SENIORS NEED HOUSING HELP

Seniors Outreach is running a 50/50 raffle to raise funds for seniors in need of housing help in Kelowna.

As the housing market continues to rise, seniors with fixed incomes are struggling to pay their rent. According to reports, Kelowna is the third most expensive city in Canada in terms of rent prices. Castanet data shows a one-bedroom is now renting for $1,500 in the Central Okanagan.

Seniors Outreach executive director Vi Sorenson says finding a new place to live is stressful for anyone, but even more so for the elderly.

“Picture someone who is in their eighties who may have dementia or Alzheimer’s trying to call ads and have conversations with landlords,” said Sorenson. “It creates a lot of anxiety and confusion. These vulnerable people are struggling as they find themselves on the verge of experiencing homelessness.”

2021 saw the lowest vacancy rate since 2017, yet rental rates were up nearly five per cent. This indicates there is more demand for rental units than what’s currently available.

According to Seniors Outreach, rent in Kelowna can be more than the Canadian Pension Plan pays – an average of $779 per month.

Funds generated in the raffle will help Seniors Outreach fund their companion housing program, run their housing directory, and to employ a social worker. The worker will help clients navigate the system and sorts through housing options such as affordable or low-income housing, assistive living, supportive housing, and long-term care.

You can purchase tickets for the raffle and get more details here.

Christmas Holiday movie being filmed in Kelowna neighbourhood

 

CHRISTMAS IN MAY?

Snow has covered the streets of Kelowna this May.

In particular, fake snow and Christmas decorations have been on display at two houses located on Elliot Avenue and Richter Street, for an upcoming Christmas Holiday movie.

A film production team with a handful of trucks and equipment has been spotted in the area on and off for about a week, with the team working hard to produce a quality flick.

A crew member has said that the team will be in the area over a three-week period, with someone controlling traffic flow in both directions between takes.

The name of the film is unknown at this time, but a female actress was spotted with a young actor who appeared to be about 10 years of age.

People are encouraged to take alternative routes in the area, but the road is open to local traffic.

Kelowna has become a popular filming location for made-for-TV movies over the past few years.

The Okanagan Film Commission says last year, 32 projects were shot in the region, bringing $43,970,500 in to the local economy.

GoByBike Week registration is now open in Penticton

 

GET PSYCHED FOR BIKE WEEK

Planning for Penticton’s upcoming GoByBike Week is underway, with plenty of wheels turning and gears spinning in anticipation.

GoByBike Week will be May 30 through June 5, encouraging residents to use bikes instead of cars to do everything from running errands to commuting to work or just exploring the community.

The GoByBike organization is hoping to get more people than ever to participate. Last year, more than 600 people participated and logged in their time on bikes.

Registration is open to individuals or teams.

More information will be coming soon about events, sponsors and prize opportunities, but registration is available now here.

Summerland residents push for upgrades, environmental protection in future of waterfront areas

 

NEXT STEPS FOR WATERFRONT

The importance of keeping lakeshore areas and beaches well maintained to the Summerland community is expressed well in the feedback for the Waterfront Concept Plan, which will be presented to district council on Tuesday.

The feedback was collected in March ahead of developing a Waterfront Concept Plan by consultants from Lees & Associates, which included input sessions with Council, the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, environmental resources, youth, service clubs, park user groups, community organizations, neighbours, and local businesses.

This includes Peach Orchard Beach, Rotary Beach Park and Horse Beach.

The plan will follow aims set by council focusing on design and services promoting inclusivity and promotion of physical activity for healthy lifestyles.

It will set the future course of stewardship for park land, beaches, amenities, swimming and water activities and infrastructure in the areas of Peach Orchard Beach to Rotary Beach Park.

Initial feedback from the reports suggest that residents are passionate about maintaining opportunities for horses and dogs to enjoy the beaches and water is important.

Out of the online survey, which included 480 responses the public, residents want to see:

  • Improved swimmer safety, including reduced conflict between water recreation users (boaters, swimmers, etc)
  • Universal accessibility improvements, especially to the water, washrooms, and seating areas
  • Environment and sustainability included, protecting the waterfront environment
  • Parking is a challenge, but keeping park space is more important and improved bike infrastructure is needed.
  • A desire for more canopy trees and native planting

In the overall feedback from the survey, improving amenities and the landscape, improve trails for walking and biking, and enhancing the environment were prominent.

