Thursday 10 December 2020

What Is the Coastal Lifestyle?

This year more than ever the BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team has appreciated the amazing coastal region we call home. We talk a lot about the coastal lifestyle, and how that relates to both our work and our time outside of work.

Big Picture, this has meant Ed and Shelley finding a way to get some time away in the summer especially, but really all year round, for fishing/hunting/camping. This may mean one is out of town while the other is covering the office, or it may mean Ed is at his cabin in Quatsino fishing in the mornings and working remotely in the afternoons and evenings. This year there weren’t so many away trips, but there were still days out on the boats.

On a smaller scale, the coastal lifestyle means week-ends outdoors, and often evenings as well. It means stopping and looking out the windows at the office when someone thinks they spot whales, or an interesting boat is going through the passage between Quadra Island and Campbell River.  It means talk about fishing taking as much time as talk about properties during client meetings, and photo uploads of our week-end adventures to share on social media. It also means that when Shelley and Ed show clients a property they share in the delight a buyer feels upon seeing the wonder of the coast for the first time. After years of living and working on the coast, that feeling of awe and wonder hasn’t gone away.

The coastal lifestyle doesn’t mean you just live on the coast. It means every day you appreciate that coast and the lifestyle it allows you to enjoy. It means you relax a little more often than if you lived in the big city, and getting to spend time outside is a priority.

 We believe in it, we live it and we love to share it.


It’s a Coastal Lifestyle … Live It!

Thursday 19 November 2020

Homesteading History on Vancouver Island and Area

 The BC Coast is not just rich in First Nations history, it is also rich in homesteading history. Throughout the last two centuries as resource workers and other groups made their way to the coast small groups, individuals and families took up residence throughout the coast, including on the many islands between the mainland and Vancouver Island.

It is not uncommon to come across relics from homesteading in the middle of what looks like untouched forest or grassland. From broken fencelines to house foundations and even old tools, evidence is abundant when you start to look. In particular on the north end of Vancouver Island, it is easy to stumble across pieces of machinery and household items from the early 1900s. Apparently at one time 1000 people lived in an area where only a handful of people now live at the Cape Scott area of Vancouver Island.

Another visual reminder of this past history is the abundance of fruit trees scattered throughout the region, from old orchards that have been reclaimed by the surrounding wild. Going for walks in parks and along beach fronts it is not uncommon to find a gnarled old plum or apple tree, still producing fruit. Along with the fruit trees it is possible to also find overgrown domestic plants that survived long after the homestead itself has disappeared. Rhododendrons and holly bushes are common ones to come across.

People have come and gone for various reasons. A number of Scandinavian groups came in the early 1900s to places such as Cape Scott and Sointula on Malcolm Island, looking to establish a new type of community. Many of the homesteaders in the Discovery Islands were families of the local resource workers whose livelihoods depending on the fishing, mining and forestry industries. Then in the 60s there was another wave of homesteading as the hippy generation found the mild weather of the coast perfect for their communes and back-to-the-earth ideals.

As larger communities grew on the coast and on Vancouver Island especially, many of the homesteader families moved away from the more remote areas to the convenience and steady jobs that towns could offer. Now it seems the homesteading movement is gathering interest and attention, and so more people are coming to the coast to once again connect with those more remote areas.

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

Thursday 29 October 2020

Real Estate Language


It’s easy for those of us who work in real estate every day to forget that the general public, who maybe buy or sell only a handful of properties in a lifetime, aren’t always well versed in real estate terminology. There is a language that is specific to the world of real estate, from terms involved with listing properties to the language of a real estate contract. The more accessible we can make that language to our clients, the more comfortable and at ease they are going to be during the process.

 Here are some basic terms you may hear mentioned when talking about property sales:

Conditional: “It’s still conditional” – this means that there is an offer to purchase which has been accepted by the seller, and the buyers and/or sellers are now working through the items they placed as subject conditions on the offer to purchase; this is referred to as the due diligence period. There is a set date for these conditions to be removed and if they are the contract will then be considered unconditional. When a contract is in its conditional phase, there is a chance that the purchase may not go through, as the conditions may not be satisfied.

Subject-Free: This relates to the conditions set on a contract (or perhaps there are no conditions). When all subject conditions have been waived or removed and both parties are in agreement then a deal is considered ‘subject-free’ and buyer and seller are obligated to complete the deal as outlined in the contract.

Deposit: While the concept of the deposit is fairly obvious, clients don’t always understand that the deposit will form part of the agreed upon purchase price if the sale goes ahead and is not a separate, stand-alone amount of money.

