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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Default Life in Sechelt?

(This post is not only about Hiking, but this Forum still looks like the best place)

I am looking for general discussion about life on Sunshine Coast, Sechelt in particular. I know what Internet sites say, but I'm interested in CT members personal knowledge/experience. So please comment on anything you like; some talking points are:

  • Climate: Is it same as mainland (Van) or slightly better?
  • Real-Estate: Van is crazy we all know this & only going to get worse; is Sechelt going the same direction?
  • Seasonal: I read info that everything, including most services, dies October - May. So basically it reverts to deserted rain-drenched forever in cloud piece of land with nothing to do. How true is this?
  • Outdoors: I know about Tet (Rainy, Panther), Hallowell, Steele, Elphinstone, kayaking Sechelt Inlet/Salmon Inlet etc. I know about proposed "Sechelt Trail" that will link with Tantalus. What else? Is there any place you can go X-country skiing in winter? Can you approach/explore Spipiyus / Richardson Provincial Parks from land only? How about Clowhom Lake? etc
  • If you had choice between Gibsons / Sechelt / Half Moon Bay, and nothing would prevent you from living in either, which would you chose? Why?
  • Transit / Commute to Mainland w/o car: Short drive to Gibsons/park + 40 min Ferry to Horseshoe + Translink. Sounds easy. Is it? How tedious or non-practical it becomes if done on regular basis?
  • Lifestyle: I read info that locals "don't want people to move in" and are quite unfriendly to newcomers. Is there any truth to this? How much native population?


Anything else you can think of. Thanks
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 09:28 PM
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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:

Climate: 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.
Real estate 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.
Seasonal : 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.
Outdoors 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.
Transport: 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.
The Locals: 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.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 03:50 AM
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I grew up on the coast but live in Vancouver now.
There is x-country / snowshoeing up dakota ridge, depending on snow conditions of course. It's better than you'd expect.
Real Estate is indeed linked to Vancouver, in a similar way to Squamish (lots of commuters) but without nearly as much of a development push. xj6response is very right about the total rejection of any sort of large development project. I know someone who was heavily involved in the recent waste water treatment plant that went in to Sechelt... it was quite an ordeal, lots of horror stories.
I still have family on the coast and visit often, just got back actually. I find the ferry + bus quite convenient. You have to work around the ferry schedule of course, but you almost always walk off the ferry and right on to a downtown express bus. It typically takes me about 2 hours to go from Roberts Creek to Fairview, taking ferry -> express bus (257) -> Canada Line. Driving on to the ferry can be a real nightmare, but walking on is great.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 06:27 AM
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Have you considered the Comox Valley?

Relative to Sechelt you may find:
- Vancouver is further away but you don't have to hop on that ferry as often given that you can access Nanaimo and Victoria by car (and Comox itself has most of what you need - Home Depot, Walmart, a brand new Hospital, etc.)
- Mt. Washington is great
- Strathcona Provincial Park
- Comox is larger than Sechelt (but you can find smaller towns like Black Creek or Union Bay if you want something as small as Seschelt)
- Economy is a little more diverse (air force base, a college, etc.)
- Experiencing some bump from people leaving Vancouver but RE isn't too crazy
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Steventy View Post
Have you considered the Comox Valley?
All your points are the reasons we're considering moving there. I lived on the island for short periods over the years and compared to the sunshine coast, it offers much more. Here on the coast there are three main communities, Gibsons, Sechelt and pender harbour connected by a single lane 60km road and with total full time population of scarcely more than 30 thousand. The Island is 450 km long with nearly 850,000 people, with dozens of communities ranging from Victoria in the south to Port Hardy up north. In a way it's like its own province, which is why it nearly became one back in the late 1800's.

You're spot on about Strathcona, it's fabulous, with paved road access right to the sub alpine. The Island has more than 20 provincial parks and one national park (Pacific Rim) and if you're a boater, as we are, the gulf islands and the islands of the Johnstone straits are amazing.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 10:14 AM
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the ferry + bus quite convenient. You have to work around the ferry schedule of course, but you almost always walk off the ferry and right on to a downtown express bus. It typically takes me about 2 hours to go from Roberts Creek to Fairview, taking ferry -> express bus (257) -> Canada Line. Driving on to the ferry can be a real nightmare, but walking on is great.
we often walk on and take the bus downtown as well, it works. These days however, it's common to find two sailing waits even mid week during non peak times, for car+ferry. We pretty well always use a reservation now, when we can get one.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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excellent discussion, exactly what I was hoping for; hopefully more people can join in.

1 thing I forgot to add to talking points is Van Island comparison (or more precisely Comox :: Sechelt comparison) but that has been well touched upon.

I'd like to address single point at a time. Here's my take on transport:

I've taken that ferry several times. I enjoyed it as foot passenger, but this probably comes from "tourist" perspective; once you have to do it regularly, I can see it becoming a burden. I do like overall public transport availability in greater Van; in North America you practically need car for everything, but Van is closer to Europe in this matter.

BC Ferries is separate issue. I also think they are way too overpriced. I believe bridge construction is only matter of time (think about public uproar on this one!), but it also won't happen anytime soon. I also think Port Melon - Squamish road is inevitable, but that one will come after the bridge. In the meantime Ferry will still be only option, and it does become a burden -- even if everything would function 100% -- because you have to depend on it. As example, even just for recreation, I was late coming down Elphinstone. I ran fast last couple of km and barely caught it; 1 minute more and I'd have to wait till morning.