Respondents also want to see the washrooms made to be fully accessible with year round use and a Family wash and change rooms included.

On Rotary Beach, respondents want to see improvements made to:

  • Shelter from the sun (51%)
  • More trees (45%)
  • Fire pits (38%)
  • Amenities for food trucks (36%)
  • Larger open water swim area (30%)

On Peach Orchard Park, respondents want to see improvements made to:

  • Expand/ improve beach (52%)
  • More trees + habitat (39%)
  • Amenities for food trucks (31%)
  • Shelter from the sun (29%)
  • Accessibility at the Dog Beach (28%)

On Horse Beach, respondents want to see:

  • Keep it as it is – keep it natural and quiet, as a local’s beach (58 open ended responses)
  • Ensure horse access (52 responses)
  • Improve parking especially for trailers (27 responses)

Heading forward, the key improvements suggested are to include: A continuous bike path that provides cycling infrastructure, sufficient accessible parking, set up life saving equipment, add riparian planting and use nature-based solutions to protect and restore the shoreline, plant additional trees in the parks and along the Centennial Trail and clarify and communicate animal regulations.

The consultants are planning for an in-person public open House on June 16, 2022, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 pm, with a presentation at 5:30 pm, at the Arena Banquet Room to display draft concept plans and collect community input.

A second public survey will be issued and available from June 6 – 26, 2022, to gain further input from the public.

The consultants are targeting the beginning of August to have the Waterfront Concept Plan completed and will return to Council on August 22, 2022, to present the final Plan.

Canada Still Sells Homes for Less Than $200K — Just Not in Its Most Coveted Cities

 

In the backdrop of the country’s adverse housing market, a wider search beyond Canada’s largest and most expensive cities shows regional pockets of affordability

Housing affordability is a subjective matter, but it takes on a whole different meaning in Canada’s post-pandemic market: Following a 30% hike compared to early 2020, the national median price recently reached nearly twice the U.S. median. With home prices swelling to record numbers in the last two years, homebuyers found themselves readjusting their budgets.

Although not the lowest figure, $200,000 (about one-quarter of the average national home price) is a suitable reference point to gauge the share of what is now referred to as an “affordable listing.” The reality is that $200K isn’t enough to land a home in almost any of Canada’s most coveted cities. In fact, only about10% of all homes for sale in Canada are less than $200K — and very few of them are in major cities, where median home prices are exploding.

What’s more, as urban hubs continue to deal with sky-high demand and similarly sky-high costs, data shows that housing options for less than $200,000 are incredibly scarce in the top 50 largest and most expensive cities: These needles in the haystack account for less than 1% of the entire stock for sale.

However, the chance of finding a home for sale for less than $200K increases when zooming in on the most populous cities within a region. Point2 analysts discovered that homebuyers who are willing to expand their house-hunting grounds to the largest cities in The Prairies, Atlantic Canada or Québec can have their pick of broader concentrations of more affordable listings.

Here’s what caught our eye at the national and regional levels:

  • 38 of Canada’s 50 largest, most expensive cities — which, incidentally, are all in Ontario and British Columbia — showcase zero listings for less than $200,000.
  • Kawartha Lakes, ON is the only larger city where more than 1% of all homes for sale are less than $200K.
  • Among the largest cities at the regional level, Cape Breton, NS, in Atlantic Canada boasts the highest share of homes for sale under $200K: 44%.
  • Populous cities across The Prairies have the most homes for sale under 200K, particularly Edmonton, AB (1,300), and Regina, SK (400).

Ontario & BC: Your Only Shots for Homes Under $200K in the Big City

Beyond ever-evolving prices, the housing crisis has been blamed on various factors, from scarce affordable inventory to increased nationwide demand caused by immigration. And although legislative documents (like the recently proposed More Homes for Everyone Act) support speedy development, things are looking bleak for home buyers in Canada’s main hubs.

Settling in the largest, most desirable cities comes with an extreme price tag, so the chances of finding a starter home here are close to zero. Literally. Only 12 of the 50 most expensive large cities display homes for sale for less than $200,000  all in Ontario and British Columbia. (Spoiler alert: None of them are Toronto or Vancouver). Even so, the percentages are a letdown for homebuyers on a budget.

