Monday, 30 July 2012

Kelowna is our top choice for retirement

We did have good intentions of visiting more cities in BC to find the right place to retire, but after researching the weather and the cost of houses, and cost of living, we are liking Kelowna the best.

There are some fabulous ocean views on Vancouver Island and apparently Victoria gets many more hours of sun than we do in Vancouver, but it still is no warmer, or dryer.  I also know from years of owning a waterfront cabin on Gabriola Island that being on the ocean is windy MOST of the time.

So living on a lake inland, is more to our liking.  Kelowna has shopping, an International Airport, lots of golf, restaurants, water sports, even crossfit gyms, and the sun with some heat to keep warm when and if, we decide to age.

Several of my good friends said they would be more likely to visit us in the Okanagan, as most of them are put off by the cost and time involved in ferry travel.  Although I think the cost of gas, driving up to Kelowna may be just as much as a ferry ride, I do understand not wanting to take a ferry.  I have a good friend and cousins that live on the Island, and I rarely think to go visit them (I do feel bad about that, as they are some of my favorite people).  I also know people who live on the Island dislike coming to the mainland, it's a different way of life.  We are just not sure we want to be Island people.

We are going back up to Kelowna to take another look at West Harbour Estates, a new community being built in West Kelowna.

We like it because:

  • It is lake front, on a hill so all homes have a water view.  
  • It will be strata, a community of homes, with a pool, rec center, private beach and boat slips.
  • the price looks good from $599,000 to 730,000  ( advertised prices)  No HST or Property transfer tax.
  • houses all look like ranchers from the front, but have full walk out basements that can be customized for guests.
  • close to the Hwy, and the Okanagan connector to drive to Vancouver.
It is lease land, but apparently a 99 year prepaid lease with the West Bank First Nations band is a good thing.  We have done as much research as we can, and found no negatives about this lease or this development at all.  So off we go to take another look.............

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Christy vs Allison

I listened to Christy Clark on the news this morning, she was talking about her stance on the proposed pipeline from Alberta's oil sands to our coast.  I think it is great she is taking a stand.  It does seem a brave move, as Alberta's Premier, Allison Redford, seems a whole lot tougher than our Christy Clark.  If Christy can pull this off to BC's benefit, then she will have earned some respect, Finally!
I am not against the pipeline, but I am against an oil spill.   I want gas for my car, I am not willing to walk everywhere, (I do walk a lot but let's be realistic).  I want progress without the risk, but we all know how unrealistic that is!

Christy's demand to negotiate with Alberta & the Federal Government is not out of line.  The list of demands are a good start, but I think they need to go further than "developing policies"

B.C. wants Ottawa to establish a working group to develop policies around increased tanker traffic and handling hazardous materials, to eliminate federal red tape that, at present, blocks cooperation between the Coast Guard and province during spill cleanup efforts. B.C. is also calling for better maps of the B.C. coastline and an examination of why Canada's rules for oil tanker travel are more lax than those of the U.S.
"Those are questions outside of the environmental assessment process that are in play at the moment but they are still important questions that need to be answered before we would consider support," Lake said.
"It is impossible to eliminate all risk entirely. So we need to know that, even after we have absolutely minimized the chances, if there was spill, [we would] have the systems and capacity in place to ensure an effective response and remediation."

Read more:

  • I would like to see BC residents offered jobs as a highly trained clean up team.  
  • Alberta's profits should pay for the training of the clean up team, and for all costs to maintain and deploy the team when needed.  (Not like the search and rescue teams we have that are well trained but can't get the money to actually travel to disasters and help out)                                                                        

Alberta should pay for this team because it is their Oil, and if they want to put the Oil Spill Risk on our coastline, they should assume the costs of any disaster along with the oil companies.  Yes, the companies like Enbridge should have good insurance and be liable for costs of their pipeline spills, but should BC rely on Enbridge to have the trained team?  BC needs funding for more coast guards, and our own highly trained, clean up team for disasters.  (Disasters that we hope will never happen of course!)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Retirement in the sunshine

Deciding where we want to live when we retire, is taking quite a lot of time.  I am researching weather, and real estate listings, as well as questioning everything, to determine what is right for us? (out loud questioning, so you and your spouse hear your thoughts and hopefully agree on the answers)

I found Environment Canada's website for weather winners, which ranks all Canadian cities, for most sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy days and much more.

