Thursday 28 February 2019

BCO Coastal Gems: Zeballos

Gold mining built the town of Zeballos in the 1930s, when gold was discovered in the hills surrounding the small port at the head of the Zeballos Inlet. The inlet was named after a Spanish lieutenant, Ciriaco Cevallos, in 1972.

At the height of the gold production, Zeballos was a thriving town of over 1500 people. However, the second world war and then a lower price of gold meant an end to the gold mines and the Village slowly reduced in size. Forestry is now the mainstay of the local economy, and approx. 100 people make Zeballos home year-round.

With its road access and the open waters of the Pacific Ocean and the waterways of Nootka Sound beckoning, Zeballos has become a choice destination for fishing and wilderness recreation. There is both fresh water and salt water fishing, as the Zeballos River runs through town.

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 small coastal hamlet is located approximately 14 nautical miles from the open west coast Pacific Ocean and is 17 nautical miles from Tahsis, a small coastal community in the neighbouring inlet to the south.

There are limited services, 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).

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

Thursday 21 February 2019

The Two Coasts of Vancouver Island

Most people don't think of islands as being very different from one side to the other. But Vancouver Island is a bigger island than many people realize and it differs greatly from one coast to the other.

Vancouver Island is approximately 460km long, 80km across at its widest, and has an area of just over 32,000km. It is the biggest island on the coast of North America. The defining feature of the island is the Vancouver Island Mountain Range which runs up the centre of the island. These mountains are home to Comox Glacier, Della Falls (Canada's largest waterfall) and the Golden Hinde, the highest peak on the island at 2,195 metres. These mountains effectively divide Vancouver Island into the east side and west side.

 Vancouver Island Mountains

The west coast of Vancouver Island is open to the Pacific Ocean. The constant wave action and storms of the open ocean have shaped this coast, which is famous for its deep bays with sandy beaches and windswept rocky coastline in between. There are fewer people living on the rugged west coast, and road access is limited to a few points of access from the east side of the island. The west coast constantly attracts outdoor enthusiasts for its rugged beauty, amazing open water fishing and stunning landscapes.

Rugged Point

Cox Bay

The east coast of the island, facing out to the Strait of Georgia (and Strait of Juan de Fuca on the south end) is a much calmer coast. Typified by sandstone, cobblestone and smooth rock shorelines with pockets of sand beaches (notably in Parksville and between Courtenay and Campbell River) the east coast is more protected for the most part and less rugged. While winter storms still hit on the east coast, they are not as aggressive in wave action as on the west coast of the island.

Campbell River


The east coast also provides access to the mainland of BC through the ferry service from both Nanaimo and Victoria. The main highway system runs along the east side of the island, and most towns and cities have been built from the east coast inwards. While there are still more remote areas on the east coast of the island, most of them are north of Campbell River.

Discovery Passage, north of Campbell River

Thanks to its size and geography, Vancouver Island offers an array of outdoor experiences, from calm ocean kayaking among small islands in the Strait of Georgia to wild and wet storm watching on the west coast. Both sides of the island offer amazing beauty and incredible regions to explore, vacation in or call home.
West Coast Vancouver Island

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

Thursday 14 February 2019

Making an Eco Gift of Land

While most people know that you can donate property to a charitable organization to the government (for parkland, environmental area, etc), 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.

You can also donate Land to non-profit organizations, such as Nature Trust. If this is something that interests you, be sure to talk to the organization and make sure your land meets their criteria.

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

Thursday 7 February 2019

Where Does the Water Come From?

For those living in a city or other residential area, domestic water is generally taken for granted unless water restrictions are enacted. Water simply comes when you turn on the tap, and if it doesn’t you call your city or municipality and find out why.

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 about any water system in place.

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  road-access 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 domestic freshwater licences can be found here:

If the property has an existing well, it may be possible to look up information. The province does track wells installed by well drillers, however this database was voluntary before 2016.

Rain water collection is commonly done in a cistern, which can be either above or below ground. They are often hidden underneath a deck.

Many recreational and remote property owners use tanks to store additional water. This is especially useful on the west coast, where we tend to have plenty of water in the wet winter months and less in the summer months when the properties are seeing heavier use.

Knowing where the water is coming from, or what the options are to get water, makes for good peace of mind when considering an unconventional property.

It’s a Coastal Lifestyle … Live It!