Kawartha Lakes, ON, sets itself apart with almost 5% of for-sale stock priced at $200,000 or less (many of them vacation homes). Trailing way behind are cities like Kelowna (0.96%) or Surrey, BC (0.46%), where the odds of finding something more affordable become increasingly unfavorable.

Interestingly enough, listings below $200K are nonexistent in both Welland, ON— where the median price is the lowest among the 50 largest cities — and in Richmond Hill, ON, where the median price is almost double the national average.

Big Cities in Atlantic Canada & The Prairies Boast Highest Shares of Listings Under $200K

While the 50 largest cities in the nation don’t offer a great deal of hope, things are looking up in the largest cities in each region. According to Statistics Canada, more people are leaving the country’s main hubs for less hyped-up areas — and understandably so: $200,000 might not get you much in the glitzy cities, but it can access a wider selection of more affordable homes at the regional level.

Regional affordability difference is reflected in the number of cities with listings under $200K in each analyzed region. Specifically, most of the larger cities in Atlantic Canada and The Prairies showed significant shares of less expensive homes for sale, as opposed to Ontario or BC.

Below, read more on the percentage of homes for sale for less than $200,000 in the most populous cities in five regions: The Prairies, Atlantic Canada, Québec, Ontario, and British Columbia.

The Prairies: 8 Cities with Considerable Shares of Listings Under $200K

On top of making various lists of affordable cities, the concentrations of homes priced below $200,000 range from 36.50% in Regina, SK, to almost 7% in Calgary, AB. Notably, although Edmonton, AB, falls somewhere in the middle with nearly 25% of all homes for sale coming in at $200K or less, the city actually claimed the highest number of such listings with almost 1,300. Other cities with significant shares of homes for sale for $200K or less are: Lethbridge, AB (26.10%), Saskatoon, SK (23.47%), Winnipeg, MB (23.45%), Red Deer, AB (22.80%), and Airdrie, AB (8.43%).

Atlantic Canada: Cape Breton Island Overflows with 44% of Listings Under $200K

With most of its large cities flaunting median prices well below the national average, Atlantic Canada doesn’t disappoint when it comes to more affordable homes. For example, of all stock for sale in Cape Breton, NS, more than 44% is less than $200,000, followed by 26.7% in Saint John, NB, and 13.46% in St. John’s, NL. Coincidentally, Halifax, NS — the largest of the six — has the smallest share of homes for sale for less than $200K (1.63%), while also posting the highest median price among the region’s largest cities at nearly $598,000.

 

Québec: Shares of Affordable Dwellings Dwindle Following Québec City’s 9.8%; Montréal at 0.3%

Perhaps surprisingly, Québec City logs the most affordable median price in the region at a little more than $331,000. Furthermore, the share of listings priced below $200K here closes in on 10% — a percentage that translates into about 240 homes on the more affordable side. At the same time, gradually smaller shares around 1% to 2% are found in Longueuil, Gatineau, and Laval. As you might expect, Montréal boasts the highest number of overall homes for sale (about 4,900), although only 0.31% — 15 of them — are priced below $200,000.

British Columbia: Slim Pickings Below $200K as Region Posts $1M Median Home Price

As we enter $1M median home price territory, it’s no wonder that affordability gets harder and harder to reach. In fact, the median home price is more than $1 million in the five largest cities in BC. Right off the bat, the highest concentration of homes less than $200K feels like a harsh reality check: just 0.46% in Surrey (most of them manufactured homes). Meanwhile, none of the 3,200 homes for sale in Vancouver go for less than $200,000, and the situation is similar in nearby Burnaby. And, although Abbotsford has the lowest median price among the region’s largest cities ($1,078,000) and 14 in 1,000 homes here are for sale, a measly 0.26% of its for-sale stock is priced at $200,000 or less.

Ontario: Hamilton & Ottawa the Only Large Cities with Listings Under $200K

Between British Columbia and Ontario, finding affordable options is almost impossible for homebuyers on a budget. There are simply no homes for sale for less than $200K in Toronto, nor in nearby Mississauga or Brampton. And, although Hamilton and Ottawa do offer shares of such listings, the percentages are negligible at 0.24% and 0.14%, respectively.

For more on the shares of homes currently for sale for less than $200,000 in Canada’s most populous cities by region, check out the table below:

While $200,000 as the new affordability threshold might sound surreal to some, there are silver linings on the Canadian horizon. The need for housing caused the national vacancy rate to fall for the first time in 20 years. More importantly, prices began to slow in the spring, with optimistic forecasts of further drops by the end of the year. Here’s hoping.

