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WHATâ€™S INSIDE Spring 2019
Up Front 8 Publisher’s Letter 10 Dispatches
14 11 Towns Under $600,000
21 Powering Into the Future: E-bikes
18 Café Society
25 The Social Network: Engaged communities 26 No Person is an Island: Luxury real estate
56 California Dreamin’ in the Coachella Valley
30 The Right Stuff: New condos and town homes for 2019
60 Small Business, Small Town
38 Right-sized Cities for Work: 16 hot B.C. job markets
62 Victoria Boom Town
50 Bespoke Building: Custom home expert advice
66 Hidden Jewel: Nakusp
View of Penticton. Photo courtesy of Destination BC/Joann Pai
s we move into our second year of publishing Right Sizing, my job takes me to the diverse regions of British Columbia. I’ve gone from Vancouver Island centres like Port Renfrew, Cowichan Lake and Campbell River to small towns on the mainland’s Sunshine Coast. Inland, I’ve explored Merritt, Salmon Arm, Golden, Nelson, Osoyoos and Penticton. I’ve also been spending time in booming regional hubs like beautiful Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna and Kamloops, plus my North Vancouver home makes visiting places like Pemberton easy. What do these communities have in common? When meeting with economic development directors, developers, realtors and builders, I’m not only amazed to find great lifestyle and property values, but surprised by the incredible need for employees—everywhere. I believe the rich job market and need for workers right now in smaller cities and towns is B.C.’s great untold story. From jobs in tourism, high-tech and building to heavy industry, B.C.’s low unemployment rate translates into rich opportunities to accompany any potential small-town relocation (page 38). Whether that might include building a new custom home in one of B.C.’s resort-style communities (page 50) or buying a brand-new condo or town home from a long list of stunning new B.C. developments (page 30), we’ve got the insider advice you need to move with confidence. If you’ve ever dreamed of opening your own business, the conditions in B.C. today are ripe for that, too (page 60). Of course, the Lower Mainland has job openings as well—but if workers can often earn the same amount in a place where homes are not $1-million-plus but between $400,000 and $600,000 (page 14), well, that leaves a lot of extra money. That disposable income can translate into leisure travel, or even a second home, in a destination like southern California’s Coachella Valley (page 56). My family has enjoyed living in Vancouver for the past 25 years, but as my children graduate from university and start looking to build their own nests, none of us can imagine how they can buy a house in Vancouver. The prospects for them, of finding fulfilling jobs and achieving home ownership, are certainly looking a lot better in smaller cities and towns. When my wife and I eventually move, I know she will be concerned about maintaining and building her social network, so we’ll definitely look at communities like Predator Ridge, to Vernon’s south, which has become the gold standard for organized social activities and events to bring residents together (page 25). Also top of mind for us will be everyday concerns like the cafés and restaurants in the area (page 18) and hobbies like cycling, even if it means staying in the game with an e-bike (page 21). I know we’re not alone in considering this new reality and, despite the correction taking place in big-city property markets, smaller centres are still looking like a great option for us down-sizers or our children, who can’t afford a home in the Vancouver area and are searching for a right-sized reality. Steve Dietrich Publisher
Digital Media Manager Charity Robertson Writers Robin Brunet, Michelle Hopkins, Gail Johnson, Bob Keating, Tracey Rayson, Kirsten Rodenhizer, Steven Threndyle, Michael White Advertising Sales VP Sales Steve Dietrich firstname.lastname@example.org 604-787-4603 Senior Account Manager Brenda Guebert email@example.com 250-575-1406 Head Office 187 Rondoval Crescent, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2W6. 604-787-4603 Accounting Inquiries Iva Dietrich, firstname.lastname@example.org Letters to the editor email@example.com. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Subscriptions rightsizingmedia.com/magazine/subscribe Distribution To The Globe and Mail subscribers within Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, Victoria, Kelowna and Calgary, Air Canada Lounges, select realtor and brokerage offices, select newsstands. To distribute Right Sizing magazine in larger quantities within your location please call 604-787-4603. Printer tc – Transcontinental, Canada.
Right Sizing magazine, established 2018. The magazine will be published four times per year by Publimedia Communications Inc., established 1996. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher, or the staff. All editorial is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. The publisher is not responsible for any liability associated with any editorial or products and services offered by any advertiser. Editorial submissions will be considered, please send them to the publisher. Copyright© 2019 Publimedia Communications Inc. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. The publisher and printer will not be responsible for any typographical errors, mistakes, misprints, spot colouring or any misinformation provided by advertisers. Website www.RightSizingMedia.com Cover Image Nelson, B.C. Photo courtesy of Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism/ Dave Heath
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Shuswap Lake photo courtesy of saltandpaprika/Flickr
Best-Buy Waterfront: Shuswap Lakes There aren’t many B.C. vacation spots left, outside remote wilderness, where buyers can pick up lakefront recreation land for under half a million dollars—or sidestep B.C.’s speculation tax, which applies to non-resident owners in waterfront hot spots like Kelowna, Victoria and Vancouver. But along the 400 kilometres of shoreline encircling B.C.’s glassy Shuswap Lakes, properties still go for as little as $450,000, says Salmon Arm-based realtor and Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board president Marv Beer. Median waterfront prices sit around $765,000 (still a relative bargain in B.C.). “It’s a bit of a secret we have here,” Beer says.
By Kirsten Rodenhizer
Hot spot Salmon Arm is the region’s largest city, with a population of 16,000.
Lifestyle Magnet: Revelstoke
Over the last few decades, this town of 6,700 has evolved from sleepy whistle stop to a mountain mecca, with powder-heaped Revelstoke Mountain Resort seducing many adventure-seekers into staying. Now a new generation of digital nomads is sticking the landing, says chamber of commerce executive director Jana Thompson, thanks to fibre -optic internet and a new crop of co-working spaces. Arts, culture and nonprofit groups are thriving. City-worthy restaurants are popping up downtown. Home and hotel construction are booming. Yet Thompson says, “It still has the really good mountain vibes and small-town community feel.” Meadows summit. Photo courtesy of Kootenay Rockies Tourism
Population 6,719, median age 38.5.
East Meets Okanagan: Penticton Penticton has a Tibetan Lama in the house. Geshe Thupten Loden touched down last September and has been teaching meditation, philosophy and religion at local yoga studio Get Bent, hosted by the Okanagan Dharma Centre. Loden is the first of what the centre hopes will be a series of visiting Tibetan luminaries—and eventually, a Buddhist teaching centre in the Okanagan Hills. “We have a really big spiritual community here, but it’s a little disjointed,” says centre co-founder Wendy Goudie. “[This] could be the thread that brings everybody together.”
Buy here Penticton average detached home value (2018): $481,000 (+8%). Tibetan Lama Geshe Thupten Loden. Photo courtesy of John Goudie
Spring Fresh: Kelowna
Kelowna’s first farmer-run grocery store will be cropping up this spring. The seeds of the concept sprouted last year when a group of local farmers and producers banded together to form the Okanagan Food Hub Cooperative and sell directly to the public. “A lot of our members were producing more product than they could effectively sell through farmer’s market outlets,” says co-op secretary Bob Chisholm of Brainy Bee Honey. The brick-and-mortar shop will be a permanent fixture, allowing locals to shop local year-round.
Kelowna average detached home value (2018): $632,000 (+7%).
Kelowna General Market. Photo courtesy of Tourism Kelowna
Strutting its Stuff: Terrace
The Terrace Library has a lot on its shelves these days. After a survey last year on how to evolve, the library debuted a repository of non-bookish items for loan, including everything from guitars and drums to robotics kits, board games, snowshoes, VR glasses and even kitchen gadgets like a steam juicer and food dehydrator. “Libraries have always been places that have had to adapt,” says library director David Tremblay. The collection currently has around 90 objects, with more on the way.
Buy here The Terrace Library of Things. Photo courtesy of David Tremblay
Healthy Choice: Nelson
Terrace average detached home value (2018): $312,000 (up 9%).
B.C. retirees chasing good health care in the golden years may want to head east. This Kootenay town of 10,600 residents has 30-plus medical offices and a hospital. Comparatively low property taxes, a walkable town core with more than 350 heritage buildings and an average home price of $462,000—not to mention the spectacular Selkirk Mountain setting— complete the package.
Nelson average detached home value (2018): $462,000 (up 18%). Nelson’s walkable core. Photo courtesy of Kootenay Rockies Tourism
Down to Clown: Kootenays
Until recently, hilarity was a rarity in the Kootenays—at least the staged variety. But a new improv and sketch-comedy group has stepped up to fill the void, selling out its first two shows this fall. “There had been a few improv nights here and there, but there wasn’t anything consistent,” says Kootenay Comedy Circus founder and veteran performer Lisa Aasebo Kennedy. The group plans to stage sketch comedy shows every two months, and improv performances monthly, at rotating venues in Cranbrook, Kimberley and Fernie.
Photo courtesy of Kootenay Comedy Circus
Approximately 3% of B.C.’s population lives in the Kootenays.
Coming up Green: Powell River Once B.C.’s foremost pulp-and-paper hub, Powtown is courting a new kind of green industry. The Toronto-headquartered cannabis producer Santé Veritas Therapeutics just finished converting a onetime Catalyst Paper office into a 40,000-square-foot medical-marijuana growing facility, set to start producing nearly three million grams per year. “We anticipate the facility will bring more than 100 new jobs to the region,” says CEO John Walker.
Photo courtesy of Spirit Bay
Home for Good: Metchosin
Powell River average detached home value (2018): $328,000 (up 13%).
