For those not familiar with the Squamish Spit, it is a rock barrier, stretching out from the shore into Howe Sound, at almost 700m in length. Originally built in the 1970s as part of a coal mining project which never came to be, the Spit has since become an iconic landmark in the Sea to Sky corridor and has contributed to the lifestyle found here. In recent years, concerns surrounding the environmental impact of the Spit have come to the forefront.

Chinook salmon once used the passage through Howe Sound to the inland rivers and streams to spawn and grow. This path is currently disrupted by the presence of the Spit and forces the Chinook into danger. Many conservationists, marine biologists, and environmentalists are putting pressure on the Squamish government to aid in the removal of the Spit from Squamish. In a recent article from Pique, it was reported that the dismantling of 300m from the Spit is set to begin as early as October.  This effort is being led by the Squamish-River Watershed Society in partnership with the Squamish Nation and Fisheries & Oceans Canada.  This is being regarded as a necessary step to preserve the environment, especially as Squamish continues its massive growth and pushes housing further into the wilderness.

However, the Squamish wind sport community is less than enthusiastic about the proposed removal. Kitesurfing, which has become an increasingly popular activity in the Sea to Sky area, is dependent on the survival of the Spit. Currently, 1000 members belong to the Squamish wind sport community, and on average 80 tourists try kiteboarding in Squamish each weekend.  The Sea to Sky corridor is continuing to attract Many people specifically to take advantage of the world-class access to wind and water sports. If it is completely removed what will that mean for the community? 

Plans for realignment have been organized by local lobby groups and members of the Sea to Sky community. An anonymous private backer has donated to get plans created for a potential move of the Spit, featuring a multipurpose green space at the end. Despite these efforts, it seems that for the time being, the removal is the main focus. 

Windsport and tourism groups continue to implore local governments to consider the realignment of the spit in order to keep easy access for those looking to take advantage of the adventure. While they have been promised the naturally formed island at the end of the Spit will remain with access for wind sports, access will be by boat only.  Concerns and plans continue to be examined in order to protect the Chinook and all of the wildlife which calls Howe Sound home while satisfying the economic interests of the community. For more information, check out the articles linked  on the buttons below:

 

Just another thing Whistler has to offer is the amazing lakes right out your front door. I’ve listed a few below…

Alta Lake

The view is incredible here! Alta Lake is the biggest lake in Whistler and boasts three different beaches to hang out at. Lakeside is a short 10 minute bike ride, or a pleasant 30 minute walk from Whistler Village on the Valley Trail where you’ll find a sandy beach, picnic tables and barbeques, washrooms and a concession stand renting canoes and kayaks. The biggest, Rainbow Park, is located on the west side of Alta Lake, a pleasant 20 minute bike ride along the valley trail from both Whistler Village and Whistler Creekside and boosts: a concession stand renting canoes and kayaks, volleyball courts, picnic tables and barbeques, vending machine and lots of parking space. Wayside Park is accessible by the valley trail system and also by car, you’ll find a small beach, a dock, picnic tables and barbeques and a concession stand renting kayaks. 

Did you know?

In 1911 Whistler was know as Alta Lake and home to just a handful of trappers, prospectors and loggers.

Green Lake

Green Lake is the marvellously vivid, green coloured lake just north of Whistler Village. During the summer months, it is the perfect place to enjoy your water sports including paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing and boating. Not only is this lake perfect for your watersports but it’s also home to the landing spot of the Harbour Air float planes…so while your out on your paddleboard you can enjoy a waterfront viewing of the planes landing. 

Did you know?

You can actually paddle from Alta Lake to Green Lake via the River of Golden Dreams – another bucket-list item.

Lost Lake

Lost Lake is a small lake within walking distance of Whistler Village and is a popular attraction with a beach area and surrounding trails for hiking and biking. In the summer I recommend grabbing your bike or a rental for a lap of the Lost Lake Loop and then taking a dip off one of the docks to cool off. Cross-country skiing is part of Lost Lake’s DNA, there’s a fantastic network of XC trails. Trails are generally open for skiing from mid-December to mid-March, depending on weather conditions. 

