February 28, 2009.
So many talented people on Salt Spring Island, and most of them have created their special niche here...again, a wonderful entrepreneurial spirit, on this Island. Perhaps islands always attract individualistic/proactive people? Things are not immediately handed to one, in an island environment, so the spirit of creation is alive and well. Many artists are attracted to the Island, and they open personal studios...the "studio tour" is a great thing to follow, when visiting the Island.
Some of the interesting people who have adventured onto Salt Spring, and have created their "own thing", here, and have become an integral part of the Island lifestyle:
Pearl Luke (novelist) and Robert Hilles (poet and novelist) make Salt Spring their home, and take part in many readings/fundraisers for the writers group, here. Have you read Pearl's Madame Zee?
Peter Levitt and Shirley Graham, noted poets, also create and share their works with readings and support for the writers groups. Interested in a Zen sitting group? Contact Peter.
Mona Fertig and Peter Haase, who print their own and other writers special works (MotherTongue Press), and Mona also created the B.C. Anthology of Writers, just out in 2008.
Jill Louise Campbell, and her evocative paintings, which have captured the spirit and the colour of the Island, and many people enjoy her works on their own walls, both near and far...a taste of Salt Spring!
Celia Duthie-Hunt and Nick Hunt, who both create the Duthie Bookcases line, and showcase unique and one-off wood furniture and occasional pieces, by B.C. and Island craftspeople, in their Salt Spring Woodworks Gallery.
G. Warren Langley, and his incredibly beautiful and artistic signage...enjoy this all over Ganges Village and throughout the Island's "home occupation" / studio businesses.
The local chocolate makers: Chocolate Beach, Crow, and Harlan's (hand made locally) dreams.
The superb cheese makers (award winners, in a global venue): Moonstruck Cheese and Salt Spring Cheese.
The vineyards! Garry Oak Vineyards and Salt Spring Vineyards...award winning wines, from both these options.
Brigitte's Treats, at Bruno and Brigitte's Rendezvous Cafe (or at the Saturday Market or at the Tuesday Farmer's Market)..
Bruce the Chef, and his amazing choices for take out lunch and dinner (in Harbour Centre). Catering and cooking classes, too. (Eat in or take out).
Tracy Harrison of Creative Fire Art Studio -- check out her superb workshops, emphasizing creative opportunities for kids!
Michael Hames, and his inspiring paintings, showcased at Steffich Fine Art Gallery.
Jerry Ringrose and his exceptional glass work!!!!!
So many...and these are just a very few! Your suggestions???
February 27, 2009.
Here is a wonderful waterfront opportunity on lovely Piers Island. Just off Land's End, and close to Sidney, at the tip of Southern Vancouver Island, this sunny private island enjoys forest trails, a community dock, a sandy community beach, and a dock/parking lot, adjacent to the ferry lot at Swartz Bay...park your car there, hop into your boat, and you're at the Piers Island community dock in about 6 minutes. Or, build your own dock, at your own property. Each lot is oceanfront, there's a road way that circles the Island (barge on a vehicle, if desired), and the inner area has been left in natural forest/meadow. This lot enjoys expansive panoramic ocean views, and sunny exposures (s/sw/w -- sunsets from here!), and has a beach. The sellers have enjoyed it as a retreat space, and so it offers the opportunity for a new owner to develop his/her vacation style "dream". A very best buy price point, for a superlative oceanfront opportunity!
February 26, 2009.
"No. No. No.
This ruins a child."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations")
Did you know that Raffi is planning to open a child honouring centre, on special Salt Spring Island? For more details, contact Jason at: email@example.com
In April, there will be a presentation at ArtSpring, to showcase the idea to the Islanders, and to share with them this important work. Check out Raffi's website, at Troubador Music, too, for details on this great project.
February 25, 2009.
Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands are very proactive and entrepreneurial places.
This might be because they are unincorporated areas, adrift in the Strait of Georgia (I like the ancient title Salish Sea), under the control of the Provincial Government's Islands Trust.
Created in the mid-1970s, with a mandate of "to preserve and protect" the environmental beauties of all the Gulf Islands, for the benefit of all B.C. residents, this Trust created strict zoning/density controls to prohibit growth.
They designated Salt Spring Island as the Island to be the "hub", with all the amenites, including a hospital, schools, services -- basically all amenities required for a pleasing lifestyle, in the 21st Century -- and the other Islands have less available land for development, and less services. They might be seen as "summer places", then.