From the outside, seaside Spirit Bay has everything home buyers desire: mountain views, adjacent wilderness and both custom homes (built to a 100-year standard) and home lots around a village centre with appealing shops. Behind the scenes, it’s equally appealing. Under the Trust for Sustainable Development, homes are naturally ventilated, heated with 100 per cent renewable (geothermal) energy and reflect conscious materials choices (including local, where possible). Partnership with landowners the Beecher Bay First Nation ensures not only 99-year leases on the land but thoughtful touches like unique Salish Walking Gardens planted with traditional healing plants. Another bright spot: Dark Sky low-lumen, downcast lighting, ensuring vibrant views as you thank your lucky stars. —Right Sizing staff
Buy here 12
Metchosin average detached home value (2018): $792,000 (up 11%). Spring 2019
Fort St. John
This north coast community of about 8,000 people officially became a hotspot last October with the promise of a $40-billion LNG Canada investment, the largest private-sector project in Canadian history. Recent listing: Enjoy country living just minutes from town in an updated four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the Cable Car subdivision. It includes a new modern kitchen and bathrooms, new flooring, wood-burning fireplace, deck and more. $549,990
Known for its breathtaking views of mountain peaks, rivers and valleys, Fort St. John and its surrounding area have endless opportunities for camping, sledding, ice fishing and cross-country skiing. It’s the largest city in northeastern B.C., with a population of 21,000. Recent listing: A seven-bedroom, four-bathroom home includes a separate three-bedroom in-law suite with its own laundry facilities. An open-concept kitchen, hardwood floors, fully finished basement and heated double garage are some of the perks. It’s close to parks and golf. $599,000
11 Towns Under $600,000 By Right Sizing Staff
Homes at this price point come with plenty of space, luxe amenities and sweet surroundings in right-sized towns and small cities. For direct links to all listings go to rightsizingmedia.com/600
Merritt With 2,000 hours of sunshine annually and boasting around a 15-minute drive to a dozen freshwater lakes, Merritt is popular with golf, hiking and fishing enthusiasts—and also hosts the largest country music festival in the province. Recent listing: A six-bedroom, three-bathroom home is more than 3,100 square feet and located on a corner lot in one of Merritt’s most prestigious neighbourhoods. It includes a renovated kitchen with walk-in pantry, an open floor plan, bay windows and southern exposure. $465,000
Map courtesy of Google Maps
Okanagan Lake’s largest waterfront city combines urban lifestyle and a family-friendly, all-season vacation atmosphere. Locals and tourists all enjoy an energetic downtown, restaurants, vineyards, bike trails, summer water activities and winter outings at Big White Ski Resort. Recent listing: A three-bedroom, two-bathroom alpine-style cottage in the LaCasa pet-friendly resort has an open-concept floorplan, a thirdfloor loft bedroom plus a large front deck and back deck backing onto provincial parkland—which means the view will remain unblocked. $499,000
Radium Hot Springs This town is best known for having Canada’s largest mineral hot springs pool. Radium is a small, friendly mountain community located on the so-called “warm side” of the Canadian Rockies, within five minutes of Kootenay National Park and Rockwall Trail. Recent listing: A five-bedroom, four-bathroom home set on a large property in Spur Valley was built in 2000 and made for allseason living. Perfect for gardeners and outdoor recreation enthusiasts, it also comes with a home workshop. $499,000
Fernie Cranbrook One of the East Kootenay region’s most liveable communities, Cranbrook has dozens of golf courses, a WHL hockey team, a professional symphony and is home to the College of the Rockies and Cranbrook Regional Hospital. As a bonus, according to Environment Canada, it has the most sunshine hours of any B.C. city (2,190.5 hours annually). Recent listing: With 2,500 square feet of living space, a stylish five-bedroom, three-bathroom home has maple floors, vaulted ceilings, an attached garage and a fenced yard backing onto green space. $499,000
Fernie is tucked away in the Rocky Mountain range, an hour from the Cranbrook airport. From world-class fly fishing and snowboarding to fine dining and art galleries, Fernie has a vibe that led Rolling Stone magazine to once call it the Coolest Town in North America. Recent listing: A modern five-bedroom, three-bathroom home located in the Whiskey Jack Golf Resort. This home has an open-concept plan, vaulted ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and a top-floor master bedroom retreat with spa-like ensuite. $575,000 Spring 2019
P owell River This Sunshine Coast community is an ideal place to live, play and work. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy beautiful forests, mountains and the ocean, plus the town also has a vibrant arts community and hosts world-class festivals and events. Recent listing: A four-bedroom, three-bathroom oceanview property along the Duncan commercial corridor, ideal for families or home-based businesses, features a new roof, rewired garage and ample parking. $429,900
Gibsons Oceanside Gibsons is booming, partly because it’s convenient (only a 45minute ferry ride from Langdale, on the Sunshine Coast, to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver) to the Lower Mainland. Enjoy walks along the boardwalk, buy fresh seafood off the fishing boats and visit Molly’s Reach restaurant, famous from the vintage Beachcombers TV series. Recent listing: A 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom view home is located close to the ferry and Hopkins Landing beach—perfect for downsizers, small families or weekend getaways. $599,000
Comox With the feel of a residential village that’s surrounded by agriculture, this town between Nanaimo and Campbell River is quickly becoming known as a right-sizing mecca. The town has a ferry to Powell River and Comox Valley Airport has several flights daily to Vancouver. Recent listing: A three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the desirable Pheasant Landing adult-oriented complex is only a short distance to downtown amenities, North East Woods walking trails and the ocean. $485,000
Langford Located five to 10 minutes from Victoria, it’s the fastest-growing municipality in the Capital Region District. Locals enjoy warm, dry summers, three different lakes, indoor and outdoor recreational activities and plenty of shopping. Recent listing: This stunning new three-bedroom, four-bathroom townhouse has quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, engineered-hardwood floors, glass-surround showers and new-home warranty. $595,000
Map courtesy of Google Maps
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Photo courtesy of Café Talia
CAFÉ SOCIETY Find local treats, high-octane coffee drinks and community at B.C.’s indie coffee shops. By Gail Johnson
Café Talia, Salt Spring Island
The Art We Are, Kamloops Some cafés feel more like fast-food chains than cozy local spots for lingering over caffeine and conversation. Not community-based The Art We Are: it isn’t far from the Kamloops Art Gallery and has the arts at its very heart. Most Saturday nights feature live music, while local art—from woodworks to woven pieces—adorns the walls. Artistry carries over to the menu, featuring B.C. growers and producers like Blackwell Dairy Farm in Kamloops, Armstrong’s Village Cheese Company, Nelson’s Matcha Mountains and Splinter Hill Wholistics, a local herbal tea purveyor. Kung Fu Quinoa with organic dried cranberries and Marvellous Mexi Pockets are popular bites. TRY: A Dirty Chai, a chai latte with a shot of espresso.
Salt Spring Island is known as much for its natural beauty as it is for its colourful, bustling Saturday market. Whether kayaking or shopping, a satisfying cup of coffee fuels the day: find it at Café Talia, the most charming little spot in Ganges. Located in the island’s original century-old telephone exchange building, the coffee shop has vaulted ceilings and exposed wooden beams. Organic beans come from Mount Maxwell Coffee Roasters, which operates out of a yurt in the Cranberry Valley. Sip beetroot and cacao-turmeric lattes, plus espresso-based drinks infused with indulgent housemade vanilla and caramel syrups. Delicious baked goods come from Jana’s Bake Shop and Laughing Daughters Gluten-Free Foods, both local favourites. TRY: A fragrant lavender mocha. Photo courtesy of The Art We Are
Counterpart Coffee, Squamish For those who love to play outside, Squamish is nature’s Disneyland, with some of the world’s best windsurfing, climbing and backcountry exploring—and a demand for high-quality espresso. It’s been served since 2014 by Counterpart, where clean lines and natural wood accents create a warm, open atmosphere of Scandinavian and Japanese minimalist design. Coffee comes from Canadian brokers who work with producers in Ethiopia, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to source traceable, small-farm beans that are roasted on site. Counterpart also carries baked goods and snacks from local businesses like Tall Tree Bakery, XOCO Westcoast Chocolates and Lucas Teas. TRY: A coffee subscription (unique 340gram bags sent to you, from $130 for six bags). Photo courtesy of Counterpart Coffee
Kicking Horse Coffee, Invermere Started in the founders’ Invermere garage in 1996, Kicking Horse got a caffeinated shot from Italian espresso giant Lavazza (which bought an 80 per cent stake of the company, valued at $215-million) in 2017. But the best place to enjoy a cup of Kick Ass, Smart Ass or other signature grinds is where it all began. Surrounded by a boardwalk-style patio lined with Prairie grasses, Kicking Horse Café is adjacent to the roaster’s Rocky Mountain headquarters. Inside is a sleek, contemporary space, with rich “counter culture”—from espresso drinks and cold brews to eats like energy balls, jar salads, breakfast wraps and jumbo muffins. TRY: The Red Eye, a brewed coffee topped with a double shot of Cliff Hanger Espresso.
Photo courtesy of Kicking Horse Coffee
Penticton BC | SkahaHills.com
Visiting here is breathtaking. Owning here is life changing.
This rendering is for illustration only.
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POWERING INTO THE FUTURE A new generation of e-bikes give a second wind to both weekend warriors and commuters.
E-mountain bikes can give older riders fresh wind.
By Steve Threndyle Sore backs. Shaky knees. Arthritic hips. Aching muscles. Fluttering hearts. As baby boomer weekend warriors age, even the healthiest start to slow down. Millennials have a different set of challenges, including student debt, juggling wellness with career demands and raising young families and, often, a strong sense of social responsibility. Enter the electric bike as a potential solution for staying fit and, maybe, helping to save the planet. E-bikes have small motors, activated by a cyclist’s pedalling, that provide added power for conquering hills or headwinds. (Most e-bikes do not have a throttle, like a moped or dirt bike does.) They can be a game-changing way to exercise or commute.