Did you know?

Hidden away in the forest, Lost Lake gained its name because it can only be seen from the water’s edge and from the sky.

Alpha Lake

Alpha Lake Park is a beautiful little park on the shores of Alpha Lake in Creekside, just 5 kilometres south of Whistler Village.  This quiet residential street leads to this park that is home to tennis courts, a basketball court, a huge waterfront dog park, an elaborate kids play park, a floating dock, two piers and biking/walking/running trails everywhere you look.  These spots are always facing the sun and amazing on a sunny day. Lots of amenities here including a dog friendly park, a sandy beach, a kid’s playground, tennis and volleyball courts and public BBQ’s.

Did you know?

The wide and paved Valley Trail runs along the shore and a gravel trail runs along the far side.  The gravel trail, squeezed between the train tracks and the lake takes you to Pine Point Park, here the trails zig-zag through the forest to several hidden vantage points over the lake. 

Nita Lake

Nita Lake is a tranquil little lake located in Creekside, just 4 kilometres south of Whistler Village.  Whistler’s beautiful Valley Trail runs right along the edge of Nita Lake and continues past the beautiful Nita Lake Lodge.  A small gravel beach with a creek flowing through it gives the park consistently good fishing.  Two picnic tables sit in a forest clearing next to the creek.  At the end of the lake there are two piers.  One is a public pier and the other is for Nita Lake Lodge guests.

Did you know?

Looking for somewhere in the summer that isn’t as busy? Nita Lake is comparatively quiet as compared to other Whistler lakes and parks.

 

It seems like Whistler has been increasing in popularity each year. Hotels book up on almost every holiday weekend. The demand for nightly rentable (Phase 1 zoned) properties in town is continuing to increase. Websites like Air B& B and VRBO have made it easy to market your own property as a nightly rental and are a great way to generate extra income.

If your looking to get into the market for a nightly rental, or interested in generating more interest in your property check out these tips below.

1.) Make it as clean and modern as possible.

Where would you rather stay? A musty, dated room or a modern and fresh space? It’s definitely the second one, right? Your guests will be thinking the same thing. Making sure your property is rental-ready is key for success in the Whistler market. Paying attention to trends in home decor and interior design can make a big difference. Beautifully appointed properties tend to be the first to book out and can normally charge a higher rate.

2.) Keep it clean!

No one wants to stay in a dirty property! Stained linens, smudges on windows, smells and garbage can ruin a first impression. Invest in multiple sets of bleachable white hotel-quality towels and linens. Make sure your property is thoroughly cleaned between each guest stay to help keep your ratings high and guests happy. If you are out of town or unable to clean often, consider highering a reliable cleaner to come to your property.

3.) Get professional photos

High-quality photos can make all of the difference in renting out your property. Bright sharp images will appeal to your potential clients and make you stand out from your competition. Spending a bit more on marketing your property can pay off big in the long run.

4.) Pay attention to detail

What’s your favorite thing about staying in a 5-star hotel? Is it the fluffy robes? The crisp white bedsheets? Maybe it’s the signature scent in the lobby or the chocolate on the pillows. All of these small touches add to the overall guest experience and can create a custom memorable stay. Small added finishes can leave a lasting impression. Taking time to add little luxuries to your property can improve your rating and increase your bookings.

5.) Make it unique

Standing out is crucial to making your property as attractive online as possible. Consider adding something unique that no other hotel or property in town has. Maybe it’s an instagramable feature wall or unique art piece, maybe a games room, maybe a sauna, or a large selection of board games. Whatever it adding something funky, cool, or just plain fun in your place will make it stand apart. Past guests are more likely to tell others of their experience at your property if you give them something to talk about!