Even Salt Spring has had its growth "capped", and we are already very close to what I term "the wall of no more". When you drive around Salt Spring, then, you're looking at it as it will be "forever". An artificial cap on growth, however, does create low inventory, always, no matter what market trend might be in play, at any given moment.
Right now, then, with buyer's in control of the process of a purchase, it's a good time to consider a buy on a Gulf Island, including on Salt Spring Island (the one with the year round lifestyle). Good climate, rural/pastoral beauty, environmentally aware, ease of access and close to major centres, but wonderfully "apart"...it's a gem!
Back to being entrepreneurial, though. One does have to create one's own way to be here...lots of opportunities, but not handed to one on a plate.
I note that Sheena Bull and her business partner, plus two other trainers, have made a "Boomer Niche:, with Living Strong fitness studio, on Hereford Avenue. Call them for personalized attention, membership details.
Looking for a coffee place, at the "north end" of the Island? Don't forget to enjoy the home made baking and specialty coffees and teas at: North Island Coffee Company, at corner of Fernwood and Walker's Hook Road, just up from the Fernwood dock. Great views! Enjoy a walk along North Beach or Walker's Hook...tranquility!
Jill Louise and Duart Campbell's wonderful gallery rests one's soul. Cards, prints, originals, all with Jill's flair and evocative style....
Martinus, with his gold and silver jewellery designs...
Jerry Ringrose's incredible glass creations...
Salt Spring Woodworks with Celia Duthie-Hunt and Nick Hunt, showcasing the very best in B.C. designs/wood furniture.
Bruno and Brigitte Gonzalez, at Rendezvous Cafe, at the Salt Spring Marina, and their exceptional French pastries...
Bruce the Chef, in Harbour Centre, supplying take out lunch and dinner...
Janet Cook's bears at Off the Waterfront Gallery...
More ideas? Call me! (What a creative Island it is!).
Looking for your special Island property? I look forward to helping you to connect with it.
February 24, 2009.
Looking for a townhome alternative, with the freedom of your own space? Here's a wonderful opportunity on special Salt Spring Island! Completely renovated home (in "as new" condition, essentially), offering lower garden level entertainment room, plus guest bed/bath, and open laundry area.
Main level offers master/ensuite, plus cook's delight kitchen, open plan living/dining, feature fireplace. Easy access to wonderful and very easy care garden...low maintenance plantings, that follow the seasons. Exquisite outdoor patio for al fresco dining pleasure, barbecue, a fountain feature wall that echoes a Tuscan charm...it's a very beautiful property.
Almost waterfront, too, as it is across from a very quiet country road, and enjoys panoramic ocean vistas. Watch seals and otters, eagles, whales. When the tide is low, you can walk for miles, here, and enjoy beachcombing. Seasonal moorage via mooring buoy, if desired.
On comm. water and sewer, close to golf, to theatre, tennis, and to all amenities / services, yet in its own tranquil world. Just move into this gem, and enjoy the Salt Spring lifestyle!
February 23, 2009
BBC news reports :
Stanford bank in Antigua seized
US inflation picks up in January
UK retail sales rise in January
Lending revival 'unlikely soon'
Economy fears send stocks falling
Breast cancer biology 'changing'
Lifestyle 'doubles stroke risk'
'Superguns' of Elizabeth I's navy
Galaxy hunt draws massive traffic
Telescope spies cataclysmic blast
Help for poor to access banking
China tries to stop Paris auction
Mexico police chief stands down
US finds new Afghan supply route
February 22, 2009.
Here's a terrific home, with three ensuite bedrooms, and a separate Japanese style "spa" bath, and with an open plan living/dining, plus a cook's dream kitchen. Separate mudroom/laundry. Spacious decking to follow the sun (east, south, west exposures, here!). Fireplace in the master bedroom. Wood floors, tile, and w.w. carpet in bedrooms. Vaulted ceiling. Separate studio -- artist? home occupation? guest/inlaw? You decide! Oceanviews over two harbours (Long Harbour and Ganges Harbour) -- some selective limbing/trimming of trees on this private property will open up more ocean vistas. Natural landscaping, double carport, paved driveway. Located on prestigious Scott Point, this home is effectively new. A Seattle architect and a talented local builder basically rebuilt this home...just move into it and enjoy! Easy care, and with the flair of the Salt Spring Island lifestyle. You will love it! Call Li Read for appts. to view!