Methodology

  • For the nationwide ranking, we looked at median home prices in the top 100 most populous cities in Canada to determine the 50 most expensive large cities in the country. We then analyzed the number of homes below $200,000 in each of them.
  • At the regional level, we selected the top cities by population in single province regions, as well as in multiple province regions. The Prairies and Atlantic Canada group multiple provinces due to the low number of highly populated cities.
  • We looked at the largest cities with the highest shares of listings below $200,000 in each region, namely: The Prairies, Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Québec, and Ontario.
  • To gauge the inventory of homes for sale for less than $200,000 in each city, we examined and counted listings from REALTOR.ca. The study was based on all active listings, as well as listings pending sale, priced up to and including $200,000 at the time of the analysis (the first week of May 2022).
  • We used MLS Benchmark Composite Prices for the majority of the cities included in the analysis, with the exception of Montréal, Hamilton, Halifax, Laval, London, Gatineau, Longueuil, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Cape Breton, Belleville, where we considered Median or Average Sale Prices as per local MLS monthly reports, and Montréal, Laval, Longueuil, Kelowna, Kamloops, where we used a weighted average of the prices for each property type to determine the Composite Price. Where unavailable at city level, we looked at Local MLS Prices at regional level: Québec, Longueuil, Kelowna, Saanich, Brantford, Nanaimo, Victoria, Saint John, and Fredericton.

Fair use and redistribution

We encourage and freely grant permission to reuse, host or repost this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to Point2Homes.com or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology.

Buying a cottage this summer? Here’s what’s happening in some of the most popular recreational regions in Canada.

Two kayakers on a peaceful lake at sunset

As thousands of Canadians make their way to cottage country this May long weekend – the unofficial start of summer – many will be on the hunt for a recreational property to call their own. If you’re one of them, you may be curious to know what’s new since the release of the Royal LePage Spring Recreational Property Report in March of this year. We checked in with our real estate experts in some of the most popular cottage regions across the country to understand the latest market trends, and to find out what we can expect this season.

Pays-d’en-Haut (Laurentians), Quebec

In the Regional County Municipality of Pays-d’en-Haut in the Laurentians, single-family home sales were down 38% in the months of March and April, 2022, compared to the same period last year, due to the supply shortage. In April, active listings in the single-family segment dropped by more than 18% year-over-year. Éric Léger, real estate broker, Royal LePage Humania, says that 26 months into the pandemic, demand for real estate remains strong, even if less so than the spring of 2021. 

“Properties priced below $500,000 continue to attract multiple offers,” he said. “There are still a large number of experienced buyers in the market prepared to compete. But, for first-time buyers, the challenge remains and some have been priced out due to high home ownership costs.”

The median price of a single-family home in the region reached $515,000 over the course of March and April, 2022, a 22.6% increase over the same period last year; a jump of nearly $100,000. 

Memphrémagog (Eastern Townships), Quebec

In the Regional County Municipality of Memphrémagog, strong demand continues to outstrip supply. Single-family home sales were down 27% in the months of March and April, 2022, compared to the same period last year. Dan Coutu, real estate broker, Royal LePage Au Sommet in Estrie, says there has been a slight uptick in inventory in recent weeks.  

“New inventory is being added for all property types, which could help to alleviate some of the competition in the market, although it is unlikely there will be enough supply to have a significant impact on prices in the short-term,” he said. “Buyers with a budget of less than $700,000 will have to compromise on something, including moving further out to find an affordable property close to the water.”

The median price of a single-family home in the region reached $491,000 over the course of March and April, 2022, a 16.9% increase over the same period last year. For properties on or close to the water, that figure jumps to more than $800,000. 

Southern Georgian Bay, Ontario

As reported in March, the median price of a single-family home in Southern Georgian Bay – which includes Collingwood, Meaford, Wasaga Beach and Thornbury – was 27.5% higher in 2021 than the year prior. Desmond von Teichman, broker, Royal LePage Locations North, says home prices are continuing to rise despite lower activity levels at the start of the spring market. 

“So far in 2022, total sales in the region are down 25% compared to the same period last year, but prices are up almost 30%. Compared to an average pre-pandemic year, however, sales remain well above the norm. Even with less demand than last year, there is still not enough supply to satisfy all those in search of a home in Southern Georgian Bay, be it a vacation property or a primary residence,” he said, adding that open houses have once again become popular. Royal LePage expects demand will continue to outstrip supply this year.