CHANGING GEARS Commuter, cargo and all-purpose e-bikes have been adopted on most city streets, bike lanes and urban pathways—sometimes reticently. Traditional cyclists can feel the stigma of electric assistance, and be hesitant to jump on the e-bike bandwagon—until circumstances such as health trip the switch.
accepting that I needed an e-bike,” she says. “I hadn’t done my favourite sport in more than a half-dozen years. My disease took that away from me, and my e-bike gave it back.” Brian, who’s general manager of nearby Marmot Basin Ski Resort, agrees. “It has literally been a life saver for us. When I can no longer ride 100 per cent on my own steam I will get an e-bike. And I will keep riding. The alternative is not an option.”
In the rugged Rocky Mountain town of Jasper, Alberta, Brian and Marta Rode have become e-bike evangelists. Stricken five years ago by a rare lung disease that forced her to stop riding a conventional bike, Marta has put around 5,000 kilometres on the e-bike Brian bought her in 2016. “Even with my disease, I still had trouble
Medical writer Anne Mullens from Victoria was skeptical, too. She admits, “I was snobby about [e-bikes], until I stayed at a lovely hotel in Provence that provided them free of charge for guests.” Mullens describes a day exploring hill towns, canyons and “much more than if I had been cycling unassisted…. It was transformative.” Spring 2019
The E List
Peter Dorey, owner of Olympia Cycle in Vernon, commutes 25 kilometres each way between work and his North Okanagan home. “We tripled our e-bike sales in 2018 and have doubled our order for 2019. People love them for riding around town or wide dirt trails, like the old Kettle Valley Railway. You can ride Vernon to Kelowna and back on a single charge.”
Ohm Electric Bikes: Based in North Vancouver, Canadianowned Ohm Cycles has City Bikes that feature a stepthrough (no crossbar) design, in two models; the City 350 ($3,999) and City 500 ($4,999), with a more powerful motor.
Battery life (or what the electric vehicle industry calls “range anxiety”) is a crucial consideration: e-bikes can be pedalled without the electric assist, but most weigh in at close to 20 kilograms—twice as heavy as conventional bikes. A fully depleted battery takes from three to six hours to recharge. Prices reflect the complex technology that goes into each e-bike: $2,500 can get you into the game, but costs can be twice as much. As the market grows, prices—and e-bike weights—will go down. While the clunky looking rear hub and battery can look ungainly on some models, prestige brands like Spain’s Orbea and Italian maker Pinarello are releasing road bikes that embed everything in sleek frames.
Devinci Bikes: Squamish multi-sport adventurer Dave Norona swears by his Canadian-made Devinci AC XT ($8,499), an e-mountain bike with long-travel, maximum shock-absorbing, front and rear suspension. Though there’s lively debate around whether or not to allow e-mountain bikes on trails, Norona believes the sport’s future is rosy. “None of the naysayers I talk to personally or in online forums has ever actually tried one,” he says. At Devinci dealers throughout B.C. Giant Quick-E: Similar in design and geometry to its entrylevel mountain bikes but equipped with a long-lasting 500watt lithium ion battery and Yamaha motor, the Quick-E ($3,299) cruises at a top speed of 32 kilometres an hour. Ideal for urban and dirt road trail use. At Giant dealers throughout B.C.
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THE SOCIAL NETWORK Community is more than a place to live—it’s who you get to know that can make you feel at home. Here’s what some developers are doing to help create it.
Outdoor concerts are among the many community events at Vernon’s Predator Ridge. Photo courtesy of Predator Ridge
By Gail Johnson
After living in both Edmonton and Vancouver for years, Denise Tambellini and her husband had established dear friendships in both cities. When it came time to choose a retirement spot, climate and amenities were just some of their considerations. So, too, was having a social network.
Among the biggest fears about moving to a new place are losing existing social fabric and having trouble establishing new friendships. In response, many planned communities offer activities, excursions, gatherings and other ways for residents to develop the social connections that are vital to a healthy, happy lifestyle.
The couple loved the idea of Okanagan living, but they knew few people in the region. That all changed when in 2015 they moved to Predator Ridge. Tambellini has met new friends on the golf course and biking trails, in the gym and restaurants. “You don’t know what community is until you come here,” Tambellini says. “All it takes it one trip to the fitness centre... Everybody’s so welcoming.”
Predator Ridge, for instance, boasts more than 1,000 programmed events a year for homeowners, from bocce ball and hiking groups to winery dinners and theatre outings. Bear Mountain Resort, Fairwinds and Crowne Isle Resort & Golf Community are just a few other B.C. developments that are building social structure as meticulously as landscaping and floor plans.
Realtor Julia Abraham has found community at Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria, where she lives with her husband and three children. Having recreational opportunities like golf, tennis and mountain biking in their backyard was important to the whole family, but what has struck her has been the way friendships have formed so effortlessly. Whether it’s taking in Friday-night wine flights or live music, or popping in for coffee at the on-site Mountain Market, she has found social opportunities all around her.
“To pick up and relocate is a big decision,” says Brad Pelletier, senior vice president, Okanagan, of Wesbild, the company behind Predator Ridge. “In a community like this, the last thing someone buys is the house. It’s about what an active and enriched life they can have with like-minded people.” He cites
“I have met many great friends,” Abraham says. “There are so many events that provide endless opportunity for participation, events when the community really comes together. I feel the combination of an active and amenity-rich community creates a really welcoming neighbourhood.”
Tambellini started a painting group, and one for beginner golfers cheekily called Nine, Wine and Dine. “The first season we had about 12 women; the next year we had 100. The sense of community here is very, very special and very rare,” she says.
the community’s parks and trails, golf and fitness facilities, plus culinary and cultural events as “the forum for people to interact.”
NO PERSON IS AN ISLAND But perhaps your family can own one: a look at private islands, one of the ultimate luxury real-estate purchases in B.C. By Steve Threndyle “We have a picture of my father back in 1928, sitting in a dugout canoe and looking at Goat Island from Salt Spring,” recalls Captain Stephen Best, a B.C. Coast Pilot with a long family history on the West Coast. “Whenever he told his brothers that he’d buy that island someday, they’d always said, ‘Why would you want to buy that piece of string?” Indeed, Goat Island is a narrow slip of land so close to Ganges that Best says they skated between the two during one particularly frigid winter. Two decades later, Best’s father purchased the property for $2,800 and the family has made few changes in the 70 years 26
since. “We haven’t bothered to bring electricity to the island,” says Best. “I’ve taught generations of friends and family how to light a wood cook stove.” Living on a secluded, forested private enclave just a short paddle from the charming small-town hub of a Gulf Island is the sort of dream most of us pin on a lottery jackpot. But in B.C., buying your own island is an attainable possibility, especially if you’re patient. Like spatters of green paint on a deep blue backdrop, more than 40,000 islands dot the B.C. coastline from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Alaska Panhandle. They range in size from rocky bumps barely visible at high tide to Vancouver Island (one
ISLANDS IN THE STREAM Walkem Island Located in Johnstone Strait, just two nautical miles from Vancouver Island, this 107-acre property has three wells with proven water reserves. Listed: $1.69-million, through B.C. Oceanfront Properties. www.bcoceanfront.com
Goat Island Find “privacy without isolation,” close to Salt Spring’s Ganges, including two rustic cabins, pristine forest, eight crescent bays and clamshell beaches over 12 acres. Can be subdivided—ideal for multi-generational ownership. Listed: $3.495-million, through Henri Procter, Macdonald Realty, and privateislandsonline.com. Lily Island (centre, back). Photo courtesy of uniqueproperties.ca
Lily Island Tucked into Silva Bay, a five-minute boat ride from Gabriola Island, this undeveloped eight-acre property is mostly level, for many possible building sites. Spectacular shell and sandstone beaches. Listed: $1.595-million, through Colliers Unique Properties. www.uniqueproperties.ca
Alan Best in 1929. Photo courtesy of Stephen Best
of the largest inhabited islands in the world, and not for sale). Some, like Haida Gwaii archipelago, are exposed to the fury of the open Pacific Ocean, while others lie nestled and protected by the towering Coast Range mountains on the B.C. mainland. Campbell River-based realtor Ed Handja specializes in oceanfront property, including private islands. “Unique and rare individuals seem drawn to these unique and rare island properties,” he says, mentioning a Norwegian couple who relocated to one of the Discovery Islands two decades ago, and a client from Victoria who owns three islands. “He’s a bit of a collector, you might say,” remarks Handja. Given the challenges of transportation and self-sufficiency, the buyers’ market is very niche. Spring 2019
Handja says, “There might be some years where you don’t sell a single property and there might not be many available at any given time.” Most islands come up for sale after long and sometimes difficult family discussions. Achieving an accurate valuation can be challenging, because comparative resales might not have taken place in decades. Mark Lester, founder and group leader of the Unique Properties Group at Colliers International, has sold more than 20 islands during his career. “It’s not something that there’s a manual for,” he says. “Each island has its own attributes and their utility, or usefulness, can vary widely due to the rugged nature of the topography.” Building sites, beaches and moorage spots are just a few considerations he mentions.