February 21, 2009.
"Birthdays, anniversaries, memorials, festivals
Measure our progress on the path."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations")
February 20, 2009.
Bocados Bistro is offering a new look/new menu for your pleasure...they're also introducing late night dining, until 11 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays. Beginning Feb. 26th, they'll be reopening from 4:30 to 9 p.m., and will be closed on Tuesday/Wednesdays. Casual Fine Dining, in Grace Point Square.
Feb 27th and 28th finds the Key for Two presentation by Salt Spring Community Theatre members, at Mahon Hall. 8 p.m. start. Mark your calendars! (Tickets on sale at Salt Spring Books).
Remember the Alma de Espana presentation of Gareth Owen & his Familia Flamenca, at ArtSpring, on the 21st. 7:30 event.
Brandenburg Concertos, Sunday. March 1st, at ArtSpring, at 2:30 p.m. -- circle this on your calendar! Call 250-537-2102 for more details.
Check out The Point gallery, at the "south end", for a new show by Linda Walker (in the lower gallery). In the upper gallery, catch Marion Pape's video work. Both presentations are a study of "the other". The show opens on the 22nd, with a reception from 2 - 5, with the artists in attendance, and then runs through to the 15th of March.
Also on the 21st, there's a chance to dance up a storm at Fulford Hall, and to benefit the Fiddleworks' fundraising to go to New York. Potluck supper, and AGM meeting before, plus dancing at 7 p.m. A family style event! Enjoy!
On the 22nd, at 2:30 p.m., at ArtSpring, it's Beyond the Pale, billed as Canada's most exciting Klezmer Band. Check it out!
Planning a wedding event this year? The Driftwood's annual wedding insert is in this week's Driftwood, and is full of great ideas, for all tastes/all budgets.
Don't forget, too, the annual Driftwood Great Pet event -- deadline to enter your best friend is on March 3rd, with winning photos printed in Driftwood's March 11th issue.
Remember the classic rock opera, Tommy? March 24 to 27 will see this production coming to ArtSpring, Call 604-808-7690 or 250-537-5289 for more details!
Take time to wander through Jill Louise Campbell's evocative gallery...her colours sing off the canvas, and immediately invite one to think of sunnier times.
Enjoy lunch or dinner in Calvin's Bistro's newly redecorated space...the Islanders look forward to their return, always, from their January holiday break!
Hike Ruckle Park on a sunny and windless day...you can tell the season is shifting.
Lots to see and to do, as we meander slowly into "real Spring". Enjoy!
February 19, 2009.
Here is an authentic character home, on special Salt Spring Island, and beautifully updated by current owners (only the second owners of this gem). A Georgian style design, architect designed and custom built, in 1939/40, by a British family, who were living/working in China, and looking to retire on Salt Spring Island. The land is 10 + acres, with south/southwest/west exposures, and there is the potential for subdivision (see listing salesperson for further information on this). Zoned for sep. guest cottage and for sep. studio. The home offers many unique features, impossible to replicate today. Close to lake, beach accesses, to park hiking/walking trails, to theatre, tennis, equestrian facilities, and to all services, yet in its own tranquil and rural/pastoral world. Organic garden in place, orchard, a forest and meadow "mix". Enjoy!
February 18, 2009.
Lovely sunny days, with snowdrops in flower, crocus bulbs & daffodils almost ready to burst into bloom, pink fuzz of early blooming shrubs, pussy willows pushing open, wind protected forsythia in bloom, early flowering cherry trees, camellia bushes, and early rhododendrons...it's pre-Spring, on the ribbon of Pacific Northwest Coast that offers what the rest of Canada aspires to -- to be able to retire to this "banana belt" climate pattern, after the rigours of Alberta, Sask., Manitoba, Ontario winters.
On Salt Spring Island and on the southern Gulf Islands, we're lucky to be in a microclimate known as "cool Mediterranean". It's sometimes described as the "California of Canada" or the "Hawaii of Canada", but essentially it's its own "self". It does support vineyards, olive groves, and wild succulent plants that are only seen in parts of California. Arbutus (Madrona) forests and Garry Oak groves also thrive here. On Salt Sping's "west side", there are manzanitas growing happily.
Each Island offers its own unique style, and all of them are "protected investment" places, as their form of government prohibits growth. There will always be a limited inventory available, then, on any Gulf Island, regardless of market trend in play at any given time.