Muskoka, Ontario

As reported in March, the median price of a single-family home in Muskoka was 49.0% higher in 2021 than the year prior, while waterfront properties were up 28.7%. John O’Rourke, broker, Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka, says home prices in the region are continuing to rise as a chronic shortage of waterfront homes continues to create tight competition for buyers. 

“While the rise in interest rates, the high price of gas and other consumer goods, and a general sense of fatigue have reduced the number of buyers in the market, at least for the time being, we remain firmly in a seller’s market. In the first four months of 2022, waterfront property sales were down 58% compared to the same time last year. However, an attractive waterfront property is still going to sell at a premium. Educated buyers who are serious about owning in Muskoka are willing to pay top dollar. I don’t expect that to change,” he said. O’Rourke noted that the months of inventory was four times higher in April than the same month last year, indicating an eventual return to a more balanced market.

Canmore, Alberta

As reported in March, the median price of a single-family home in Canmore was 32.7% higher in 2021 than the year prior. Brad Hawker, associate broker, Royal LePage Solutions, says current demand remains strong in the region, which continues to be extremely popular with buyers from all across the country, since the start of the pandemic. 

“In the first four months of 2022, sales in Canmore were approximately 35% higher than an average year, but compared to the record-setting 2021 figures, sales were actually down 39%.This is due in large part to a drop in active inventory,” he said. Hawker noted that low supply is continuing to drive strong competition in the market, resulting in many homes still selling in multiple-offer scenarios, above the asking price; fewer, however, than during the peak in February and early March. Royal LePage expects home prices will continue to rise through the remainder of 2022.  

Central Okanagan, British Columbia

As reported in March, the median price of a single-family home in Central Okanagan was 22.2% higher in 2021 than the year prior, while waterfront properties were up 20.2%. Francis Braam, broker, Royal LePage Kelowna, says that market activity is now beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels. 

“Although supply shortages continue to challenge buyers across the region, inventory was up 8% year-over-year in April. Demand has reduced in recent months due to rising interest rates as well as buyer fatigue. And, some buyers are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, in the unlikely event that prices drop significantly. In April, unit sales were down 35% compared to the same month last year,” he said. Royal LePage expects home prices to hold steady, and that activity in the condominium market will remain popular among buyers looking for vacation properties that can be rented out.

For price data in these and many other recreational regions across the country, use the links below to read the Royal LePage Spring Recreational Property Report and price chart.

Do I need a REALTOR® to sell my home?

 

Asian couple, woman in red dress, sitting on a couch, smiling and shaking hands with a realtor

These days, you can find an online video or how-to article for just about any DIY project… but when it comes to the single biggest financial decision of your life, there are sound reasons for choosing a professional. 

A REALTOR®1 will guide you through the entire process from start to finish. They provide skilled guidance on preparing your home for the market, viewings, negotiations and navigating the legal process of the transaction. Their expertise in the real estate market can also help you set the correct listing price for your home.

Here are some benefits to consider:

MARKETING AND SHOWING YOUR HOME: Top realtors will have access to best-in-class marketing services to show your home at its best and to as wide of an audience as possible. From photography services, staging, viewings and digital marketing, having a skilled professional on your side will get the most traction to your listing.   

ACCESS TO A LARGE NETWORK: A licensed real estate agent will have access to a large network of potential buyers. Through their professional databases and relationships with other agents, a realtor may have other clients, or colleagues with clients, who are interested in purchasing your home. They also have access to insights that can help you make a more informed decision, like comparable prices, market conditions and other trends.

NEGOTIATING: It’s called the art of negotiation for a reason – it is a real skill. A realtor is a professional negotiator who understands your local market. They know what has sold in the area and where demand is coming from. Lean on them to help you get the best sale price for your home.

NAVIGATING THE TRANSACTION: Having an experienced professional on your side will take the stress out of the critical paperwork that is necessary when selling your home. When working with a realtor, you will have the confidence that all your affairs are in order.

ACCESS TO OTHER PROFESSIONALS: It’s always helpful to have referrals from friends and family when hiring a professional. Just as you may be referred to an agent, your agent can refer others to you. Real estate professionals have access to a large network of home inspectors, appraisers, contractors, financial advisors and mortgage brokers, and movers, to name a few.