More than 40,000 islands dot the B.C. coastline from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Alaska Panhandle. Island buyers are looking for a lifestyle with some emotional connection to both land and sea. While most larger Gulf Islands have a general store or a marina, private islands require “thoughtful living,” says Lester, who has waterfront property on DeCourcy Island. “You need to be prepared to roll up your sleeves,” he says, anticipating and planning maintenance and chores in an environment where even a quick boat run for supplies involves consulting tide tables. Ironically, it’s also never been easier to live off the grid than it is right now. The southern Gulf Islands have enough sunshine to generate solar power for at least part of the year. Water can be captured and conserved by using a rainwater cistern. Many Gulf Islanders grow their own produce in summer months, and there are plenty of fish in the Salish Sea. As for Goat Island, the investment by Best’s father (who passed away several years ago) has turned out pretty well. It’s currently listed for more than $3-million—a relatively small price to pay for the ultimate dream home of a private island. Goat Island (centre). Photo courtesy of Stephen Best
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110-4460 Chatterton Way
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THE RIGHT STUFF NEW CONDOS AND TOWN HOMES FOR 2019
Developers are increasingly aware of the sophisticated tastes of prospective homebuyers —especially those relocating from major urban centres—and are constantly evolving projects to fulfill them. These new developments offer many of the most sought-after features in terms of interiors, amenities and location. By Michael White
Lost Creek Point, Kelowna
Lost Creek Point.
The ever-growing Wilden community (2,000 acres of hillside land next to Okanagan Lake) is revered for its abundant green space and ideal location: 15 minutes or less to downtown, Kelowna International Airport and UBC Okanagan campus. This latest development consists of 36 semi-detached town homes (plus two detached) that offer square footage and interior appointments comparable to fully detached homes. The bountiful amenities of the nearby Glenmore neighbourhood will soon be complemented by Wilden’s own commercial district, Market Square, which is projected to begin construction in 2020. wilden.ca Square footage (interior): 2,000 to 3,600 Bonus feature: The town homes’ striking design, described as Okanagan Modern, is the result of two years of development. 30
Photo courtesy of Wilden
Named for its location adjacent to the picturesque Okanagan River Channel, this collection of 35 luxury four-level town homes is also a stone’s throw from downtown Penticton, the South Okanagan Events Centre (home to year-round concerts and sporting events) and the region’s famed wineries and craft distilleries. Four customizable home plans (ranging from two to four bedrooms) include the options of a two-car garage, a space-efficient Hybrid elevator and 1,000 square feet of rooftop and master-bedroom deck space. Coming in 2020. riversidepenticton.com
This 20-storey tower earns a Walk Score of 97 for its enviable Bernard District location, a short jaunt to Town Centre Mall and scores of independent shops, numerous parks and cafés. On track to be the first LEED-certified concrete residential building in Kelowna, its 116 suites begin at the sixth floor to maximize the surrounding Okanagan views. A choice of light and dark colour schemes emphasize the interiors’ clean lines and elegant features. liveatella.com Square footage (interior): 311 to 1,377
Square footage (interior): 2,300 Bonus feature: Make the most of your sweeping Okanagan view with a 10-foot fold-open NanaWall door.
Bonus feature: Full-height windows are engineered to reduce noise while increasing UV protection and thermal efficiency.
Vert, Kelowna Vert.
Urbana, Kelowna The third and final phase of Urban Green, developer Mission Group’s master-planned community, Urbana is a short walk to downtown, numerous beaches and the popular Pandosy Village district, which is full of one-of-a-kind boutiques and restaurants. Urbana’s four floors of suites—from studio to three-bedroom—will be directly adjacent to the forthcoming Rowcliffe City Park, five acres of greenery featuring walking and cycling routes, a dog park, and the promise of outdoor summer concerts. The structure’s heritage-inspired exterior of red brick and cornice ledges warmly enrich the surrounding environment. centralgreen.ca Square footage (interior): 312 to 1,163 Bonus feature: Acoustically enhanced flooring and party walls mean you can entertain without disturbing your neighbours.
Vert is the most recent addition to Troika Developments’ popular Green Square community, located in Kelowna’s desirable Lower Mission district. Its diverse mix of condos and town homes is surrounded by an exceptional amount of green space (hence the name), with pathways leading to onsite amenities such as a community garden, fitness and yoga studios and a kids’ play area. Gyro and Rotary beaches, parks and the Mission Park Shopping Centre are just a few of the nearby conveniences. greensquare.ca Square footage (interior): 540 to 1,560 Bonus feature: Rooftop terraces offer the perfect vantage point from which to take in water and mountain views.
Hudson Place One, Victoria
Two Waters, Colwood
This is one of the final puzzle pieces of developer Townline’s sprawling Hudson District project. Hudson Place One residents will be in the centre of a modern urban village designed for convenience: a self-contained community containing shops, restaurants and the Victoria Public Market, the Inner Harbour, theatres and other conveniences just steps beyond. One-, two- and three-bedroom suites offer the highest elevated views in downtown Victoria; a fireside lobby lounge and an outdoor courtyard foster a cozy community feel. hudsonplaceone.ca
This 26-acre development is due to bring more than 700 town homes and condos to the picturesque town of Colwood (just 10 kilometres from Victoria) over the next several years. Visit the new presentation centre (170 Goldfinch Road) for more details, but Phase One—made up of 61 two- to four-bedroom town homes—will be on sale this spring. The acclaimed Merrick Architecture is behind the designs. twowaterscolwood.com
Square footage (interior): 455 to 1,253
Bonus feature: A “green network,” including trails and a manmade stream, will lead through the development to the adjacent Esquimalt Lagoon.
Bonus feature: Let Rover roam free and get to know your neighbours in the building’s own fenced off-leash dog run.
Square footage (interior): 938 to 2,317
Riverstone Place, Nanaimo
Those who seek to set down roots in a smaller community but are loath to surrender their urban comforts may find the perfect balance in Nanaimo. Twenty minutes by air from Vancouver, the city of roughly 90,000 is renowned for its coastal views and protected green spaces, but also its cultural activity 34
(including music and theatre festivals), dining and imbibing scenes. Riverstone Place, an intimate five-storey development, offers lovely ocean views from its hilltop location, and is equally close to the waterfront and downtown’s bustling Old City Quarter. Modern suites come in three soft, neutral pal-
ettes that reflect the natural surroundings. riverstoneplace.com Square footage (interior): 535 to 842 Bonus feature: Just back from the trails? Clean up your bike and/or dog in the dedicated washing stations.
Right Size to Pemberton Contemporary two and three bedroom townhomes in Pemberton BC, thoughtfully designed for small-town life with access to big-town amenities. With many benefits such as proximity to Whistler, a vibrant farming community and limitless nature, Pemberton is a logical choiceâ€” whether you are downsizing, looking to invest or just craving a simpler lifestyle. Expected occupancy fall 2020. Priced from $649,000.
Keith McIvor 604-935-2650 | 1-800-667-2993
View the Sunstone masterplan and single family lots at www.sunstonepemberton.com The developer reserves the right to make changes and modification to the project design, specifications and features without notice. E&O.E. This advertisement does not constitute offers of sale capable of acceptance without a Disclosure Statement.
lower mainland Soleil, White Rock The tallest tower in White Rockâ€™s history (26 storeys), this ambitious development of one- and two-bedroom suites is especially noteworthy for the walkability of its location: three minutes to Semiahmoo Shopping Centre and 10 minutes or less to more than three dozen restaurants, five grocery stores, a school and a hospital. On site, 8,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities includes a rooftop fitness deck, yoga and steam rooms plus a childrenâ€™s play area, while the suites themselves boast air conditioning, Bosch appliance packages and (from higher floors) tremendous mountain and water views. soleilwhiterock.com Square footage (interior): 638 to 1,925 Bonus feature: Every master bedroom is large enough to accommodate a king-size frame.
sunshine coast EagleView Heights, Gibsons
This new development of condos and duplexes is testament to the rapidly growing popularity of this diminutive Sunshine Coast town among both retirees and home-based professionals. Located only five minutes from the ferry to Vancouver, more than 85 per cent of homes in Eagle View Heights feature 180-degree-or-greater ocean views. Steps from each light-filled, energy-efficient home are an outdoor pool and a hot tub, a newly landscaped two-acre park, nature trails and the charming shops of Gibsons Landing. eagleviewheights.com Square footage (interior): 800 to 2,400 Bonus feature: Each three-storey six-plex includes an elevator that serves only two homes per floor.
WE TALKED TO CIVIC LEADERS IN 16 CITIES AND TOWNS, RECENTLY IDENTIFIED AS SOME OF THE BEST PLACES FOR WORK IN B.C. IN 2019, TO FIND OUT WHY THEIR COMMUNITIES ARE GREAT PLACES TO WORK AND LIVE. By Robin Brunet Right sizing isn’t just for retirees: relocating can also be driven by economic, lifestyle or career reasons. Communities all over B.C are enjoying brisk growth and an influx of new residents, as BCBusiness magazine discovered when compiling its fifth annual Best Cities for Work Rankings 2019. Author Andrew Macaulay and Environics Analytics used seven economic indicators (everything from income growth to housing starts—and, yes, housing affordability) to rank 46 cities with a population of 10,000 or greater. “Environics provided me with raw data generated by their statistical software modelling, and I did number-crunching,” says Macaulay, who is also a civic planner for the City of Kamloops. The 2019 list demonstrates some departures from past years (in which resource-based towns dominated, for instance, or before outsize real-estate prices lowered some Lower Mainland rankings), but many communities are perennial hot spots, including Prince Rupert, Kelowna and Nanaimo. We talked to civic leaders in some right-sized B.C. cities and towns, focusing on places outside the Lower Mainland and its bedroom communities, to find out why their communities are thriving. Here are 10, organized by economic region—plus a few smaller and up-and-coming places to watch.