At the moment, though, the market favours the buyer, and it is possible to purchase an excellent property, on any of the Gulf Islands, at a more affordable price point than has been seen since 2002.
For more information, places to stay, things to do, on a visit to one of these superb Southern Gulf Islands, give me a call.
Looking for real estate? Successfully connecting buyers and sellers, since 1989, on Salt Spring Island & on the Southern Gulf Islands, I look forward to bringing my superb inventory and market trend knowledge, expertise (broker's licence), and stong negotiating skills to your benefit. "See Li for Successful Solutons" is my promise to my client.
How may I help you to buy your dream property on Salt Spring Island or on another Southern Gulf Island?
February 17, 2009.
"He who knows others is learned; he who knows himself is wise."
February 16, 2009.
Wow! If you love Dwell Magazine's ethic, you will have found your dream home, here! The plus? It's on special Salt Spring Island! The view is extravagantly beautiful...a true wide-angle, 270 degree plus panorama of ocean, islands, and mountains! Enjoy the serenity of the Vancouver Island mountains, the majesty of the Coast Range, the incredible soaring beauty of Mt. Baker, and on clear days, one can see Mt. Rainier, behind Seattle, and even Mt. St. Helen. It's amazing! One has a sense of proximity to the sea, here, and the property itself delivers on that magical Gulf Islands "natural" look (Arbutus, Cedar, Fir forest, salal ground cover...rocky/mossy knolls...it's wonderful). Private, sunny (sunrises and sunsets from this "mini point" of land), quiet area of fine homes, and close to all amenities/services, yet in its own dramatic and serene world. So many unique features, here...call for brochure. Truly, the very best oceanview opportunity on Salt Spring Island! Enjoy!
February 15, 2009.
What's happening in the market? It's a question that realtors hear quite frequently, throughout the year, but especially in the beginning weeks of a new year.
On Salt Spring Island and on the Southern Gulf Islands, we are a secondary home/discretionary marketplace, so we do have a "seasonality" to our property viewings and transactions. Our main grid of activity, as I like to call it, basically falls between March Break and the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend (early October).
I suppose the main action takes place from early July to end of September, as boaters would also be more apparent in our waters, during these months. Holiday weekends/breaks also attract more people visiting the Island, some tying a tourist trip with property viewings.
Over time, as the Southern Gulf Islands, including Salt Spring Island (the largest and best serviced of same, and the one with the year round lifestyle), evolved into this secondary home marketplace, it also became apparent that the Islands were in competition with similar coastal communities, all vying for that retirement/recreational buyer. This means that the mainly out of province, if not out of country, buyer also views all coastal areas, as the first choice for the buyer is the "where".
Will it be Salt Spring? Another Gulf Island? Maybe Galiano, or Mayne, or Penders, or Saturna? Possibly even a water access only option, such as Wise, Parker, Gossip, Secret, Prevost, or Piers? There are even private islands to consider! Or, will a recreational community on Vancouver Island attract (such as Parksville/Qualicum, Courtenay/Comox, Yellowpoint & Maple Bay in the Cowichan Valley, or Tofino/Uclulet on the West Coast)? What about the Sunshine Coast, on the Mainland side of Georgia Strait (Pender Harbour, Sechelt, Gibson's Landing)?
That almost totally non-local buyer profile, who only wants to move once when they arrive on B.C.'s southern coast, does take his/her time to consider all the areas, all the options, before they get serious about a particular property in a specific place. The first visit, then, to all of these areas, is usually a "let me check it out/and then I'll think about it" visit.
I alert all sellers to the time lags in all sales, regardless of property type or price, in the Gulf Islands. The buyers are not "local", and there are substantial pauses between visits. It takes at least two visits, and often three, before a decision is made "for" an area. Then there will be an offer on a property in that chosen place.
Important, when a seller, to remember the perspective of a buyer. They have to "choose for" Salt Spring, or Mayne, or Pender Islands, or Galiano, or...and until that choice takes place, they are simply keeping an eye on possibilities. The buyrer, then, regardless of where they decide to purchase, is always in control of the "where" and the "when" of all sales transactions, in any secondary home marketplace, and this is the case regardless of what type of market trend is in play, at any given moment.
When it's a sellers market (which simply means low inventory, higher prices, lots of buyers/fewer sellers) or a buyers market (it's the reverse: more inventory, lower prices, less buyers/more sellers), it always takes time to sell any property on any Gulf Island, because no one "has to" come to them; it's always by choice, and every property on any Island is in competition with equivalent properties in other coastal communities. That first decision is the key one...it's the decision "for" a particular place.