Appraisal vs Assessment: An appraisal of a property is done by a professional third party accredited appraiser and provides the property’s value as set out in the scope of the appraisal (if it is for market value or lender value for example). An assessment is a property value provided by the BC Assessment Authority and is used by municipal authorities to apply property taxes.

Commission: The gross commission for a listed property is determined at the time of the listing. If there is one agent for the sellers and one agent for the buyers, they will share that gross commission in a pre-determined way (also set out in the listing contract for the property). The gross commission is paid by the seller upon the receipt of funds for the sale of the home, and both agents are then paid from that monies.

The best advice when it comes to dealing with real estate and the language is to ask lots of questions. Your real estate agent is there to assist you, and explaining things you don’t understand is part of the job.

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


Thursday 15 October 2020

Coastal Gems: Read Island


Read Island sits in the heart of the Discovery Islands, with Maurelle Island to the north, Quadra Island to the west and Cortes Island to the southeast. There is a large provincial park at the south end of the island.

The census has approximately 80 people as full-time residents of the island, and there are many other part-time residents with summer cabins and residences.

Read Island is home to Surge Narrows School, serving the outlying areas in the Discovery Islands for School District 72. Like most of the Discovery Islands, Read Island has a rich and varied history, having been home to loggers, farmers and homesteaders throughout the years.

There is a government dock on Read Island at Surge Narrows. Surge Narrows sits at the junction where Read Island, Quadra Island and Maurelle Island meet and merges into White Rock Pass; a picturesque and protected location with quick, easy access to services and amenities located at Heriot Bay on Quadra Island or the larger centre of Campbell River on Vancouver Island. 

From here one is also minutes away from the BC mainland and majestic inlets such as Toba and Bute.

Read Island has a network of internal logging roads, which provide access throughout most of the island and to the Government Dock as well as the community hall and elementary school. Rosen Lake and the 1550 acre Read Island Provincial Park are both located on the south end of the island.

It’s a Coastal Lifestyle … Live It! 


Thursday 1 October 2020

Preparing your Recreational Property for the Off-Season

Fall has begun and with it comes the promise of rain and wind and storms on the west coast. Just like you should clean your gutters, unhook your hoses and put away the patio furniture at your home, you should prepare your recreational and remote properties for the fall and winter seasons.

Water - if you are not going to be using your property over the winter your water supply should be properly shut down. There is nothing worse than burst pipes in the spring! Turn off at the source, drain the hot water tank, and leave both indoor and outdoor taps open. 

Exterior tidy up - make sure all the loose items from summer, such as chairs, tables, planters, tools, etc are put away in a secure place. Winter weather can wreck these items, and winter storms can send them flying. If you have to leave canoes/kayaks or boats outside, make sure they are turned upside down so they can’t fill with water and that they are secured to something so they can’t blow about.

Interior – Clean out the fridge, and make sure that food stuffs are either well packaged, stored somewhere else or thrown out. Mice love a winter meal! Putting linens, towels, dishcloths, etc somewhere extra dry will help keep mould from growing on damp fabrics. Consider a moisture absorber container (no damp, damp rid, dri-z-air), especially on the coast or near water where the damp is constant in the winter.

Lock up - make sure the property is closed up properly. Windows and doors should be latched so wind doesn't blow them open and so that critters can't get in. In wooded areas where debris and branches may come down, consider boarding up the windows.

Docks - make sure the surface is "gripped" or cleaned so that if someone needs to use the docks they won't slip on the slick surface from all the winter moisture. This will also deter mould build-upover the winter.

Trees, shrubs, etc - now is a good time to prune any dead branches or long/heavy branches that are getting too close to buildings. These can come down during winter storms and do a lot of damage with no one around to clean up. Better to deal with it now.

A small amount of time spent shutting down, cleaning up and locking up will save time and possibly money come spring. Time to get it done before the big storms come!