FORT ST. JOHN PRINCE RUPERT TERRACE NANAIMO COURTENAY VICTORIA KELOWNA SALMON ARM VERNON
Photo courtesy of Prince Rupert
Photo courtesy of @fsjcity
F o r t S t. J o h n Mayor Lori Ackerman describes her hometown as “young, with an average age of 30, and all the amenities you’d find in a larger city.” Ackerman notes that many of her neighbours moved to Fort St. John 10 or 20 years ago with short-term goals— perhaps to boost their careers or pay off debt with well-paying resource-industry jobs—then stayed. With prosperity linked to oil and gas, forestry, agriculture and mining, the city boasts the highest average household income in B.C. Growing service and retail businesses like Whole Wheat & Honey Café and Peace River Boat and Auto Repairs —just two of more than 75 unique homegrown enterprises—need customer-facing staff and trades to serve its 20,200 residents. 40
Port of Prince Rupert expansion continues to drive renewal here: in 2017 alone, the Ridley Island Propane Export Facility and other projects added more than 300 permanent new jobs to the port’s full-time total of 3,100.
The population of 12,000 is growing, but not as fast as the economy. “There are countless other opportunities here,” says Ceilidh Marlow, project coordinator of Redesign Rupert. “Northern Health is constantly recruiting for physicians, nurses and technical staff; the School District and College are on the hunt for educators and support staff; and the small business, retail, service, and hospitality industries are always looking for qualified employees.” Marlow says the population of 12,000 is growing, but not as fast as the economy. “We have the jobs, now we just need the people!”
Photo courtesy of City of Terrace
Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc calls her formerly logging-dependent city on the Skeena River “the spot in northwest B.C. to do business, perfectly positioned to take advantage of the billions of dollars in major developments occurring in mining, green energy and LNG.” She adds that Terrace “is the location of choice for many established businesses and entrepreneurs” due to being the service, education, and medical hub of the northwest part of the province. City administrators are working to facilitate the development of the Skeena Industrial Development Park as an economic driver, as well as collaborating with Kermodei Tourism to support the continued growth of tourism in the region.
Fort St. John (Move up! you’ll love living here)
Low tax rates for business and attractive economic incentives for development mean Fort St. John is ‘Open for Business.’
Highest household income in BC, and ﬁfth in Canada
Sunny days per year (same as Kelowna)
Average price of a single-family home in 2018
(11 years younger than BC’s median age)
Our natural resource industries create 2.27 million Canadian jobs.
Real people. Real jobs. Real life.
If you are in favour of a strong economy, jobs, and clean energy – SPEAK UP!
fortstjohn.ca We have 200 years of natural resource experience.
Opponents to industry are 3x more likely to speak out than supporters.
VANCOUVER ISLAND Drinks on the patio at Cumberland Brewing Co. along the Nanaimo & Comox Valley Ale Trail. Photo courtesy of BC Ale Trail
Photo courtesy of BC Ale Trail
City Hall. Photo courtesy of Courtenay’s Flickr
Patio overlooking the marina in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Photo courtesy of Destination BC/Reuben Krabbe
The great economic assets here: it’s a central transportation and distribution hub for Vancouver Island and home to an excellent deep-sea port. As Nanaimo mayor Leonard Krog points out, his city no longer relies on the port and on forestry: “We are now a regional centre for health services, technology, retail, construction, manufacturing, education and government services,” he says.
With a population of 25,000, Courtenay is one of the few places in the world where you can go kayaking in the morning, cycle at lunch, ski in the afternoon—and end the day at a fivestar restaurant.
“One of the great small cities of the world, a walkable city with a historic downtown,” is how Jim Zeeban, project manager for the region’s chamber of commerce, describes Victoria. He adds that these very same attributes are also proving to be a magnet for technology companies whose employees value a high quality of life. The tech sector in turn is supported by the fact that the two other major tech hubs in the west—Vancouver and Seattle—are only 20 minutes away by airplane.
According to the city’s latest community profile, health care and wholesale/retail trade are the biggest employers, followed by construction, accommodation and food, scientific and technical services, education and manufacturing. “Businesses locate in Nanaimo because of the cost efficiencies and a complete range of telecommunications services. We also offer a well-trained, stable and educated workforce,” says Krog. 42
Although traditionally dependent on resource industries, Courtenay in recent years has focused its economic growth on supplying services to its growing retiree community and military families at CFB Comox, the largest employer in the Comox Valley (around 1,400 jobs). Hospitality jobs are also abundant, thanks to the steady increase in tourism.
A stable and well-managed public sector, tourism industry and real estate market make Greater Victoria an even more attractive place for investors, corporations, and entrepreneurs to consider, Zeeban adds.
Downtown Kelowna at Pandosy Street and West Avenue. Photo courtesy of Destination BC/Tanya Goehring
Dilworth Mountain Park overlooking Kelowna. Photo courtesy of Destination BC/Tanya Goehring
Photo courtesy of Salmon Arm Economic Development Society
Kelowna remains one of the fastest-growing areas in Canada, with low unemployment and job vacancies in many sectors, says Caroline Miller, policy analyst for the chamber of commerce. “Especially in the tech realms of digital media and animation. Although our manufacturing base is small, it too has vacancies.” The service, transportation, office, agriculture and health care sectors are thriving, and cannabis production promises to create yet further opportunities for entrepreneurs and newcomers.
Chamber of commerce president Fiona Harris moved her family to this neck of the woods years ago and has never looked back. She says, “We’re a tourist town in the summer and supported economically by forestry. We have a lot of thriving manufacturing businesses, and even the tech industry is gradually gaining a foothold.”
Miller characterizes Kelowna as a “‘people-sized’ city with many, if not most, amenities for all ages,” and she credits Okanagan College and the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus for injecting a healthy dose of vitality into the region.
As with many lifestyle-oriented communities in B.C., people are able to move to Salmon Arm and thrive “thanks to the trend of working remotely via smartphone and laptop,” says Harris. These new, telecommuting residents create new economic activity and job opportunities through the services they require, she explains.
Telecommuting residents create new economic activity and job opportunities through the services they require.
Where Families Flourish
View lots from $219,900
10 minutes to Golf
20 minutes to Downtown
Showhome Hours Mon-Wed 10am-4pm Sat, Sun & Holidays 10am-2pm or call 778-738-2181 ext. 101. 765 Concordia Street, Kelowna, BC.
The List Our Right Sizing selections highlight some of the smaller communities on the Best Cities for Work in B.C. 2019 list (from bcbusiness.ca).
3. District of North Vancouver
4. Township of Langley
5. Kelowna 6. Prince Rupert 7.
City of Langley
8. City of North Vancouver 9. Fort St. John
26. Prince George
29. Pitt Meadows 30. Dawson Creek 31. Vancouver 32. Burnaby 33. Williams Lake 34. Duncan/North Cowichan
35. North Comox
41. Powell River
18. Port Coquitlam
19. Salmon Arm
43. New Westminster
44. Campbell River
46. Port Alberni
Downtown Kamloops at 4th avenue & Victoria Street, on the roof of the Plaza Hotel. Photo courtesy of Destination BC/Tanya Goehring
10. Maple Ridge
Photo courtesy of Downtown Kamloops
Although Kamloops has, in the past, been perceived as having greater unemployment rates than other regional boomtowns, Joshua Knaak, chamber of commerce president, says nothing could be further from reality: “We need people; we need trades specialists and many other professionals.”
Dione Chambers, general manager of the area chamber of commerce, notes that Vernon has always been attractive due to its natural attributes and reasonable housing costs, “but families are locating here because of the jobs—and there are lots of them.” Tourism is growing in Vernon, “and new types of tourism such as agri-tourism are taking hold and recruiting staff,” she says.
With nearly 100,000 residents, Kamloops is growing, with many large-scale construction projects underway. “A $500-million expansion of our hospital and the expansion of Thompson Rivers University are just two,” says Knaak. From well-established firms and services to high-tech, health care, and heavy industry, many opportunities exist, and Knaak’s message to potential residents is simple: “We welcome you with open arms. You’ll enjoy a great standard of living here.”
So, too, are businesses that call Vernon their headquarters, including Kal Tire, forestry product company Tolko and research specialist SQM Group. Quebecbased Vegpro hired managers and agrologists when it set up operations here last year, says Chambers. “But the biggest job openings of late have been in our city’s planning department—a sure sign that even more growth is coming.”
Welcome home to Merritt, BC
Join Our Growing Number Of Active Community Members Who Have Moved From The Lower Mainland To Merritt!
In Merritt, we pride ourselves on being centrally located between Kamloops, Kelowna and Vancouver. As the gateway to the BC Interior, Merritt is often sought after as a transportation hub. With affordable housing and commercial land, Merritt City Council has the goal to double the current population within the next 10 years. We invite you to be a part of this growth!
Merritt is Currently Seeking: •
Business able to excel in a transportation hub environment
Industrial businesses seeking fully serviced land and able to benefit from tax exemption programs
Highway commercial businesses able to service the gateway to the BC interior
Businesses able to provide enhanced visitor products and experiences to meet the needs of thousands of guests
Friendly residents looking for a smaller City with large community amenities
To learn more and hear why Merritt might be the right move for you, contact: Will George, City of Merritt Manager of Economic Development Direct Line: (250) 378-8619 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.merritt.ca
ONES TO WATCH Right Sizing likes the looks of these promising areas, which are packed with live-work-play potential.
Nicola Lake just minutes outside of Merritt. Photo by Darren Robinson
With its bustling commercial hub and reputation as a destination for outdoor adventure, Penticton currently has several hundred jobs advertised, according to Kim Kirkham, executive director of the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce. “The hot sectors are skilled trades, health care and technical positions,” she says. Kirkham lists the local economic drivers as manufacturing; the wine, beer and spirits sector; technology; and tourism, events and culture.
North Cowichan markets itself as having everything to help business flourish, including an easily accessible transportation network and a fast-growing population. Former mayor Jon Lefebure, president of Lefco Developments, says, “There’s a great crosspollination of activity in the Cowichan Valley overall, with our pulp mill benefitting the hospitality industry, our vineyards paving the way for distilleries to locate here, which in turn has caused food companies to open up shop.”
