Thinking of making a move to Vancouver Island? In this post we explore the Cowichan Valley, a beautiful area rich with culture, adventure and wide open spaces. Roughly 3500 square kms, the Cowichan Valley is home to expansive orchards, award-winning vineyards, lush forests, many miles of pristine coastline and so much culture it will make your head spin.


The name Cowichan originates from the name “Quw’utsun” given to the valley by the Quw’utsun people. Further to this, this name is sourced from the Hul’q’umi’num word “shquw’utsun” meaning “to warm one’s back in the sun.” Hence the shortened version - Warm Land (yes that is where this blog's name comes from too!)


Located in Canada’s only maritime Mediterranean climatic zone, the Cowichan Valley is home to the warmest year–round temperatures in Canada. Let that sink in! If you are a boater, it is heaven on earth. The Valley produces amazing artisanal food and drink from local wineries, cideries, farms and distilleries. The outdoor fun list never ends! From concerts and festivals to outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, water skiing, and swimming, there is always something to do and it's all here waiting for you.


One of my favourite places here is the Cowichan River. Whether you are spending a lazy day tubing down the river, or soaking in the sun on the warm rocks at one of the many swimming holes, this River is a magical place. Here's a link to my sweet spot on the river: https://www.cvrd.ca/123/Sandy-Pool-Regional-Park. Listen - I know you will love it so if you are planning to go, shoot me a text and I will meet you there!


Do you adore live entertainment? The modern and spacious Cowichan Performing Arts Centre is home to live theatre, music, dance and more. Are you a swimmer or a gym rat? The Cowichan Aquatic Centre is an impressive recreation facility featuring a fully accessible aquatic venue. There are fitness classes, a gym overlooking the pools, and event facilities. And the pools? A 25-metre competitive pool, a 25-metre wide wave pool, diving boards, a lazy river (the littles love this), twin waterslides for the daredevils, and a sauna and steam rooms. This is truly a gorgeous facility.


Communities vary here. There is sleepy Cowichan Bay, a historic seaside village complete with a Maritime Museum, marinas, the Art Gallery of Art Vickers, the best bakery on the Island (well it is!), the best Pub ever, and lots of great places to go for lunch or dinner. Or Shawnigan Lake, home to prestigious schools, eclectic shopping and stunning outdoor destinations such as the Kinsol Trestle and of course, the lake itself which is perfect for water sports of all sorts. There's Cobble Hill, Mill Bay, Chemainus, Ladysmith, Maple Bay, Genoa Bay, Lake Cowichan, Honeymoon Bay and Youbou. Oh HEY - let's talk about Youbou for a moment! This little town enjoyed one of the highest rate of increase for property assessments in all of BC. Yes, Youbou. The home owners of Youbou have a lot to smile about.


Now let's talk about the good stuff...the wine of course! Here's a sip of what's out there, (pun intended):

  • Zanatta Winery (my personal favourite)
  • Averill Creek Vineyard
  • Enrico Winery
  • Alderlea Winery
  • Blue Grouse Estate Winery & Vineyard
  • Unsworth Winery
  • ........too many to list but you get the picture!


There's one more thing I need to mention. I am a boater as some of you may know. My family enjoys sailing and kayaking, and this area is fantastic for sailors and boaters of all types. Close to Salt Spring and other Gulf Islands, we can leave from the Cowichan Bay Marina, and in no time be at popular destinations such as Montague Harbour on Galiano Island or Sidney Spit, or find hidden beaches to picnic on that are away from the crowds.


If I haven't managed to convince you that the Cowichan Valley is the bomb, then you should call me and I will be happy to overwhelm you with links to all of the places and things! If you are looking for a lovely spot to stay while in Cowichan, I have a guest suite that is available by reservation at www.lovecowbay.com.


Enough said! When you love something it's hard not to go on and on about it, right? As always, thanks for reading my blog and being a supportive force. I appreciate you! Share my blog with others and help me to grow my community, if that feels like something you wish to do.


From my home to yours,


Jacqueline




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What do you need to know about Asbestos? Let’s dive in!


Asbestos can be found in plumbing, wiring, light fixtures, ceilings, insulation walls and more (see below). Homes that were built prior to 1990 may contain asbestos. All forms of asbestos are resistant to heat, fire, chemical, and biological break-down. Asbestos does not dissolve in water or evaporate! These properties mean that asbestos fibers don’t burn, don’t undergo big reactions with most other chemicals, and don’t break down significantly. These properties, along with its tensile strength, sound insulation capability, and its absorption capacity meant that it was deemed extremely useful in a wide range of manufactured products such as building materials, friction products, and heat-resistant fabrics.