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

Thursday 3 September 2020

Be Prepared When Travelling Remote Areas

 Many of the properties we market are remote and we love them as do our clients. They are accessed via Forest Service Roads, private gravel roads, water, and long stretches of unserviced highway. There is often no cellular service, and certainly no wi-fi. So if you are going to travel in these regions remember the number one rule: Be Prepared.

gravel road

blown tire

Have a spare tire! In addition, a shovel to dig out (from dirt or snow), a mat to lay down on when you look under the vehicle, and a vehicle that can withstand scrapes from overgrown shrubs and trees are all assets. Remember that having warmer temps in town does not mean there won't be snow on the ground in the more remote areas. For some areas, a saw to take apart small windfall that's across the road could be useful.

yup, that's broken

Make sure people know where you are going and your approximate time of return. Letting people know your route ahead of time is also a good idea. We always ask people who want to just go look at a property on their own to tell us when they return. Have good maps with you so you can identify where you are, especially if you need to walk out to a more main road for assistance.

stuck in the snow

A first aid kit is important. Extra food and water as it may take longer than you'd expect. Good footwear. Warm clothes and a rain coat (even in the middle of summer) as the weather can change quickly on the coast! And for those of you who prefer the comforts of home, a spare roll of toilet paper is nice.

lots of water on hand

We love the coastal wilderness we are surrounded by, and if you are prepared then enjoying it and exploring it can be a great way to spend time.

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

Thursday 20 August 2020

Visiting BC's Marine Parks

A lot of people are exploring the more outdoor and open areas of the coast this summer, as a way to safely social distance and yet still enjoy summer. Marine parks are a great option for those who have boating access - whether power boats, sailboats or kayaks.

The coast of BC has over 40 designated marine parks. These are parks that include both water and land areas but are generally accessible by float plane or boat only (with some exceptions). Many of them allow wilderness camping but only a few offer even basic services (an outhouse, water, cleared campsites). 

Raft Cove Marine Park, northwest Vancouver Island

These marine parks run along the entire coast of BC and among the numerous islands that dot the coast. They are an attraction for boaters, kayakers, hikers and many others. The largest marine park on the coast is the Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, off the NE coast of Vancouver Island, which consists of dozens of small islands and the waters around them. This park is very popular with kayakers and for whale watching.

Marine parks often provide a welcome refuge for people traveling along the coast, and are common meet-up spots for boaters.  Desolation Sound Marine Park, along the central mainland coast, is very popular with boaters due to its protected waters, easy access to the Discovery Islands and beautiful beaches.
private properties within Desolation Sound Marine Park

Some of the remote and recreational properties we have listed through the BC Oceanfront office either border or are very near to marine parks. A select few are even lucky enough to be private property within a marine park - very rare.
flying over Surge Narrows Marine Park

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

Thursday 23 July 2020

Making Room for Your Coastal Lifestyle

Lots of people move to Campbell River, and the central/north Vancouver Island region, because of the wonderful outdoor lifestyle opportunities. Camping, boating, kayaking, hiking, atv-ing, mountain biking, skiing, hunting, fishing - the list goes on; as a home base, this region offers some of the most accessible outdoor activity area anywhere. Within 45 minutes of town one can be on a ski hill, at a beach, enjoying a lake, fishing a river, camping in a forest, or exploring the ocean and islands off shore.

With all that recreation, however, comes equipment. And if you are moving here to take advantage of the great outdoors, thinking about where you are going to keep your equipment is important.

Are you thinking of downsizing so you can spend time RVing? Then you need to have somewhere to store your RV. Coming here to fish on the ocean or lakes? Will you have a boat and if so, where will you keep it? Skis, ATVs, mountain bikes, kayaks - all need a place to sit when not in use.

Listings in this region should tell you if RV parking, extra outdoor space and good storage space is available. Most properties allow these types of outdoor items, although there are still some neighbourhoods that do not, so check if there are any covenants on the title restricting property use.

When you come to the area, come prepared to take advantage of all it offers and make sure your home allows you to easily access what you need. Whether that means a sturdy pair of walking shoes or a state-of-the-art RV beside the house is completely up to you!

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

Thursday 9 July 2020

Navigating the Local Waters

Looking at the land from the water offers a different perspective. One of the things people who are out sight seeing or fishing for the first time may have questions about are some of the markings and posts you can see on apparently unoccupied land. These can appear to be art work or secret messages, but actually they are for the benefit of everyone.

There are markers for navigation and also markers for fishing regulations.

Warning navigation markers can be in place to mark rocks or hazards that may not be readily visible at all tides, sitting just under shallow water. These markers may have a light on them as well.

In a narrow channel or shallow waters, navigation markers are set up to assist boats in safely getting through the waters. These generally consist of two large, flat pieces set apart from each other, each with a vertical stripe up the centre. When boats are moving through the channel, by sighting these markers so that the vertical lines are perfectly stacked they will be in the optimal spot for moving through the channel. These are known as range markers.