BC cities with the most sunny days in cold months

  • Cranbrook #22
  • Kamloops  #27
  • Victoria      #51
  • Vernon       #70
  • Kelowna     #71
  • Vancouver  #93
BC cities with the most sunny days in warm months
  • Kamloops #2
  • Kelowna   #3
  • Penticton   #4
  • Victoria     #9
  • Vancouver #47  (yes this is why we want to move!)
BC cities with the most cloudy days year round

  • Vancouver #10
  • Kelowna    #30
  • Victoria      #35

Rainiest location in BC  (this is no surprise)

  • Chilliwack #3
  • Abbotsford #4
  • Vancouver #9
  • Nanaimo   #12
  • Duncan     #12
  • Victoria    #26
  • Kelowna   #89
  • Kamloops  #98
I think we are feeling pretty confident that Kelowna is place we want to move to, not only for the weather, but that is a big part!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Where is the best place to retire in BC?

I have been retired for a few years now, and my spouse is now ready to retire, or maybe just call himself semi retired.  My kids are at University, and only come home for short visits a few times a year. We are always in search of more sun, the summers just seem to be getting shorter here on the westcoast (or wetcoast as we are hearing more often).  So maybe we should just move,.........but the question is where?

So this is going to be the start of our personal search for the best place to retire for us:
  • We plan to travel more every winter, not just to Mexico, but Australia, Europe, Bali, Bahamas, New York, Nashville.....we have a long list that hopefully will take many fun filled years to accomplish.
  • We need a BC residence to see our families & friends, and keep our Medical Insurance as well as many other reasons I am sure!
  • We don't want 2 homes, less maintenance is the goal!
  • We want more sun, a water view as well as the city life (good restaurants, good friends, shopping, summer and winter activities)
  • We don't want to be house poor, but we are not ready to downsize to a condo or a 1400 sq ft home.

So off we go on a 3 day whirlwind tour of the Okanagan.  I planned a short trip full of real estate viewings. I picked a realtor in each town of Osoyoos, Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon.  They put together a list of 6 to 10 places for us to see each day.  All of the realtors were incredibly nice, gave us tours of their hometowns, sharing as much information as we would ever need to know.  We were exhausted by the end of the day.  It certainly was no vacation, we didn't even have time to visit a winery!
We saw some beautiful houses, and some real fixer uppers.  There were fabulous views, golf courses and lakes.  Not to mention the sunshine, and 80+ degrees, with a nice breeze.

We learned a few things about ourselves, and narrowed down what we are really looking for.

  • Osoyoos, Penticton, Summerland, Peachland & Vernon, are all nice little towns, but they are too small for us right now.
  • Kelowna is a city we could live in.  There is a clean lake, for boating, kayaking, paddleboarding or swimming, there are many golf courses, restaurants, and shopping, even a couple of my favorite stores (Winners)
  • You can get a nice new house or townhouse with a view for under $600,000.  More expensive closer to the water of course.  
  • City views and golf course views are nice, but we love water views best, and the ultimate would be walking distance to the water.
  • So far there is only one location that fits the whole bill, but more research is needed.
We will continue to research Kelowna with the help of the realtor we met there.  We are also going to investigate Vancouver Island next.  Can the weather be as good over there? What is a better commute to visit our parents here in the lowermainland, a ferry ride or a 4 hour drive from Kelowna?

More answers to follow(when I figure out what the answers are)  

Monday, 16 July 2012

I hate Rayon!

I bought this cute little top a few days ago,( needed something red) it is a knit fabric, quite comfy.  

Then I washed it.........didn't think to look at the shrunk about 6 inches or more!  Yes 100% Rayon.  

I have always hated Rayon, it wrinkles, and shrinks likes crazy.  Luckily, I noticed before I put it in the dryer.  I got it wet again, and stretched it back into shape.  It takes alot of muscle to pull at both ends of the fabric but it works.  Of course being a knit this is alot easier to stretch than a woven fabric.

While you are out shopping you will notice these days, most ladies t-shirts & knit dresses are made of this new slinky kind of knit.  Some manufacturers are calling it Modal, but it is is cheap man made fabric.  I hate the way it clings to all the wrong places.  

What happened to good old 100% cotton for a t-shirt!