6.) Keep up with the demand

Running a successful rental property is a full-time job! Between responding to bookings and keeping up with maintenance and cleaning, it can be a challenge to keep up! It is important to be available to respond quickly to last-minute guests and any challenges that may arise. You may need some extra help running your rental if you work full time or live far away. If you are unable to run it yourself consider getting a rental management company to help lighten your load. Ask us for some recommendations of excellent local property management companies if you would like to get some help!

Thinking of buying your next income-generating property? If you ever see a listing that interests you please reach out to our team and we can help guide you through all of the zonings and answer any questions you may have!
Hiking season is long and so is the list of hikes available in the Sea to Sky region. Here are a few sure to impress you.   Rainbow Lake Rainbow Lake is located in Whistler and is one of the area’s most scenic and pristine…

Renting Vs. Buying

The age old question, is renting vs buying better. This answer may vary depending on what your personal circumstances are.  Flexibility Renting means you can move each time your lease ends without penalty, for those people who…
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What’s happening with the Squamish Spit?

For those not familiar with the Squamish Spit, it is a rock barrier, stretching out from the shore into Howe Sound, at almost 700m in length. Originally built in the 1970s as part of a coal mining project which never came to be, the…

How do wildfires affect my real estate transaction?

In BC, wildfires have been an unfortunate re-occurring occurrence across the province. As fires can be unpredictable and sudden, it is important to be up to date of how a wildfire may affect your real estate transaction especially relating to insurance.

While almost every fire insurance policy covers for wildfires (you may want to check what any of your current policies state regarding them), being able to obtain a new insurance policy on when an active fire is happening will have an affect on your deal. There are some standard rules in regards to insuring properties/structures around active fires however you will want to verify with your broker of exactly what the rules are with your policy.

 

  1. The 50km radius rule.

The majority of insurance providers will not bind insurance policies within a specific radius of an active wildfire. Typically this radius is 50kms but you will need to verify exactly what it is with your provider.

 

  1. Think about the risks before writing a contract.

If you’re submitting an offer on a property that is in the typical wildfire “season” and perhaps one of the areas where wildfires are prone to occur, it is a good idea to ensure that a subject requiring the insurability of the property is met. Since lenders won’t mortgage and uninsured property, this could be very important as a part of your contract.

 

  1. Don’t just get a quote.

There is a difference between a quote and a binder, you’ll want to make sure that you request a binder. When a quote is requested and provided it will give a summary of coverages being offered and the annual premium cost. However a binder will actually bind a policy to a property, they’ve issues the policy and it will come into affect on the agreed upon date, which is typically the closing date.

 

  1. Don’t wait on sourcing insurance.

Since sourcing insurance can be more difficult during wildfire season, it is important to get on securing insurability and a policy as soon as you can in the process, don’t leave this detail until the last minute!

 

  1. Get professional advice

Like with every step in your real estate process, it is always best to seek legal advice to make sure that you are doing all of the steps properly and exactly how a wildfire may affect your transaction.

This information and more can be found on the BCREA website you can find here.

One of the documents you are always able to review when you are making an offer on a home is the Title. This document shows important information that you will want to be familiar with when purchasing a property.

Owner name and address – Are you entering into a contract with the owner of the property? You want to confirm their name matches the contract because though it’s rare, there has been instances where someone who is not the property owner has tried to sell a house.
Legal description – Make sure the legal description is the same on the Contract of Purchase and Sale and the Title. You would not want to enter into a contract to buy the wrong property!
Charges on title – There are numerous charges that could appear in this section. Mortgages, liens, easements, covenants, right of ways and building schemes are some of the common charges. These are best reviewed with your Realtor and your Real Estate Lawyer for a few reasons. You want to make sure there is nothing registered on the title that would prevent the Seller from completing, and you need to know how the charges affect your use of the property. If there is an easement for the benefit of another party, that means someone else has unfettered access to the land that the easement covers. That is important to know!