When fishing in amongst the islands and just off the coast, it is the responsibility of the person fishing to know and follow the regulations set out by the Department of Fisheries. These regulations include closures, places in the water where fishing is not allowed, or is only allowed to certain sectors of the fishing community (commercial, sport, etc). These areas are marked by boundary markers visible from the water, some newer than others, some faded with time (many boundaries have been in place for years). 

The markers are generally a triangle and a square, although there is no clear definition on the DFO website as to which is used when and generally the regulations will simply say "between the boundary markers at ..." Whenever you see one of these markers, search the shore opposite (often in a bay) for its mate. Line the two markers up, and the "invisible line" between the two markers is your boundary. You don't want to get caught on the wrong side of the line, as there can be hefty fines!

The waters around Vancouver Island are busy, and these signs and markers can be considered the traffic and information signs of the water highway. If you are going to be spending time on the water, knowing what these signs mean will keep you safe (and out of trouble).

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

Thursday 25 June 2020

Solar Power


There are a number of power options for off-grid properties. The most commonly seen on the coast are a combination of solar power and gas generator. Occasionally there will be small water power (hydro) sources as well, depending on if there is a good flowing source of water on or near the property.


Solar power has become a more mainstream and affordable system in the past decade. With outdoor enthusiasts, hunters and campers wanting a portable power source for electronic devices the industry has made great strides in creating more user-friendly and travel-capable systems which has benefited home systems as well.

Seeing an array of solar panels on a property is normal for regions that are outside of the BC Hydro service grid. Depending on where the most direct sunlight is, the panels may be on the roof of a dwelling or secondary building, or sometimes on the ground. These panels are part of a solar photovoltaic system (PV) that generally are comprised of solar panels, inverters, breakers and mounting equipment. The inverters are required to change the electricity taken in by the solar panels to a form that can be either used in the home or stored in batteries.


Because we do not always experience high sunlight on the coast, especially in the fall and winter seasons, most people will also have a gas generator system. If the property gets a lot of sunlight during the spring and summer the gas generator might only be used in the off-season.

You can find lots more information about solar power and residential solar power use here and here.

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

Thursday 11 June 2020

Overnight Hikes on Vancouver Island

With most of us staying closer to home, we are looking for adventures to be had in our own backyard. Overnight hikes are a great way to be outside and be social distancing as well. So whether you are planning ahead for a visit to come or looking for something to do on the island this summer, here are some great options. Be sure to check the websites before heading out to see what special rules or regulations might be in place this year.

Vancouver Island is renowned for water-based recreation and exploration, but there is also a lot of land-based recreation available. The island has such a variety of ecosystems that someone looking for a multi-day hike adventure has many choices. 

You want mountains? Head to Strathcona Park where you will find a number of over-night or longer hikes that will take you to a number of iconic mountains in the park, such as Mt. Albert Edward.

Strathcona Park

Looking for southern rugged shores? Head to the Juan de Fuca Trail.

The West Coast Trail is a world-famous trail that requires signing up to a waiting list at least a year in advance to even get to hike it.

Looking for remote? Head over to Nookta Island and the multi-day trail there. Or drive to the northern tip of the island and hike the Cape Scott Trail, along boardwalks and mud, and then move onto the North Coast Trail which extends from the Cape Scott Trail.

Cape Scott

Want to add some canoeing into the hiking adventure? Della Falls, Canada’s highest waterfall, is the spot for you.

There are many more that can be done by pushing in one long day or split more comfortably into two days. The island is absolutely the place for outdoor adventuring of all kinds, including serious hiking.

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

Thursday 28 May 2020

Private Islands

"You guys sell islands? Like, real islands?"

You can hear the slight awe, and longing, and envy, in the voices when people say this to us. It's true; BC Oceanfront sells private islands - whole, entire islands that are privately owned. They range in price greatly, depending on location, size, amenities, improvements and other details.

Owning an island in reality of course requires a lot of thought and planning. How will you get there? (Generally boat, sometimes float plane.) Do you want protected or open water? How far do you want to be from civilization?

For some people the owning of the island is enough, and it will never be developed. It will remain a natural escape from the world, perhaps for camping on or just day trips. Or just for someone in a land-locked big city to know, they own an island in the Pacific Ocean.

Other people want to live on the island, at least some of the time if not full-time (and some definitely want to live there full time). That then becomes a more involved exercise. Where does the power come from? How will water be obtained? How will the building materials get there? Some people circumvent all these complicated issued by buying an island already developed, and so only requiring upkeep. But others want to create their own, personal retreat and place. For them, the work and the creation of building is part of the desire.