Fernie in the East Kootenay grew by 18 per cent according to the latest federal census—no surprise to Patty Vadnais, executive director of the Fernie Chamber of Commerce. “We’re a fantastic B.C. mountain town, with many hospitality openings as well as a strong need for skilled tradespeople.” Vadnais says, “My colleagues in the region, including Cranbrook, Kimberly, and Castlegar, are enjoying similarly robust economies.” Tech company Traction on Demand, founded by a Nelson native, recently opened a new office there.
In 2017, CBC noted that job growth in Campbell River had increased by 1,000 positions in a two-year period; today, it’s a centre of forestry-related education and still renowned as The Salmon Capital of the World. Rose Klukas, the city’s economic development officer, says 2017 “was exceptional for business activity, but by the fall of 2018 we were up 29 per cent compared to 2017—and our aim is to top that in 2019.”
Kitimat A new $40-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project announced for Kitimat last year included plans for 10,000 new construction-phase workers—that’s more people than the existing population of 8,000. Most will be housed in oilsands-style camps, but new communities are in development and the economic climate is hot. 48
Merritt With a population of 7,000, Merritt is a small city with a big reputation, thanks in part to famous musical and sporting events. Two new hotels and the Merritt Green Energy power plant opening are further indications that it’s broadening its economic base. “Tourism is on the rise, as is construction, and we’re currently attracting new businesses via tax exemptions and other initiatives,” says Will George, Merritt’s economic development and tourism manager.
NAKUSP Enjoy lakefront living in beautiful Nakusp, BC This brand new triplex is architecturally-designed and has a Passive House certification with ultra energy efficiency and includes an onsite caretaker. The 1,500 sq. ft. units are offered at the low price of $749,000. For more info, contact Joel LeBlanc, Royal LePage Selkirk Realty phone 250-265-3635 email email@example.com
Bespoke Building As customized for your family as a tailored suit is to its wearer, a new home designed and constructed in collaboration with the right builder can make dreams come true. Hereâ€™s insider advice on how to do it. By Michael White
The purchase of a custom residence might just be the ultimate dream: like a confirmation of financial stability and a clear personal vision of the future, all in one. But a custom home also introduces a raft of possibilities that, to some, can seem daunting. An empty residential lot is an enormous question mark to those who perhaps lack design savvy, or have ideas but have never collaborated with a builder before. Should you choose a pre-existing house plan or design something from scratch? What are your greatest priorities, and will your lot and your budget accommodate them? How, even, does one find the right builder in the first place? We spoke to some long-established, highly regarded B.C.based builders about the most important steps every soon-to-be custom-homeowner needs to take to make the designing and building processes as smooth as possible.
Rendering courtesy of Discovery Homes
Preferred Builders Increasingly, the most desirable locations in which to build a custom home are master-planned communities: neighbourhoods whose every amenity and aesthetic consideration has been determined in advance by an experienced property developer. These developers usually partner with a trusted builder, which offers its own selection of house plans that have been designed exclusively for the community. These designs smooth the building process both for developers, who are able to retain a standard of quality and visual consistency in their community, and for consumers, who are relieved of the intimidating task of conceptualizing their new home from thin air. Naturally, however, most homebuyers have a wish list of features that may deviate somewhat from a pre-existing plan. Developers and the builders anticipate this. “In our developments, we have homes that are ‘market ready,’” says Kim Barnstable, project manager and director of construction for Vancouver-based Wesbild Homes, whose projects include Predator Ridge in Vernon. “I always say if you like 80 per cent of what you see in that home, then we don’t have to go to the trouble of a cus-
tom plan. We can customize the remaining 20 per cent, and then we’re a long way down the road. We already have budget numbers attached to it, we have a designer who’s already worked with that plan and we can save a lot of time and money.” Wilden Real Estate, which presides over a still-evolving 2,000-acre development in Kelowna, has cultivated numerous long-term relationships with building professionals over more than 20 years in the industry. “We’ve gone out and f ound the builders we’re comfortable handing one of our lot buyers over to,” says Brent Couves, vice president of sales. “We don’t ask someone to buy a lot until they’re comfortable after meeting with one of our four builders and have a preliminary building quote. Only then do we move forward.” Lindal Cedar Homes works a bit differently, becoming not just a custom builder but a project manager when a client engages an architect for a home design, explains vice president of operations Barbara Pocha. “We’re the intermediaries. We act as an advocate. We oversee the architectural designs, the costs, the contractors and trades… and we oversee the project from start until after move-in.”
choosing your builder
The surplus of choice when building outside of a planned community means buyers often become overwhelmed by possibilities, both when choosing a builder and making design decisions. “Personal synergy is huge!” exclaims Wilden’s Couves, referring to the relationship between a first-time custom-homebuyer and a builder. “I recommend they interview at least three builders before making a choice.” Wesbild’s Barnstable brings up the primary consideration first: “It can be an awkward conversation sometimes, but we get it out on the table immediately: ‘What’s your budget?’” he says. “There’s nothing more frustrating than spending months designing something, only to have the budget come in tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars too high. He explains that they prefer not to use price per square foot as the only determining factor in a design. “There are so many things that go into the actual cost of a house… your flooring, your cabinets, your landscaping—they can affect the per-square-foot price dramatically.”
Building a custom home is “a three-way dance between the property, the intended usage or lifestyle of the owner and the budget.” – Ravin Manhas, Pan-Abode
Rauvin Manhas, president of Pan-Abode, which specializes in customizable cedar homes, points out that the property itself can have a significant bearing on the total cost of a build, especially if it’s on an undeveloped lot in a rural community. He cites a recent project, when the builder ran into unanticipated conditions laying a foundation. “They had to blast away all sorts of rock, which wasn’t originally part of the budget.” Ultimately, says Manhas, building a custom home is “a three-way dance between the property, the intended usage or lifestyle of the owner and the budget. These all need to be addressed in coming up with a design that’s going to be ideal.”
Photo courtesy of BC Timberframe
Renderings courtesy of Pan-Abode
Move up to greater luxury and value
S E N D E R O CA N YO N
is Penticton’s dynamic community of brand new homes and spectacular park amenities. Contact us today to learn about our future-ready construction standards, diverse home designs, and selection of lots with lake and mountain views.
Quality homes for a quality life. SENDEROCA NYON.CA
This is not an offering for sale. Any such offering can only be made by way of disclosure statement. E.&O.E. Rendering is conceptual. Any speciﬁcations in this depiction may change at the developer’s sole discretion without notice.
Paradox of Choice Whether designing a 100 per cent custom home or making modifications to an existing plan, there are certain must-haves that homebuyers are requesting from builders time and again. According to regional builders, these include: •
Larger kitchens and garages (especially in communities where boats and motorhomes aren’t allowed in driveways);
Enhanced and expanded outdoor living spaces, including built-in barbecues;
Engineered hardwood and vinyl-plank flooring;
Wireless security systems;
Folding divider walls between convertible interior spaces;
Discreet (often concealed behind an ordinary door) elevators;
Mudrooms and fire-retardant building materials, especially for homes in the B.C. Interior.
Photo courtesy of Discovery Homes
Photo courtesy of Predator Ridge
Word on the Street It may seem obvious, but builders themselves overwhelmingly suggest personal referrals as the best resource when searching for a builder. Explore finished homes in the region where you’ve purchased your lot; often, those that most closely resemble your ideal have the same professionals behind them. “If a potential client comes in liking what they’ve seen and heard, if they know that we’re known for doing good work or they’ve been in one of our show homes, then we’ve already established a level of comfort,” says Barnstable of Wesbild. “That’s probably the biggest hurdle, especially if the client has had any bad experiences with other builders in the past.” “You want to look for longevity of experience, for references, you want to look at the builds that they’ve done in the past, the quality of product they deliver, and the architectural style,” says Pocha of Lindal Cedar Homes. A poorly matched or disreputable builder can render all your dreams moot, so take your time and ask every question that comes to mind before signing a contract—and retain a realestate lawyer to review it. The BC Housing website answers would-be homeowners’ most commonly asked questions and provides a public registry of licensed residential builders. The Canadian Home Builder’s Association of BC, the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association and similar regional organizations also offer directories and provide guidance for consumers. 54
Building Good Neighbours Making a home design comply with the surrounding community— everything from height and colour to roof pitch and seismic suitability—may require layers of bureaucracy. Fortunately, most builders are well versed in acquiring various clearances on a homebuyer’s behalf. “Before we start, we get all the architectural requirements,” says Lindal’s Pocha, which might involve consulting national, provincial, civic and developer building codes. The other variable is time. Custom homebuyers rightly expect perfection in return for their substantial investment, but achieving perfection means the meticulous execution of numerous steps involving the input of many conscientious professionals, all of whom are routinely circling back for client approval. “If you’ve bought a lot and you’ve come in to start designing a home, you’re probably at least four months away, and that’s optimistically, from having everything in place before you can actually put a shovel in the ground,” says Wesbild’s Barnstable. “That’s what people, in the initial meeting, really have to grapple with.”
Yet the final reward of a custom home will be well worth the potential complexities and the effort, builders and their clients say. At the end of your journey, you have a home unlike any other.
“If you’ve bought a lot and you’ve come in to start designing a home, you’re probably at least four months away from having everything in place.” – Kim Barnstable, Wesbild “It doesn’t have to be daunting: it can be one of the most gratifying experiences,” says Brad Pelletier, Wesbild’s senior vice president, Okanagan. “People come to love it and, in fact, become almost addicted to it. They complete one custom home, only to be already thinking about the next one.”
Photo courtesy of Predator Ridge
Hot Southern California destinations for living, retiring and investing.