That said, though, there's still the eager question: "what's happening in the market"?
It is most definitely, everywhere in the world, a buyers market. No one is exempt. It may have begun two years ago, in the U.S., and one year ago in the U.K., but it's definitely "everywhere", now. Sales volume is noted, on the coast, has having plummeted by about 54%. This means fewer buyers are acting. Prices appear, at this point, to have reduced by around 14% to almost 30%, depending upon where the property is located/type of property involved. There is a sense that further reductions could be coming, between now and May.
Remember, along with more inventory (that means larger choice) and lower prices (more properties in competition with each other, and lower demand for same), we also have a world in total turmoil. The meltdown of the banks/financial sector, at the same time as the bottoming of the housing markets, at the same time as the decline in the stock market side of investment (unheard of to have all three sectors down, globally, all at the same time), comes a fear factor.
In a fear market, the buyer is loathe to "act". There are many people sitting in cash, right now, who might be attracted to buy good real estate in protected investment areas (there's that Islands Trust, with its cap on growth), but they wonder if things have gone to the bottom, yet. They are hesitant to act, even though interest rates are very low, the Can. Dollar is low compared to the U.S. and Euro Dollars, and the Gulf Islands have a form of government control that prohibits growth.
There seems, though, in my opinion, to be another fear just beginning to show itself. It's the worry over the validity of cash itself. With so much being printed, globally, and only a government backing all this paper money, it might be that cash will become the next "bubble".
And, what about hyperinflation? There is a deflationary/deleveraging going on, right now, that's true. At a recent investment conference, words like "demand destruction" were used, and reference made to a "cleansing process", both in individual and in corporate portfolios. Lurking behind that "plunge" in values, though, we have an inflationary threat. This may be why the surge in gold prices, in the past days.
This concern over the validity of cash may see some people returning to real estate purchases, and the Southern Gulf Islands / Salt Spring Island are well positioned to attract this kind of "preservation of capital" buyer.
More info. on this? Give me a call! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
February 14, 2009.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Remember to remember those who might be on their own...it just takes a smile to create a smile, and the feeling can last all day.
February 13, 2009.
Don't miss the Waiting for Godot performances -- only two left (Feb. 14th at 8 p.m. and Feb. 15th at 2:30 p.m.). This is a "smash hit", as they say! At ArtSpring.
Also at ArtSpring, a late addition to the music programming for February: Beyond the Pale, from Toronto, playing at 2:30 on Feb. 22nd. Ticket info at 250-537-2102.
On Feb. 21st, at 7:30 p.m., also at ArtSpring, enjoy Gareth Owen & his Familia Flamenca. Don't miss this!
Special Valentine's menus offered at Calvin's Bistro (open again, after their "winter break"), at Rock Salt Cafe in Fulford Village, and at Harbour House Hotel, plus at El Zocalo. Your pleasure!
Don't forget to tune into Randy's Vinyl Tap, too, on Saturday nights, CBC Radio 1, between 7 & 9 p.m. (also on Sirius Channel 137).
On Friday, Feb. 20th, there's a presentation by noted bird expert, John Neville, about Salt Spring owls. This free Salt Spring Island Conservancy event starts at 7 p.m., at the Lion's Hall.
Scrabblers are fundraising for African grannies...I'm very pleased to help sponsor Phyllis Hatch. The games for all begin on Feb. 21st. More info? Call 250-65309406.
And congratulations to Paul Minvielle, who earned a second place ribbon for his "light variety" maple syrup, at the second annual Bigleaf Maple Syrup Festival.
Have you picked up your "shop local" card??? Benefit from these great specials, while you enjoy the local shopping experience. Lots of choice, and it's all "right here".
February 12, 2009.
"Make every move count.
Pick your target and hit it.
Perfect concentration means
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations")
February 11, 2009.
Looking for a terrific opportunity, on special Salt Spring Island? Here is North America's only organic golf course! With frontage on Blackburn Lake, and close to Ganges Village, this is an enterprise that awaits your ideas! Adjacent to this golf course acreage (with pro shop), is another acreage, and next to that one is an 11 acre parcel/with home. All owned by the same party, and all for sale. There is potential for expansion, here, for the golf course. See me for details. Walk this one, soon, and consider this as a terrific holding property, for now, and with development potential, in the not too distant future. The parcels are available separately, or as a unit.
