1-250-287-5100
                Minister of Finance Carole James: