Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Vancouver’

Staying Away from The Vancouver 2010 Olympics? Forget It! Go!

Image Credit: Jeffery Simpson on Flickr (Click for profile)

I was one of those people before. I had no interest in taking the ferry to Vancouver and braving the crowds, lines and security to hang out downtown. What’s the big deal?

I was wrong. I returned from Vancouver yesterday totally energized and excited about the Games. The city is simply buzzing with activity 24 hours a day. Yes it’s busy, yes it’s crowded, but that’s half the fun. If you’re complaining that the Olympics are a 2-week party for the rich, you’re dead wrong. I didn’t have a ticket to any events, nor a plan or a list of attractions I wanted to see. I spent next to nothing, but felt like I took in everything.

And it couldn’t be easier for us in the greater Victoria area. BC Ferries has added an early morning (6:00am) and late evening (midnight) sailing for your convenience. Bus to or park at Swartz Bay terminal, walk on the ferry. Take one of the many buses outside the Tsawwassen terminal and get on the Canada Line downtown. Quick and easy. There might be a lineup, but with trains coming every 3 minutes or so, you won’t be waiting long. I never had to wait for more than one train before being able to get on. Wander around, explore. Take in some of the free entertainment at the various pavilions. See the Olympic flame burning outside the convention centre. Feel the vibe and enjoy the spirit!

Watch the events unfold from numerous outdoor high-definition screens. There really is nothing like it – standing on the street, cheering on our athletes with 1000 of your closest friends. Everyone is smiling, waving flags and having a great time.

The Richmond O-Zone is great too. Just steps from the Richmond-Brighouse Canada Line station, this 60-acre site includes a large mainstage with free concerts all Games long, beer gardens, restaurants, arts and culture displays, the ever-popular Holland Heineken House, and BC Street, where you’ll find displays from all over our glorious province, enticing the world to come and visit. Sooke’s booth has really stolen the show, people absolutely love it.

Try out the Olympic line – an electric streetcar (with comfy leather seats!) on loan from Brussels, Belgium – and you thought sprouts were the attraction from Brussels. It runs from Olympic Village Canada Line station to Granville Island, where you can take in even more Olympic fun, including House of Switzerland, and Atlantic Canada House.

I had an awesome, exciting weekend and didn’t spend a lot of money. Transit is cheap and reliable, and with so much free stuff to do, you’d be remiss not to take it all in.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!
Just use the form or link below this post.

You can bookmark this post using the button below,
or subscribe to this blog for free updates using the big buttons on the sidebar!

Sooke BC at the 2010 Olympics [Video]

Sooke 2010 Booth Under Construction

Sooke 2010 Booth Under Construction

With just 10 days to go until the 2010 Olympic Winter Games open in Vancouver, the excitement is growing and reports from Vancouver indicate the atmosphere on the streets is electric as athletes, supporters, and visitors are already arriving in town.

Sooke is one of several British Columbia communities taking part in the B.C. Street exhibition, which is taking place throughout the Games at the Richmond O-Zone, just minutes away from the speed skating oval and a short ride from the airport or downtown on the Canada Line.

A team of artists, designers, visionaries and builders have been hard at work in the Sooke Fire Hall building what is sure to be an amazing display of the Sooke to Port Renfrew region.  The display is about 40 feet long and is designed around the theme “Wild by Nature.” It will feature an “ocean” and “beach”, trees, and boardwalk, overlooking a 40×8 foot panoramic photo of Sooke Harbour. A killer whale is captured in sculpture, breaching the water, and the familiar site of Sheringham Point Lighthouse is also present.

Local graphic designer, photographer and videographer Jason van der Valk of Inktvis Creative shot the panoramic photo and produced the Sooke 2010 website and video, shown below. The work he put in was extensive and the results definitely show. If you’re looking for somebody with creative vision and skill for your next project, Jason is your man!

For those of us that live here, the video reconfirms that we live in an amazing place – perhaps Vancouver Island’s best-kept secret. For everyone else, perhaps it’s time to have a look at the video, and find out what you’ve been missing.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!
Just use the form or link below this post.

You can bookmark this post using the button below,
or subscribe to this blog for free updates using the big buttons on the sidebar!

Strata Mondays #4 – Leaky Condos Part I

In my continuing series about strata property, Strata Mondays, I answer a different question about condos, townhouses and other strata property in Victoria, Sooke, and British Columbia. Make sure you subscribe via RSS or E-mail to get each new post.

Leaky Condo being repaired

Leaky Condo being repaired

Q. I’ve heard the term “Leaky Condo” from my friends and family, and that I should avoid buying one. What is a leaky condo?
A. Put simply, a leaky condo is an attached strata unit (condominium or townhouse) that suffers grossly premature building envelope failure (water ingress/leaks) that causes major damage to the exterior and sometimes interior of the building. The end result is extremely costly repairs, some of which have yet to be carried out today, 10 years after the end of the”leaky condo era.”