February 10, 2009.
Just a reminder -- Tuesdays is afternoon tea day at the Salt Spring Inn (between 1 and 4). If you haven't tried this yet, give yourself a treat!
It must be "almost Spring" -- Calvin's Bistro is opening today, after their January/early Feb. annual closing. Make your reservations for their Valentine's Dinner!
If you haven't seen the "Waiting for Godot" production, put on my Scott Hylands, then rush off to the ArtSpring ticket centre, asap. Saturday, the 14th, at 8 p.m., plus Sunday the 15th matinee.
Looking for some other choices for your Valentine sweetheart?? Bocados Bistro, in Grace Point Square, Piccolo's, Harbour House Hotel are all awaiting your pleasure.
A sweet treat? Rendezvous Cafe, at the Salt Spring Marina, is the place to go!
Check out the Salt Spring Woodworks -- it's their annual sale. Be amazed at some of the wonderful furniture and objets that they showcase.
Canadian bass-baritone, Daniel Okulitch, is in concert this evening -- with pianist Kinza Tyrrell and Salt Spring musicians Alan Micelli and Zav (aka Jamie) RT. At ArtSpring, starting at 8 p.m. Phone 250-537-2102 for ticket info.
Did you get your residents card? Benefit from local business offers and promotions. Go online at: residentscard.com
The Harbour House Hotel offers a Carnaval de Quebec, with special menu, on Thursdays -- check it out!
The days are getting longer...much lighter/much earlier, in the mornings, and still wonderfully light out at 7 p.m. Yes, Spring is coming!
February 9, 2009.
I attended a different kind of an investment conference, on Friday/Saturday. Held in Vancouver, it was an annual conference for those who invest in the stock market side (I always think of this as the alternative to a real estate "hard asset" choice, for one's investment portfolio). In times of great change, I think it's important to be places/listen to things beyond the "regular box" of our own career perspectives. We might learn something that will give us a "path".
There were several speakers, and although they all deal in this equity investment world, they held quite dramatically opposite thoughts of where we are, right now, and where we might be going.
I was interested that one person actually described this chaotic and deleveraging time, as a normal correction/back step, in an otherwise prosperity driven inflationary cycle, that, in his opinion, has been with us since 1933. If you've just lost your job to the downsizing movement underway, or may lose your house or your car, due to debt overload, in your personal sphere, this is going to seem like a bizarre thought, indeed. A lot of most interesting charts were on the big screens, to "substantiate" his thought process.
Another speaker said that the U.S. dollar would win by default, and would remain the international currency standard. The U.S. dollar's main competing currency had been the Euro dollar, and in this speaker's analysis, the Euro was in steep trouble, as were all the European Untion Member countries. He also felt that China would have to retract its growth spiral and would fall back into political struggle. The outcome might be a free market economy. Hard times for Asia, seemed to be his theme. He also felt that commodity driven currencies were also in trouble (Australia? Canada? Russia?).
Someone else gave a twenty point plan of reasons to be optimistic. He was "bullish", it seemed on commodity driven economies.
Another person was forecasting a 60 cent to 71 cent Can. dollar, against the U.S., and was feeling that things would not improve until the third quarter of this year, with many people not seeing a lift until early in 2010.
Another speaker pushed gold as the place to "be".
A very daring person gave an insight into option trading. Mmmmm....... I have to go learn about puts and calls, before sitting in on that kind of a breakout session.
Someone else thought we were into a very long term downturn, to be measured in years/not months, re any recovery, and it was based on his sense that demand destruction is underway, with a result of a balanced global economy. He described it as a cleansing process, in both corporate and individual portfolios. Will there be anyone left at the end of this scrubbing time???
More than ever, I was reminded of the world that Charles Dickens so aptly described. His main themes were about the disappearance of the old Agrarian world, and the upsurge of the new Industrial world. For those passing off, it was painful and destructive. For the new world of the Industrial Revolution, there were terrible injustices, but also huge gains. It was what I call a "sandpaper" moment, between two ways of being, and these societal shift times can be very painful to all involved. I think we're in one, right now.
There didn't seem to be any "meeting ground" among all these speakers. They all sounded as if they were "right". An indicator, I suppose, that this turmoil, as we segue from an Industrial Age into an Information Age, is still with us, and we're all still treading water in the swimming pool of change, not sure where or when to strike out for the ladder to firm ground. Important to hear lots of opinion, though, so that we can bring our personal editing function to the table, too, and be ready to start down the path of the "real future".
