LandQuest Realty Corporation

LandQuest Realty Corporation

February 11, 2010 08:00 ET

Unique British Columbia Island Attracts Buyers Around the World

It's not just the 2010 Olympics that's bringing the world to Canada's West Coast

NEW WESTMINISTER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 11, 2010) - International buyers from the UK, Bermuda, China, Dubai, and the US have purchased properties on a unique island on Canada's West Coast. In 1859, owned by the Hudson's Bay Company, the name was changed from Sallas Island to Sidney Island in the hope of attracting settlers with a more British name. More than 150 years later, that dream is coming true.

Located near the city of Victoria, Sidney Island is often referred to as the jewel of the Gulf Islands. It is the last major undeveloped island in the strait between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Sidney Island is off the power grid and is a model of sustainability with solar power, rainwater collection and precious conservation zones. It boasts miles of sand beaches, pristine forests and spectacular ocean and mountain views. The spectacular 400-acre Sidney Spit National Park located at the north end of the island is the only other occupant of the island.

When the Sidney Island lots were put up for sale in 2002 they caught the eye of Bermuda based investment professional, Kirk Caza.

"I was looking for a unique place for a family retreat that was undeveloped and private, yet a mild climate and not too far from civilization," he explains. "I certainly found all of that and more on Sidney Island. We have a pristine oceanfront property that is only minutes from ferries and stores." 

Kirk spread the word to friends resulting in the eventual sale of 22 of those lots to buyers from the UK and Bermuda. One of those buyers, UK venture capitalist Allan Cockell is building a home designed by renowned Canadian architect Bo Helliwell of Blue Sky Architecture. Cockell says the group of like-minded individuals who own property on the island are what attracted him to the island.

"Sidney Island is close to some big cities but it has the feeling of being quite remote," Cockell says. "People have bought property here because they are attracted to the place and are interested in forming a new community. Sidney Island is a jewel, and we hope it will remain that way."

It is not unusual for British Columbia's super natural beauty to attract real estate investors from around the world, according to Richard Osborne, President of LandQuest Realty Corporation, one of the largest recreational property agents on Canada's West Coast and realtor for the Sidney Island properties.

"Despite the global economic recession, we continue to see interest from buyers around the world," he explains. "There truly is something for everyone in British Columbia – we have oceanfront, lakefront, mountain, desert and forests. There are few places in the world that offer this beauty and diversity."

As the eyes of the world turn to BC for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Osborne expects even more interest in BC properties. "They won't be disappointed," he promises.

As for Allan Cockell and his fellow international property owners, they like Sidney Island just as it is – perfect, pristine and well-protected.

Sidney Island Facts

  • Located just four km off the coast of Vancouver Island 2,200 acre Sidney Island includes 111 properties which share about 1,500 acres of common land. Amenities include a marina, airstrip and areas of special environmental significance preserved as conservation zones.

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