Andalucia, La Quinta. Photo courtesy of Sheri Dettman & Associates
By Tracey Rayson Renowned for its fusion of midcentury-modern design and desert, Palm Springs and the broader Coachella Valley became famous as a luxe escape for 1950s and ’60s A-list celebrities like Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor. Today, Coachella has a second wind, thanks to the eponymous music and arts festival that has brought a new generation to the region. With more than 350 days of sunshine annually, the golf-centric destination (122 courses) is a haven for B.C. homebuyers looking to escape winter’s wrath.
A RETIREMENT PARADISE VALLEY John Rayson and his wife, Vivian, divide their retirement years between Indio, California, and their Kootenay Lake summer home. In 2009, they purchased a 1,488-square-foot single-family home for $245,000 (all prices in U.S. dollars) in Sun City Shadow Hills, a 55plus gated community for active adults. The amenities (two golf 56
courses, a lit 18-hole putting course, sports courts, pools and spa) were part of the appeal; plus, they knew four Cranbrook couples who bought in the same development. “We put $35,000 [of upgrades] into it and it’s worth approximately $310,000 now,” John says, estimating a tidy 10 per cent return if they sold today.
FROM BUYERS TO SELLERS “The market has transitioned slowly over the last couple of years from a buyers’ market to a sellers’ market,” says Ed Borquez, a realtor with Sheri Dettman & Associates in La Quinta, who often represents Canadian buyers. With low inventory pushing home prices up, Coachella real estate is a promising bet. “The supply ratio has gone down considerably, as well as the amount you can expect the seller to discount. Properties are taking half the time to sell,” says Bourquez, who often coaches clients to offer close to asking price these days.
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NEW HOME DREAMS Along with the robust resale market, many new developments are popping up—especially in Palm Springs, the hottest market in the region. According to Borquez, La Quinta has some of the most expensive developments, and Indian Wells has the highest percentage of well-off retirees, followed by Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. Though the average valley detached home price is $395,000, Bourquez says, “One million gets you either a new or newer, very well-built home in some cities, or an older golf-course home,” with new golf-course homes priced closer to $1.2-million.
Villas of Mirada, Rancho Mirage. Photo courtesy of Sheri Dettman & Associates
Like many second-home buyers, Canadians here (60 or 70 per cent of Borquez’s clients, for example) tend to pay in cash rather than through loans. With sellers receiving multiple cash offers, Borquez suggests winning strategies for his clients, like paying towards the seller’s closing costs.
COACHELLA VALLEY AT A GLANCE Nine distinct cities stretch south from Desert Hot Springs: Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Indian Wells, Bermuda Dunes, Indio and Coachella. WestJet flies direct to Palm Springs from Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton; by car, it’s a 21-hour drive (2,221 km) from Vancouver to Palm Springs. Here are some of the hottest new projects. Palm Springs The Downtown Project by Grit Developments: Phase 1 of this urban community puts you in reach of the nearby Palm Springs Art Museum, shopping and cool eateries like Haus of Poké, Stout Burgers & Beer and Il Corso. Visit Grit Developments on Facebook Desert Palisades: Three minutes from downtown Palm Springs, this midcentury-design community has 110 custom homesites along the Chino Canyon, with sweeping views. desertpalisades.com Rancho Mirage Del Webb at Rancho Mirage: Ten different single-storey detached home options here all have open, lifestyle-driven designs, some with perks like a gourmet kitchen or golf-cart garage. delwebb.com Indio Lido at Terra Lago: With lakefront single-family and paired homes, this community counts a golf course, pool, fitness centre, clubhouse and playground among its lifestyle perks. lidoterralago.com Palm Desert Genesis Palm Desert: Part of the Millennium gated community, this group of semi-custom single-family residences includes a dog park, swimming pool and exercise facility. genesislivingpd.com
INCOME-PROPERTY POTENTIAL In June 2017, North Vancouver residents Candace and Andrew Denis bought a 1,900-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bathroom home for $348,000 in La Quinta’s PGA West gated community, overlooking the Stadium Course. “La Quinta is a bit of a premium, but we bought while we’re still working,” says Candace, who has covered regular costs and $25,000 in renovations through renting the property. Their homeowners’ association fees are relatively steep (at $550 per month), but worth it, she says, for cutting-edge amenities like concierge service, an open-air bar with a fire pit, kids’ splash pad, drive-in golf cart movie theatre and dog park. The lock-and-leave security of a gated community is attractive, particularly if a home will be vacant for any period. Borquez cautions investors seeking strictly cash-flow properties—wherever they buy—to verify that shortterm rentals are permitted, because they’re not allowed in every area or development.
“Our family’s Pan-Abode has stood the test of time, is still able to impress and is our most prized possession. We use it many weekends in the coldest of winters and we still get complements on how cozy and comfortable it is.” - J. PENDLETON
The Original www.panabode.com 1.800.665.0660
Building Original Memories Since 1948
Jill Rutherford and Andrew Hayden at Fernie Distillers. Photo courtesy of birr.
SMALL BUSINESS, SMALL TOWN Have you ever dreamed of quitting your corporate job in the big city and moving to a small town to start, say, that jewelry store, winery or artisanal cheese shop of your dreams? Here’s how to make the dream a reality. By Michelle Hopkins Former Calgarians Jill Rutherford and her husband, Andrew Hayden, vacationed in Fernie for 20 years, falling in love with the quaint, friendly mountain town of 5,000 residents. “Andrew and I fantasized for years about how we could leave Calgary and move to Fernie,” says Rutherford. Three years ago, they started getting serious. “After doing our research, we narrowed it down to the idea of opening a distillery,” says the mother of two young children. In 2018, Fernie Distillers became the town’s first maker of artisan spirits. Rutherford and Hayden focused on their strengths: he has a background in sales and management in the pharmaceutical and liquor industries, while Rutherford’s degrees in geology and geophysics engineering made distilling a good technical fit.
Both knew starting a business in a small town could present challenges: there might be fewer potential customers, or perhaps the locals would have less money to spend on luxuries than urbanites would. “It came down to our strengths, passions and whether or not our business idea could be supported by the local community during the shoulder season,” says Rutherford, one of a few female artisan distillers in Canada. Fernie Distillers has firmly entrenched itself in the community, one that Rutherford sees getting stronger over time. “Fernie is experiencing a lot of momentum right now,” says Rutherford, praising the strong local chamber of commerce and an active tourism board.
REALITY CHECK When deciding where to relocate your family, and potentially become a start-up business owner, the local economic drivers are among the most important considerations, says Barb Wild, a Forum for Women Entrepreneurs mentor with long experience in assisting B.C. start-up businesses in the food and beverage industry. “When thinking about where to launch a business, find out what kind of support the community offers: are there tax or other financial incentives to start businesses in the area, what is the economic growth and what does the town need?” asks Wild. She also suggests researching what type of economic development, networking and support organizations are available for business owners, and calculating the cost of distances from larger cities or transportation hubs, from which you’ll get supplies or raw materials. Small businesses create a lot of economic activity: according to the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology’s Small Business Profile 2018 report, more than half a million businesses—or roughly 98 per cent of all businesses in B.C.—are classified as small businesses, with fewer than 50 employees (about 80 per cent of those have fewer than five employees). Since 2014, B.C. has led the country in small-business growth.
A SMALL (BUSINESS) CHECKLIST Do your homework: research if your idea/product is feasible in your chosen market.
Network: meet people in the community who can help, support or be customers.
Start-up smarts: consider pricing, promotion and costs to launch and operate until profitability.
Get with the plan: write a business and financial plan, follow the plan— and change it when required.
Reality check: meet with an objective third party to review the plan.
LOCATION, LOCATION The report pinpoints some small-business hot spots. Leading the way is the large region that encompasses the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley communities to the east, Squamish and Whistler to the north and the Sunshine Coast. All regions in B.C. saw small-business growth from 2014–17, with the Kootenays leading the way at nearly 20 per cent growth. Four out of every five small businesses are in the service sector, says the report, with construction and utilities leading the way. Professional and business services (like accounting, legal, tax, marketing and design) are also hot.
Go online: from logo and website design to social media advice and local events, find free or inexpensive resources online.
Before you decide to make a move, Wild agrees with Rutherford: you’ll need to “find synchronicity between your passion, your business plan and your town—then all the green lights should be there for you,” notes Wild, who has turned her own passion and expertise into a wine education and consulting company. “In this era of entrepreneurship, location shouldn’t stop anyone from starting a company—in fact, it could be an asset.” With technology, a strong website and social-media presence can help drive many businesses. “It’s never been easier to set up a business entity, ever,” says Wild. “Having [intellectual property] and scalability is the key to success no matter where in the world you live, work or play.”
THE 881 AT UPTOWN WHAT A collection of 61 modern one- and two-bedroom luxury condos located near Uptown and Mayfair shopping centres. WHERE Saanich. WHEN Anticipated completion in winter 2019 (more than 70 per cent sold). kangandgill.com/projects/the-881-at-uptown
Victoria: Boom Town
No matter what type of home or lifestyle you’re searching for, B.C.’s capital city and surrounding region has a development in the works to help make your right-sizing dreams come true.
By Right Sizing Staff
For links to all developments, go to www.rightsizingmedia.com/Developers All offerings are subject to change without notice; please contact developers directly for the latest details.