Thus when living on Sunshine Coast transport to mainland is major issue, because even if one works locally (or telecommutes, or doesn't need to work), you still depend on mainland for different things, from recreation to (quality) services/shopping, etc.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 04:16 PM
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Thus when living on Sunshine Coast transport to mainland is major issue, because even if one works locally (or telecommutes, or doesn't need to work), you still depend on mainland for different things, from recreation to (quality) services/shopping, etc.
Exactly, the ferry is all defining on the sunshine coast. With so much of what a person may want/need being off coast, the ferry is a pain-in-the-ass. I've been involved in discussions with local MLA's, MP's and even transport ministry executives and they all seem to see the merit of a tolled highway over here. There was a recent highway options study done and public hearings held. I was at all of them. The bottom line is the ferry system will cost us $2 billion to run for fourty years and at the end of that time, all we have is a rusty boat. The highway will cost about the same, cost far less to operate beyond that time, be much more reliable and last for 100 years or more.

I still don't think the highway will happen though, too much local opposition and too small a population here. Check out the 'Third Crossing society" for their many years of work in building a highway from Powell River to Squamish. Now that really might happen.

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 11:52 PM
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Ok, so if you are talking "Sunshine Coast", think about Powell River. You would have to change your city focus from Vancouver to Courtenay/Comox, where there are the usual big box stores/car dealerships/medical specialists etc. Our weather is definitely dryer than either Vancouver or Sechelt, property is cheaper, and we are a friendly community. Downsides - very quiet in winter, access to great alpine exists, but requires a 2 hour drive on logging roads, limited shopping in town if you want a big ticket item. Upsides - one short ferry ride over to Courtenay and the great Mount Washington ski area and alpine. There are almost limitless hiking and biking and kayaking options here. We are an outside oriented community.

We looked for a long time for property on the island and have zero regrets about choosing Powell River.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 06-23-2017, 11:55 PM
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Exactly, the ferry is all defining on the sunshine coast. With so much of what a person may want/need being off coast, the ferry is a pain-in-the-ass. I've been involved in discussions with local MLA's, MP's and even transport ministry executives and they all seem to see the merit of a tolled highway over here. There was a recent highway options study done and public hearings held. I was at all of them. The bottom line is the ferry system will cost us $2 billion to run for fourty years and at the end of that time, all we have is a rusty boat. The highway will cost about the same, cost far less to operate beyond that time, be much more reliable and last for 100 years or more.

I still don't think the highway will happen though, too much local opposition and too small a population here. Check out the 'Third Crossing society" for their many years of work in building a highway from Powell River to Squamish. Now that really might happen.
Most of us here in Powell River think that won't happen. Too many dollars and the gas/time costs would equal taking the ferry.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 12:18 AM
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Most of us here in Powell River think that won't happen. Too many dollars and the gas/time costs would equal taking the ferry.
Yeah, I tend to agree it's unlikely. That said, the convenience of being able to come and go when you want instead of being a slave of two ferry schedules to the lower mainland might be quite appealing.

BTW, I also think Powell River is a gem for outdoor life. Amazing hiking, excellent boating, superb fishing. It's a got a lot going for it. It's access though, that's the downer.

ZELJKOK: are you looking to leave the rockies? Is it climate related or something about the coastal mix of ocean and mountain?

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post #12 of (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 01:23 AM
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We looked for a long time for property on the island and have zero regrets about choosing Powell River.
I'm curious about this. What was it that you couldn't find on the island?
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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As 2nd talking point, I am very interested in Comox :: Sechelt comparison too. I did plenty of Comox research, along the lines steventy is talking about. Main issue is that mainland day trips (regardless of purpose) are not feasible, which is not true when you are based on Sunshine Coast. I also fear from recreation perspective Mt. Washington / Stratchona would get old pretty soon, while when you are on Sunshine Coast you still have all mainland outdoors + very appealing opportunity to explore further up Sechelt

and yes, susie, please tell us more about Powell River

Last edited by zeljkok; 06-24-2017 at 01:46 AM.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 02:18 AM
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Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
As 2nd talking point, I am very interested in Comox :: Sechelt comparison too. I did plenty of Comox research, along the lines steventy is talking about. Main issue is that mainland day trips (regardless of purpose) are not feasible, which is not true when you are based on Sunshine Coast. I also fear from recreation perspective Mt. Washington / Stratchona would get old pretty soon, while when you are on Sunshine Coast you still have all mainland outdoors + very appealing opportunity to explore further up Sechelt

and yes, susie, please tell us more about Powell River
I feel like putting too much weight on the feasibility of day trips to the mainland is a risky idea. No matter how you cut it, you won't want to do it too often.

FWIW, a day trip from Comox is reasonable but there are obvious limits on how far you can go on the mainland side. First ferry over, last ferry back. Grab a meal on the boat each way. Get a house in Union Bay and you are about an hour from the terminal.

Have you considered Hope?

I have a lot of things I could say about Comox but I'd be interested in knowing more about your priorities.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
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I feel like putting too much weight on the feasibility of day trips to the mainland is a risky idea. No matter how you cut it, you won't want to do it too often.
Thought has crossed my mind, and point well taken. But at least there is reasonable option; I am hearing now TransLink is going to considering regular express line Horseshoe Bay - Squamish; that opens up further possibilities, without having to take car (and bleed your money) on a ferry

Quote:
Have you considered Hope?

I have a lot of things I could say about Comox but I'd be interested in knowing more about your priorities.
These are long term considerations, not immediate. For now I am only interested how Sechelt / Sunshine coast compares to Comox / Island overall. I have some other options I am thinking about (Hope is definitely not one of them) Living by water in retirement appeals. Main priority is continuous exploring of nature; preferably new places not old. Then peace/quiet (the less populated, the better, no traffic noise, etc), overall safety (no Vansterdam/drugs/petty crime/breakins), quality food/shopping, availability of certain services. Social aspect (i.e. shows, plays, theater etc) is secondary
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