Within the BCO office there is a wealth of knowledge about the realities of coastal properties, including private islands. Ed has spent years working in the remote areas of the coast, making relationships, gathering information and seeing over time what works and what doesn’t. The BCO office team specializes in gathering information about remote areas and recreational properties.

Islands are a dream for so many, and here at BCO, we really can help make that dream come true.

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

Thursday 14 May 2020

Selling Properties in Covid Times

As we move into the "new normal" of a world operating with Covid, real estate practices are adapting. We know people still need/want to sell or buy properties, for numerous reasons, and we want to facilitate that in a respectful, safe and sanitary way.

For now, the BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team is still working from our home offices. We do have access to our business office at Royal LePage Advance however at this time the public does not have access to the office. So we are continuing to practice best social distancing by working from home with lots of texting, online chatting and video conferences between the team. We are working towards a plan moving forward that may see some or all of us spending more time in the business office as we move into summer.

Shelley and Ed are showing properties, when the seller is ok with it and with many protocols in place. Gloves are worn by all parties, and sanitizer wipes are used to clean any touched surfaces. Sellers are leaving lights on and doors open so as few things need to be touched as can be. Virtual tours are possible, where Shelley or Ed can visit a property with their phone and do a video walk-through with the client. Vacant properties are easier to show, but safety protocols are still being followed even there. For raw land properties, Ed or Shelley can meet the client at the property or the client in some cases can walk the property by themselves. 

Our team has worked with remote clients for years, and have all systems in place to process paperwork and documents remotely. Ed and Shelley are comfortable doing business over the phone, working with clients to finalize plans, work through contracts and arrive at a successful and satisfying completion. 

If you are in the market for some real estate assistance - whether selling or buying - the BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team is here to help.

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

Thursday 30 April 2020

Listing a recreational or remote residential property

Ready to sell a recreational property, or your remote residence? Here are some tips to make both the listing and showing process go smoothly. 

Listing Your Recreational Property
There are many things you as the property owner can do to increase your chances of success with selling your property. Getting it ready for viewing may require a bit of work, but it will pay off with better showings.

1. Accessibility
Is the entrance clearly marked with identifiers? Are the access routes clear for vehicles to drive along? If the access is by water, is the dock/property easily visible from the water with identifiers? Are there tie-ups available?

2. Grounds
While people expect to see some equipment, etc on the grounds, have you cleaned up the extra items? Are they neatly put away, or scattered around the property? A general clean up of the grounds is advised. This includes winter blow-down of branches, etc.

3. Water Supply
Has the water supply and source been clearly marked? Are there directions for turning on and shutting off the water if required? Has the water supply been cleaned or serviced recently (if so, paperwork stating the details should be provided)?

4. Residence
If there is a residence on the property, has it been cleaned? Are there belongings left out or are they put away? The neater it can be left, the better. Do the doors/windows stick? Are there small repairs or projects that can be finished which will enhance the showings?

5. Docks/Piers/Ramps
Are there loose boards? Do they need to be power washed so they aren’t dirty/slippery? Are there simple repairs that can be done to enhance the showing?

6. Outbuildings
Any outbuildings on the property should be accessible and in a reasonable state of cleanliness.

7. Paperwork
If you have done work (or had work/inspections done) on the property, paperwork providing details of that work is always good to have readily available should people ask. 

8. Septic System
If there is a septic system on the property, marking the pipes, tank location, etc is a big help, and having any paperwork related to the system on hand is a benefit.

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

Thursday 16 April 2020

Forest Service Roads

Anyone who spends time travelling the central and northern parts of Vancouver Island will soon come to realize that as soon as you move away from the eastern shoreline you are off the paved roads. There is an entire network of gravel roads on the island, most of which are Forest Service Roads.

What are Forest Service Roads? According to the BC Government, they are part of the Resource Roads of BC:

Resource roads are typically one- or two-lane gravel roads built for industrial purposes to access natural resources in remote areas. Over 620,000 kilometers of roads on the British Columbia landbase are considered resource roads. Resource roads are a highly valued part of B.C.’s transportation network and are essential to economic development.

The B.C. Government administers about 60,000 kilometers of Forest Service Roads (FSRs). FSRs are maintained by the forest industry under road use permits, or where there is no industrial user responsible for maintenance, by the B.C. Government.  Where there is no industrial maintainer, the B.C. Government carries out maintenance, subject to available funding, where communities, rural residents and high value recreation sites have priority.

Many of the BC Oceanfront listings will say that a property is accessible by limited Forest Service Road access. This is because Forest Service Roads are not guaranteed to be be open and in working condition at all times. However most of the main lines on northern Vancouver Island are generally open year-round, although not always in great condition.