Why should we be concerned about it? Because we now know it is dangerous!

Asbestos when it is dry,  can be crumbled, pulverized or powdered. Tiny fibers and clumps of fibers may be released into the air as dust. Inhaling asbestos during its manufacturing or use is the main health concern. The effects from long-term asbestos exposure are well documented, including asbestosis and changes in the lining of the lungs. All forms of asbestos have been shown to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma. When we renovate a home that holds asbestos, we disturb these fibers. They can then be released into the air and put people who live and work on the home at risk including those that are to dispose of old building materials.

In order to ensure that we are safely dealing with asbestos, we should  first have the home tested and then hire an experienced asbestos removal company to remove and dispose of it. After all, anything that actually has the potential to harm or kill you should be handled by a pro right?!

It should be mentioned that there are no significant health risks if the materials containing asbestos in your home or work are left undisturbed, isolated in the attic, tightly bound in the original product, and it is in good condition, or sealed behind walls and floorboards.

Here is a detailed list of the places that asbestos could be found in a home:

  • Heat reflector for wood stoves

  • Flooring such as vinyl tiles and lino as well as flooring adhesives

  • Asbestos cement board siding and undersheeting

  • Outlets and switches

  • Window putty

  • Insulation on electrical wires

  • Stucco

  • Furnace insulation

  • Door and gasket covers

  • Roof felt and shingles

  • Gutters 

  • Acoustic tiles

  • Deck undersheeting

  • Pipe insulation

  • Soffit boards 

  • Downpipes

  • Loose blown-in insulation such as vermiculite

If you have an older home and are planning to renovate, be on the safe side and call a pro to make sure that you are aware of the risks that may be present. If you are purchasing an older home and there is no information regarding asbestos, it would be important to have the home inspected prior to the purchase in order to determine if the home contains asbestos.

Thanks so much for reading the Warmland blog.

From my home to yours,

Jacqueline

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WELCOME TO WARMLAND


Why is it a smart to use a Realtor when choosing a new build home? 


This is such a great question. Let’s dive in! 


Something to consider right off the mark is that, the show home that you see will be staffed with sales people employed by the builder. This means that, while they are likely the nicest of people, their duty lies in seeing to the best interests of the builder, not your best interests. Their goal is to meet targets and make sales. This is a very big reason right? But wait, there is more!


Unless you’ve done it before, buying a newly constructed home has many of moving parts, certainly more so than purchasing a resale home. For example, 


  • Do you understand how the builder has arrived at the price? 

  • Do you know what is planned for the future in the surrounding areas? 

  • What’s in the base specification package? 


Builders determine the sale price by taking into account the market conditions, current labour costs, the size of the home and lot, the upgrades, and more. They are not emotionally invested in the homes they are building, although they may be excellent builders with a solid reputation, at the end of the day the decisions they make are based on their bottom line. Which makes good sense for them. That said, your Realtor will ensure that the price you pay is appropriate to the value you will receive, and that you will be happy with your return on investment.


Here’s something you may not know:


You should have your Realtor with you when you head to preview a show home. Here’s why: if you go on your own, your Realtor may not be able to get involved after you have registered. And of course, you are best served by the advice that your Realtor offers throughout the entire build process because they have a loyalty to you and your best interests. 


It’s too costly to hire a Realtor you say? This is a big one, let’s look closely at this ok?


Real estate agents generally do not charge home buyers any commission for pre-construction or presale homes. Instead, their commission is typically paid by the builder or developer of the property. Make sure to get everything in writing of course pertaining to commissions, upgrades and other costs. Remember that the show home you view could actually be significantly different to the home that you will end up with. Your Realtor will investigate the basic specifications prior to accompanying you through the viewing, and then ensure that you are aware of what parts of the show home are actually upgrades and will cost you more (sometimes many thousands of dollars more) than you had originally anticipated. And if time = money, and let’s face it, it does, your Realtor could save you many hours of searching and navigating through possible options.


So to wrap up, I hope you now see the value in having a Realtor with you as you move through the process of choosing a new build home! Stay tuned for the next installment of...WARMLAND

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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.