A selection of ideas might help us to ride out this shift moment; important to be in the now, in any case. Your ideas? Always welcome!
February 8, 2009.
Here is a magical oceanfront opportunity on Salt Spring Island! The property enjoys great privacy, and is a meadow and forest mix...the panoramic view of ocean, islands, and mountains (see Mt. Baker's majesty from here), can be enlarged, if desired. The cedar cottage has been substantially renovated, and is softly furnished...a turnkey choice! Wood floors, custom windows, expansive decking, French doors to enlarge summer living pleasures, upgraded kitchen/bathroom, sunny bedroom, potential for guest/inlaw studio. Easy to expand this cottage/home, or, enjoy the summer/weekender lifestyle on this delectable Gulf Island. Easy access to sandy beach -- kayaking, beachcombing, swimming, clamming...it's all at your doorstep. Quiet area of fine homes, close to all amenities, yet in its own wonderfully serene world. See Li for appts to view! Just step into your new life, and enjoy!
Febuary 7, 2009.
BBC news reports :
Toyota triples year loss forecast
Sarkozy defends plans for economy
US unemployment rate reaches 7.6%
German industrial output plunges
Huge rise in companies going bust
Sterling rallies after rate cut
Aspirin cuts stomach cancer risk
Vitamin D helps control MS gene
Number of alien worlds quantified
Privacy fears over Google tracker
Pakistan nuclear scientist 'free'
Un chief in India climate warning
Warning over 'surveillance state'
Cows find milky way to happiness
February 6, 2009.
In times that don't appear to have an easy arrow, pointing at the direction we should be looking towards, it's often a good idea to attend some conferences.
To be able to look past the trees, in order to scan the whole forest, we sometimes have to get out of our day to day rhythm, with its obscuring patterns of habit.
In January and February, I always attend as many conferences as possible, both in my field and in related options. Even if only one thing is learned, it might be "the" thing, the idea that sparks our own creativity, and therefore leads us to that "path" to the future.
In these days of upheaval and societal restructuring, it's a good idea to listen to many points of view. This helps us to wake up our own editing function, as we decide for or against what we hear. No one has the answer, it seems, but in this instant on/off digital world, where technology places the "average person" opinion with the same weight as a pundit forecast, our own ideas are essential. We need to listen a lot, mull and ponder, only pay attention to the repetitive reportage of cable news once a week, and then think our way to an outcome that makes sense for us.
No point in looking for an "expert" opinion. Look where that got us!
Time to wake up our own brains, and to pull out of all that we hear, what seems to be the "truth", for us. That might be the beginning of the road map out of this swamp of fear that has created this historic static moment. Isn't that what it means to be human? We can think our way through a process?
Your ideas? Always welcome! Meantime, I'm flying to Vancouver to attend the last in a series of very thought provoking conferences, this one highlighting investment choices.
February 5, 2009.
Looking for an investment opportunity on Salt Spring Island? Here is a legally zoned duplex property, in an area that is developing into a preferred address location, walking distance to the seaside Ganges Village, and to the Sailing Club. Property enjoys a Mt. Baker vista, and Harbour views. Upper level unit offers two bed/one bath, open plan living/dining (balcony deck off dining), galley kitchen, mudroom/laundry entrance, too. Lower (garden) level offers open plan living/dining/kitchen, plus one bed/bath. Some Harbour views from here, too, plus patio area. The property is private and sunny. On community water. Keep "as is" for now, and rent out...develop later as a live in with a sep. mortgage helper. A best buy price, and seller is motivated. Easy to show!
February 4, 2009.
"Distant ridges, far away clouds
All events come from a distance.
With a high vantage point,
Foretelling the future is elementary."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations")
February 3, 2009.
The negative economic news continues. The housing market continues to flatten in the U.S., and the oversupply of inventory keeps prices from stabilizing. These statistics hold in Ontario and in Alberta, too. For the past 8 or so years, the main buyer profile for Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands came from Alberta or Ontario, if a Canadian buyer, or from the U.S.
Although real estate is regional, and some areas are less affected than others, it's nevertheless a buyer's market in all areas, globally. This is good and bad news, depending upon where one sits on the fence.
If a seller, then it's not an appealing proposition to have to sell in a downmarket. One is forced to pay attention to a buyer's thoughts on values.
