This is a question I get all the time from people who are interested in buying a home in Sooke’s popular Sunriver Estates subdivision.
The answer is no, Sunriver is not a strata. There are no councils, meetings, minutes, or strata fees. Each detached home in the development is a fee simple title, which is the same as most other detached homes in British Columbia. However, there is a townhouse complex at Sunriver, which is a strata with the usual implications thereof.
What Sunriver is, is a planned community, meaning that you can’t simply purchase a lot and build whatever home you please on it. The developer at Sunriver has the exclusive rights to sell the lots, and will only do so with the purchase of a building contract to go with it. There are a number of different home designs to choose from, both single level and two-storey, and almost all the homes can have a basement built under them for an extra level.
While Sunriver Estates in Sooke is not a strata, people often ask me about the “rules” for the community. A common rumour is that you’re not allowed to have a boat or RV in your driveway at Sunriver. This isn’t exactly accurate. All homes at Sunriver have a building scheme registered on title. A building scheme is a set of restrictions that a developer will register on the title to the lots to ensure a community that is uniform in appearance and neat and tidy. For example, it’s common for a developer that is selling only building lots to stipulate a minimum size for the homes or that mobile homes are not allowed.
Sunriver’s building scheme has a few stipulations about boats and RVs at Sunriver. Basically, they want them out of sight. Keep them in the back yard or screened behind a fence or lattice and you’ll have no problems. That being said, there is always the question of who enforces a building scheme, how they would do that, what the penalty would be for violation, and under what conditions would they enforce it, i.e., would it take a complaint from a neighbour?
Take a drive around Sunriver – you’ll see plenty of examples of boats and RVs in various states of compliance or non-compliance with the building scheme.
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