WHAT Two soaring 15- and 17-storey concrete and glass towers, with 206 one- and two-bedroom condos starting from $429,000. WHERE Downtown Victoria. WHEN Completion Summer 2019. 989victoria.com/#989
WHAT This community has 30 one- and two-bedroom modern condominiums, with four live/work units. WHERE Brentwood Bay. WHEN Completion Spring 2019 (more than 50 per cent sold). thearbours.ca
AVERY LANE WHAT A boutique collection of 16 three- and four-bedroom town homes are only moments from Oak Bay and Estevan Village. WHERE West of Carnarvon. WHEN Selling Spring 2019. abstractdevelopments.com/developments/avery-lane
BEAR MOUNTAIN WHAT Pinehurst single-family lots with ocean, Goldstream Park and Olympic Mountain vistas. Build your dream home here. WHERE Bear Mountain, Victoria. WHEN Selling Spring 2019; complete Fall 2019. bearmountain.ca
CAPITAL PARK WHAT There are 175 units here, ranging from one-bedroom condos to three-bedroom plus den town homes. Homes range from 525– 1,757 square feet, with prices from $489,900. WHERE Victoria’s Inner Harbour. WHEN Under construction. capitalparkvictoria.com
CUSTOMS HOUSE WHAT The original Customs House was built in 1914 on the granite foundations of the city’s 1898 Post Office. The Harbour collection consists of one-, two-, three-bedroom and penthouse suites. The Urban collection will have one-, two- and two-bedroom-plus-den options. WHERE Victoria’s Inner Harbour. WHEN Register now. customshouse.ca Photo courtesy of Westbay Quay
Photo courtesy of Hudson Place One
WHAT Five buildings with 20 two-bedroom, two-bathroom suites
WHAT More than 200 urban living spaces are rising, including 18
at the heart of Pacific Landing, ranging in size from 1,097–2,100-
studios, 195 one-bedroom and 16 penthouse units. WHERE Downtown
plus square feet. Prices start at $555,000. WHERE Colwood.
Victoria. WHEN Move in early 2019 (more than 85 per cent sold).
WHEN Phase 2 now selling with completion Spring 2019.
THE LEGACY WHAT The Legacy at Westhills is a community of lofts, duplexes,
WHAT Explore options among 62 one- and two-bedroom homes,
town homes and single-family homes starting at $559,900.
from 473–1,882 square feet and ranging in price from the high
WHERE Langford Lake. WHEN Phase 5 and 6 now selling.
$300,000s to the low $600,000s. WHERE Cedar Hill. WHEN Under
construction; only 18 homes remain. abstractdevelopments.com/developments/fifteen88-2
LYRA RESIDENCES THE HARO
WHAT There are 38 spacious, two-bedroom concrete homes with panoramic views. WHERE Christmas Hill neighbourhood, Saanich.
WHAT Spread over three unique buildings, 91 luxury ocean-view
WHEN Phase 2 now selling.
homes in Cordova Bay feature one-, two- and three-bedroom suites.
WHERE Saanich. WHEN Sales centre now open. theharo.com
HUDSON PLACE ONE
WHAT A community of new homes featuring duplexes, town
WHAT This 25-storey residential tower will be the tallest building
homes and 38 modern condos, including six penthouses. WHERE
in Victoria, with commanding views of the region. It will include 176
Saanich Peninsula. WHEN Now selling (condos 50 per cent sold).
one-, two- and three-bedroom luxury residences. WHERE Downtown
Victoria. WHEN Now selling. hudsonplaceone.ca
OAKS AT BELLEWOOD PARK WHAT A community of 83 homes including one-, two- and
WHAT Chapter One – 515 Chatham offers studio and one-bed-
three-bedroom premium residences (from $650,000), penthouses
room condominiums in architecturally unique buildings on two
(from $1,750,000) and town homes (from $1,500,000).
blocks of a charming, historic urban district. WHERE Old Town.
WHERE Upper Fort. WHEN Now selling (50 per cent sold).
WHEN Under construction. ironworksliving.com
ROYAL BAY SEASIDE COMMUNITY WHAT A modern seaside community of 80 heritage-inspired three-bedroom single-family homes (from the mid-$600,000s), plus 30 two-, three- and four-bedroom town homes from (the high-$400,000s), built by GableCraft Homes. WHERE Colwood. WHEN Now selling. royalbay.ca
SPIRIT BAY WHAT Set in an ancient forest next to the Salish Sea, this small seaside village is a collection of unique one- and two-bedroom lofts and two-bedroom (some with den) and three-bedroom homes. WHERE Metchosin. WHEN Now selling. spiritbay.ca
TWO WATERS WHAT A unique village community of 61 town homes will be developed over three buildings, starting from the mid-$400,000s. WHERE Between Colwood and the Esquimalt Lagoon Bird Sanctuary. Photo courtesy of The Yates on Yates
WHEN Phase 1 now selling. twowaterscolwood.com
THE PEARL RESIDENCES
WHAT This collection of 133 modern homes in a historic setting
WHAT Find 11 exclusive two-bedroom residences, including two
includes studio, one-, two-, two-plus-den and three-bedroom plans. WHERE Downtown Victoria. WHEN Sales centre now open. thepearlresidences.ca
exclusive luxury penthouses. Up to 1,643 square feet, with dens in most homes. WHERE Downtown Sidney. WHEN Now selling. velabythesea.com
THE YATES ON YATES
WHAT The Pinnacle at Sayward Hill consists of 46 contemporary
WHAT With 22 two- and three- bedroom condominiums and
luxury condominiums. The sub-penthouse unit features two bedrooms, two bathrooms, den and office. Priced at $1,843,000 (including GST). WHERE Victoria. WHEN Hurry: selling fast! saywardhill.com
signature penthouses, this building is located between Blanshard and Quadra Streets. WHERE Downtown Victoria. WHEN Under construction; now selling. yatesonyates.com
THE QUARTET WHAT The Quartet is a collection of 19 one-, two- and three-bedroom modern condominiums and three live/work spaces. WHERE Downtown Sidney. WHEN Now selling (40 per cent sold).
WHAT West Commons in Royal Bay is a seaside community of 63 two-, three- and four-bedroom town homes from $449,000 (plus GST). WHERE Colwood. WHEN Now selling. gablecrafthomes.ca/community/west-commons
WHAT Westbay Quay consists of three buildings: Topaz, Lapis and
WHAT Three 18-unit condominium buildings in total, with two- and
Sapphire. This 85-unit concrete condominium complex has one-bed-
three-bedroom condos in each starting from $574,900. WHERE
room, two-bedroom and live/work suites. WHERE Esquimaltâ€™s
Downtown Sidney. WHEN Phase 1 now selling. regattapark.ca
West Bay waterfront. WHEN Now selling. westbayquay.com
Breathtaking Ocean and Mountain Views!
Spacious Central Saanich Family Home
Updated One Level Home on Corner Lot
Call or text The Neal Estate Team at 250.386.8181 for FREE consultation when Buying or Selling Real Estate in Victoria and on Vancouver Island.
NAKUSP SPRINGS TO MIND The West Kootenay town is just off-the-beaten-track enough to be newly discovered. By Bob Keating There is still a place surrounded by towering mountains and ringed with natural hot springs, off the beaten path but on the highway. A place where a starter home is the price of a residential lot in most B.C. cities, and where a lot is the price of an SUV. “It’s absolutely gorgeous here,” says Karen Hamling, who moved with her two then-toddlers to Nakusp from the Lower Mainland in the early 1970s, and never left. “It was just such a great place to raise kids,” she says. “They got a good education and there were all sorts of things for them to do.” Hamling was so taken by her adopted home she ran for council and remained for well over two decades, 13 of them as mayor. Like many interior B.C. towns, Nakusp was founded by miners looking to strike it rich in gold and silver in the late 1800s. Most didn’t, but they set down roots in a lush valley surrounded by the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains. Nakusp had a bustling fruit and vegetable growing industry, supplemented by logging activity. In the late 1960s, a dam was constructed for flood prevention, creating the Arrow Lakes reservoir (as it’s now known), a place of great beauty and recreation.
“Naksup still has that quirky, small-town feel,” says Salina Riemer from CMH Heli-Skiing, which pioneered helicopter lifts for skiers to untracked mountainsides. The company chose Nakusp as home for one of its main lodges, CMH Kootenay. “The terrain is absolutely incredible. It’s an easy drive from Spokane [Washington] and Kelowna. We’ll often fly into hot springs for après-ski at the end of the day. Where else can you do that?” The hot springs are Nakusp’s other natural calling cards: two beautiful commercial hot springs (Nakusp and Halcyon) are just outside town and many more wild (and free) hot springs are peppered throughout the mountains. The price of homes is a draw, too. “Young people can get into a starter home for $250,000 to $275,000. It’s really affordable,” says Kelly Roberts, owner of Selkirk Realty. While Nakusp is easy enough to find, at the junction of Highways 6 and 23, the natural hot springs are somewhat of an insider’s secret. “Just ask a local,” says former mayor Hamling—or become one.
Nakusp and Upper Arrow Lakes from Vicky’s View observation point. Photo courtesy of Destination BC/Kari Medig
B E A R M O U N TA I N R E S O R T / V I C T O R I A
N OW S E L L I N G ! BUILD YOUR DREAM HOME TODAY! Lots from $449,000 to $649,000
With only 39 freehold lots available this is your opportunity to live in Bear Mountain’s newest gated community — Pinehurst. Choose one of our approved builders or invite your own design and construction team to work with the Design Review Panel at Bear Mountain.
R E A L E S TAT E E N Q U I R E S : 2 5 0 - 3 9 1 - 6 1 0 0 B E A R M O U N TA I N . C A / L I V E H E R E
GETTING HERE IS EASY. LEAVING MAY BE THE HARDEST THING YOU EVER DO.
Located 25 minutes from the Kelowna International Airport, Predator Ridge offers a set of activities unlike any other. Golf, tennis & pickle ball, hiking, biking, yoga, swimming, snowshoeing as well as 5-star and casual dining are tucked discreetly into nature. We donâ€™t fight what mother nature gave us; we celebrate it.
Test drive the Predator Ridge life this Spring. All-suite accommodation starting from $189.* Call 1.888.578.6688 to book your stay today.
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