The leaky condo crisis emerged in the late 1980s through the 1990s in coastal British Columbia as a result of two major factors. First, the design craze of the time was Californian style architecture. Second, new rules in the building code required builders to seal up exterior walls, in an attempt to increase energy efficiency.

In Coastal B.C. it rains a lot. California-style architecture is mostly stucco buildings with flat roofs, and little or no overhang from the top of the roof over the walls. If you look at most traditional buildings in Vancouver and Victoria, you’d find pitched roofs and/or good overhangs over the top of the exterior walls.

The new building code required builders to seal up the buildings to keep air out, to increase energy efficiency. The problem is that by doing this, water can still seep in. Without adequate ventilation to dry out the moisture, the wooden exterior wall starts to rot. Balconies were often worse – water would seep in and rot the support beams creating a safety hazard.

Rotten balcony supports

Rotten balcony supports

Often, the only real solution was complete building envelope replacement. This involved tearing off the entire face of the building, replacing most of the plywood sheathing, properly weather screening it, and replacing the exterior cladding with something more suitable to the design of the building and the climate in which it stands. This is extremely expensive, and it’s not unheard of to hear of owners having to shell out $30,000-$50,000 or even more in special assessments to get it right. Some stratas were able to successfully sue the developers and recover some of the money they paid, but many were on the hook for the repairs. But most of these buildings had warranties, right? Well, many did, but unfortunately the unraveling of the leaky condo crisis caused most of the home warranty outfits to disappear into bankruptcy, further leaving owners in the lurch.

Check back next Monday for Part II, when we’ll cover what’s changed since 1999.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!
Just use the form or link below this post.

You can bookmark this post using the button below,
or subscribe to this blog for free updates using the big buttons on the sidebar!

Provincial Transportation Spending Plan Announced

Victoria area to get New RapidBus BC service from Douglas Street Corridor to Langford.

The Provincial Government announced its new $14 Billion transit plan for British Columbia, some of which has been previously announced or funded. The announcement can be found here.

Of particular note for Victoria and Langford/West Shore residents was the plan for new “RapidBusBC” service from Douglas Street to Langford. While many in the area had been hoping for a rail-based rapid transit service from Downtown to the West Shore, BC Transit envisions a fleet of dedicated, high-efficiency, high-capacity buses with dedicated, and in some cases, separate lanes – enabling the buses to offer point-to-point rapid transit service, seamlessly integrating with existing transit infrastructure.

Artist’s Conception of Rapid Bus BC Lines Note the **OVERPASSES** at Admirals and Mackenzie… wonder if THAT would ever happen…

The other picture show the much-contended Douglas Street bus lane corridor proposal, already causing havoc with local business owners.

Don’t hold your breath on these proposals, however – the plan is for next decade… 2020-2030.

You can read the whole transportation plan here.

However long it takes, at least it shows initiative on the part of the government to make transit more efficient and to increase ridership to make it easier to get around in the region. As the West Shore and beyond continue to grow, commuting time will become an increasingly important issue for home owners and real estate consumers.

Tim Ayres – Sooke and Langford Real Estate Expert


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Home Prices Rise Modestly in Victoria, Vancouver: BCREA

News Release from the BC Real Estate Association:

For immediate release

Home Prices Rise Modestly in Vancouver and Victoria Vancouver, BC – November 21, 2007. British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports residential sales volume on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC climbed 23.5 per cent to $3.40 billion in October, compared to the same month last year. Residential unit sales increased 12.8 per cent to 7,358 units during the same period. The average MLS® residential price hit $462,912, up 9.5 per cent from October 2006.*

“While home sales continue at a brisk pace, prices in Vancouver and Victoria are climbing at a more moderate rate,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. Compared to October 2006, the average sales price increased 7.8 per cent in both markets. Fraser Valley and Chilliwack prices climbed 6.2 and 6.3 per cent, respectively, during the same period. “Eroding affordability is providing less upward pressure on home prices in both Victoria and the Lower Mainland, as many first-time buyers no longer have the financial wherewithal to bid up prices,” added Muir.

In contrast to the South Coast’s major urban areas, home prices in the interior and northern markets continue a rapid ascent. “The Okanagan, Kamloops and Kootenay markets are benefiting from strong demand from retiree, investor and recreation buyers,” noted Muir. “Abundant natural amenities and relatively low prices are drawing considerable attention from empty nesters around the province and across the country.”

“Housing markets in the north that are receiving new investment in resource extraction and transportation are performing well,” added Muir. “However, sluggish US demand for softwood lumber is impacting housing demand in many communities.” The average sales price of a home in the BC Northern Real Estate Board area rose 11.3 per cent last month compared to October 2006. In the Northern Lights Real Estate Board area, the average home sales price climbed 18.5 per cent during the same period.For the complete news release, including detailed statistics, follow this link: www.bcrea.bc.ca/news_room/2007-10.pdf .