Driving on a Forest Service Road on Vancouver Island is not the same as driving on a private gravel road or farm track. The condition of the roads vary greatly depending on the season and the amount of industrial traffic using them at any given time. In the rainy winter months it is not uncommon for the roads to get very slick, and for parts to be partially washed out. For roads that head towards the mountains snow is more common than on the rest of the island. In the summer the roads can be rutted and dusty, making visibility a challenge. Drivers should be prepared for any conditions and if it is the first time driving on these roads, take it slow. Keep in mind, the large work trucks generally always have the right of way!

There are many maps available showing the forest service road networks. The one used most often in our office is the Backroads Mapbook - an excellent resource for anyone looking to venture beyond the paved roads of Vancouver Island. However spurs and side roads can open and close depending on the logging work in the region, so a sharp eye and good sense of direction helps in navigation.

For many people living on Vancouver Island, the Forest Service Roads provide access to remote communities (eg. Zeballos, Winter Harbour and Tahsis), lakes, hiking trails, rivers, hunting grounds and much more, enhancing our connection to the rich landscape.

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

Thursday 2 April 2020

Real Estate and Covid-19

Things continue to develop very quickly in the province and across the country with the response to Covid-19. We have been asked where does that leave real estate? Are people still buying or selling properties? The short answer is - yes. However what that looks like and how it is happening is different than a couple of months ago for many.

The Province of BC has declared that real estate is an essential service during their mandated shut down of non-essential services. We know that people still need to sell or buy properties for many reasons, some more than ever now, and the required channels for this are staying available. Additionally Royal LePage Canada has asked agents across Canada to treat real estate as an essential service, unless otherwise directed by authorities (for instance, Quebec has said real estate is non-essential service) and offer as much service as possible, while respecting all health safety protocols and within personal comfort levels. 

What steps are being taken to insure all parties involved follow the correct protocol and keep everyone as safe as possible? The professional associations for real estate agents across the country are providing both their agents and the consumers guidelines and answers. In BC, the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) has created a page for consumers which can be found here. Open houses are no longer being held in person, but in some cases are being done creatively through online and virtual media. Thanks to technology, meetings with clients can happen on line (using video conferencing programs such as zoom or apps such as FaceTime, Whatsapp or Skype) and documents can even be sent and signed electronically while talking on the phone with the agent. Things may happen a little slower, as arrangements need to be made and a lot of phone calls need to happen. But business is still proceeding.

It turns out that here at BCO we've been preparing for such an event and didn't even know it. Because our sellers and buyers often come from all over and are certainly not always both near the actual property in question, we are experienced with and have in place the systems to work remotely with clients. We have done video walk-throughs of a property with our client on Facetime. We regularly send out documents to be signed via electronic means. We often send documents and photos with online storage apps. We are ready to help clients who perhaps are used to doing real estate in the residential markets, face to face, with this new reality of remote and virtual real estate. It is not ideal, but it is possible to do for those who need and/or want to buy or sell real estate now.

We don’t yet know what the impact of Covid-19 will be on the real estate industry. We do know that in the past the recreational and remote markets have reacted differently than the residential markets, in both positive and not so positive ways. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out by email or phone. We wish you all health and peace during this unprecedented time of change. 

Thursday 26 March 2020

Toilet Options for Remote and Recreational Properties

One of the many things that need to be considered when looking at a remote or recreational property outside of municipal boundaries is how septic waste disposal happens. There are many options, and each has its own merits.

Indoor plumbing is generally an option, but it can be costly. All properties who choose to have indoor plumbing, and that are not on a municipal waste system, are supposed to have a permitted system, which means installation and inspection by a professional. In our region this is covered by the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA). You can find more information about regulations for septic systems at the VIHA site here.

Many 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 not such a great option for many recreational and more remote properties. There are also filtration systems and outflow systems, all of which direct the waste somewhere else (such as gravel fields or in some cases directly out to bodies of water).

For most people when they think of cabins and remote properties, the traditional outhouse comes to mind. These are still very popular and common, and once established require little more than routine maintenance. Outhouses can be fun to decorate and they can range from incredibly rustic to quite fancy.

There are three waterless options for  toilets that property owners can consider. These can be inside a cabin or in an outhouse-style building.

*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. Here is some more explanation on how they work:

*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. This is an information sheet from 1999 created by the EPA in the US, all about incinerating toilets:

*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.

There are solutions for every budget and every lifestyle!

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