In a secondary home marketplace, such as on Salt Spring and on the Southern Gulf Islands, it's always (in a sense) a buyer's market. No one "has to" come here. It's all by choice. The buyer is always, then, in control of both the "where" and the "when" of all sales transactions.
Time lags are always a part of all transactions, even in a buoyant market period, as the buyer has to visit more than once, to be able to "choose for" a particular Island, and then the buyer begins to be serious about a property on that chosen island destination. Since no one is "local", times between visits can be extensive, and it usually takes one to three years to sell any property, on any Gulf Island, because of this choosing process. It's not about property type or price, then, but simply about whether the choice should be for Galiano or for Salt Spring or for Pender...or even for an equivalent Vancouver Island location! This searching for "the" place all takes time. At least two visits, and often three, are required for that non-local & mainly out of province/out of country buyer to make a decision "for".
The extra wrinkle, right now, for a seller, in such a secondary home/discretionary marketplace, is that the buyer is now in control of the price point paid in any transaction. With so few sales in place, as a buyer can choose to "wait and see" for a second or third home purchase, it's difficult for both sellers and appraisers to come to grips with an actual "market price". It's all a bit subjective. This might be the reason why so many price reductions, in this kind of discretionary marketplace, take place at the point of sale. It's buyers that set markets, not sellers or realtors. If a buyer makes an offer, and the seller has to sell, then that accepted price creates the market. We need more sales, locally, to "set" that figure/trend.
If one is on the buyer side of the fence, though, it's a very good time to consider a purchase on a Gulf Island. The Islands Trust, back in the mid-70s, created a "preserve and protect" mandate, for the benefit of all B.C. residents. The Islands are "preserve areas", then, where growth is prohibited/strictly controlled by severe zoning/density bylaw restrictions. This means, then, that overall there will always be a low inventory of properties for sale, on any Gulf Island, regardless of market trend in play at any given time. There is a cap on growth. This creates a "protected investment" area, in a real estate ownershiip sense.
Real estate isn't liquid, and it can be difficult to sell it in a downmarket cycle. Over time, though, real estate in such "controlled growth" areas, can only go up in value. The internet erased time and geography, and so opened this area up to a global buyer profile. The mild climate (a microclimate known as "cool Mediterranean"), the proximity to major centres with ease of access to same, yet with a wonderful sense of rural "apartness", and all services/amenities at hand...it's a very alluring place to call home, even if one's lifestyle means that initially one can only "be here" for summers/holidays.
With so much paper currency being printed, globally, for all these bailouts, I wonder why a person with some discretionary income doesn't begin to worry about the validity of cash. With nothing backing all this paper except a government, it might be a good idea to consider a valuable hard asset investment, simply to preserve capital. Inventory remains low, fear makes most people look in the rear view mirror, instead of down the highway, and so many people aren't paying attention to the low Can. dollar against the U.S. dollar and the euro, and to the low interest rates available, right now, and to the protective nature of a purchase of a Gulf Island property. The Trust was created to preserve an environmentally beautiful area, but the outcome of their bylaws was to create an enclave area of beauty.
More details? Give me a call! How may I help you to buy your special Island property?
Sea to Sky Premier Properties
February 2, 2009.
Here's a superb B & B or Country Inn opportunity, on special Salt Spring Island. Custom designed and built, in the mid-90s, and beautifully maintained, this home offers many unique features. Almost seven acres, oceanfront (warm ocean swimming in this area!), with the ability to build a dock and keep your boat at home, this sunny (s/sw/w exposures -- sunsets!) and private property is located in an area of fine homes, close to all amenities, yet in its own serene world. Main level offers a custom/professional kitchen, pantry, office, with entertainment size dining, oceanview living, oceanside library/den, plus master - sitting, with ensuite. Upper level, reached via generous stairs or by full elevator, offers four ensuite bed-sitting rooms, with private entry, too.
Garden level offers exercise room, commercial laundry, nanny/inlaw accomodation, superb workshop/home occupation space (artist?), plus generous storage. Two covered verandah style decks expand summer living pleasures! Dramatic and panoramic ocean/islands/mountain vistas. Would suit a family, or could be a wonderful corporate retreat. Currently a "high end" B & B, and if you're looking for a great business option, on a Southern Gulf Island, this is one of the best!
February 1, 2009.
"Problems cannot be
Resolved at once.
Slowly untie knots
Divide to conquer."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations")