Interesting post, Zeljkok, seeing as my wife and I were just in Sechelt today looking at condos to buy. That might seem a bit odd as we live in Grantham's landing, a mere 27km from Sechelt, but we have good reasons for moving there, or to Qualicum which is another candidate, I've been hanging around the lower sunshine coast, on and off, since 1979 when I first had a summer job here as an assistant forest ranger. I moved back here in 1983, left in 1986 and returned in 1996. We pretty much know the place inside out. Here's some info:
About 20% more sunshine hours than Vancouver (and more than where we are in howe sound). Often, when it's raining in Gibsons or Vancouver a blue sky hole exists over Sechelt from Davis Bay to Madeira park.
The lower sunshine coast is now firmly and officially linked to the Vancouver market. in 1996 we paid $250K for a 5 yr old large house with epic ocean views, Today the house would be in the $1 million range, which is about 1/4 of what it would fetch on the north shore with similar views. Housing is cheaper in sechelt but everywhere on the coast inventory to buy is very, very low.
Sechelt is a dead zone in the winter, actually it's really quite quiet in summer too. It's too damn quiet for me but we travel extensively and I play music professionally in town (Vancouver) and elsewhere, so that gets us away. At 5:00 pm on a sunny friday summer afternoon there's nobody on the streets in Sechelt whereas Gibsons is very active. In winter this place is a tomb. Sechelt is the second oldest town in canada now, you'll see plenty of walkers and canes around here.
Part of the reason we may move to Vancouver island is the lack of really good, diverse hiking around here and absolutely no available marina space to berth our boat. Tet, Elphie, Hallowell yes they're good but you've got a long grind up the Gray Creek FS road to the Tet. Spipyus is serious off road access and while providing nice views offers little other than some good 4x4 roads. Richardson is similarly a rough rough 4x4 road. I was just up at both places. Some of the best terrain is accessible only by water up Salmon/Narrows inlet or even Jervis inlet to Vancouver River, Princess Louisa etc. great but real expedition stuff.
Choice of town?:
Gibsons is much more active through the year than Sechelt or Pender Harbour, with a nifty live music scene, a pile of superb local artists and one heck of a GREAT chinese food place (Bayview
). That said, it's a quiet spot in winter.
Remember the line from movie 'Apocalypse Now', "The Horror, the Horror"? That describes the ferry setup. It's frikkin' awful, has gotten worse, more expensive and less reliable over the past twenty years. I commuted for ten years, I hate it. The ferry will NOT ever get any better because Horseshoe Bay cannot accommodate more Langdale sailings as nanaimo demands more service. Vessel separation requirements and traffic control on HWY 99 prohibit too many ferry unloads at once. There is serious talk of a road and that should happen but I doubt it will. If you need to be off-coast often it will drive you nuts. The problem with the coast, as opposed to Vancouver island, is there's so much we don't have here such as decent shopping, advanced medical care, good recreation, it makes you feel quite trapped sometimes.
I'm one of them and know many of them. People here are VERY friendly, welcoming and kind. They embrace all sorts of people and will rally round to support people in need. That said, in 20 years every single significant commercial or industrial proposal has been met with protest, attack and even legal challenge. Sunshine Coast residents are beset with a mentality that looks to the state and other taxpayers to fund their entitlements. Most of the only high paying jobs here are taxpayer funded in education, health care, ferries etc. Unemployment is high, wages low and many folks look to the government to fund their existence instead of having the balls to develop their own economy.
My friend, this is Lotus Land at its very best and very worst. If we were to do it again, we would have moved to Vancouver island where there is great diversity in population, landscape, commerce, facilities and many more towns, cities. That said, some folks just plain like this place the way it is and they run the show. There's good and bad here.