Want to find a Royal LePage real estate agent in your area?


1The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.

Home Inspection Checklist: What Home Inspectors Look For

Sellers might not always be thrilled to have their homes inspected, but it’s not all bad. It gives you a chance to keep on top of any issues and, in many ways, makes it easier for you to sell your home. So, knowing what to expect from the home inspection can go a long way to seeing your home pass with flying colors.

Home Inspections — The Basics

In general, home inspectors will spend between two and four hours examining the following components:

  • Roof and gutters
  • Attic
  • HVAC systems
  • Interior plumbing and electrical systems
  • Structural elements such as walls, ceilings and floors
  • Windows and doors
  • Foundations
  • Basement
  • Exterior elements

Their goal is to identify defects within the home’s structural integrity, as well as appliances. Inspectors will focus on various components that may be nearing the end of their lifespan or have been damaged or neglected, causing them to become unsafe. The results are written up into a report that buyers can use to assist in their decision to buy the house in question.

Your Home Inspection Checklist

Knowing what an inspector will look at gives you a chance to repair any damage and address any issues in advance.

1.     The Roof

In general, inspectors will look for issues with sagging, problems with shingles, mold and signs of water damage and leaks. They will also look at your gutters.

Be sure to fix up any loose shingles, clear your gutters and repair leaks, and finally fix any chimney damage.

2.     The Attic

In the attic, the inspector will continue to look for signs of water damage from a leaking roof and examine the insulation.

Ensure you have sufficient insulation in place. In cold climates, icicles hanging from the edge of your roof can indicate issues with insulation in the attic. If there are any signs of leaks, have them repaired.

3.     HVAC systems

Inspectors generally look at the age of HVAC systems, leaks, issues with pressure, sediment build-up and corrosion.

If your system isn’t working properly, be sure to have it checked and repaired by a professional. It’s well worth replacing any filters before the inspection, and also, be sure that there’s no chimney or fireplace damage. If the system is in really bad shape, consider replacing it entirely, or prepare to reduce your sale price.

4.     Plumbing

A decent inspector will take a good look at the entire plumbing system of a house, examining basic pipework, sump pumps and septic tanks.

Be sure that you have good drainage throughout the home, check for outdated or leaking pipework, and ensure all toilets, sinks, showers and baths are functioning correctly.

5.     Electrical systems

All electrical systems will be thoroughly checked to ensure that everything is up-to-code and safe. Inspectors must be extremely thorough, as outdated or faulty wiring can be fatal.

If required, update the wiring throughout your home, as well as circuit breakers and grounding to make sure they’re up to code. Also, check that all exhaust fans, power sockets and light fixtures are working correctly. Finally, test all your fire and smoke detectors.

6.     Structural Elements

Home inspectors spend a good amount of time ensuring the house will remain standing for the foreseeable future. In doing so, they will check ceilings, walls, the roof and foundations.

Ensure your walls and ceilings are straight and level with no stains or cracks. Keep an eye out for signs of water damage or mold and repair any issues. Sticking doors throughout the home can indicate significant problems with the foundations, as can large cracks in the walls and uneven floors. In this case, have a professional take a look.

7.     Windows and Doors

Windows and doors can allow heat to escape the home if they’re not properly sealed. Moreover, if they’re faulty, they can be a cause for concern.

Check the caulk around all windows and doors and reseal if necessary. In addition, install drip caps on your windows, replace faulty handles, secure wood trims and frames, and replace any cracked panes.

8.     The Basement

As they inspect the basement, inspectors will mostly look for evidence of foundation problems, issues with damp and adequate insulation.

Tackle any signs of water damage and fix any issues with dampness. Also, ensure sufficient insulation is installed. Large cracks and broken brickwork in the basement can hint at foundation issues, so have these seen to.

9.     Exterior Elements

Inspectors will also take a good look at the outside of your home. Besides cosmetic issues, they’ll be looking for evidence of water damage.

Repair any damage to sidings and trims and repaint the exterior walls and frames if necessary. With stucco, repair any loose or damaged areas. Check your water spouts and gutters, and make sure that water is draining away from the house properly.

Westside residents offered grants to protect homes from wildfire

 

GRANTS TO PROTECT HOMES

The City of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation is offering residents grant money to home owners who are taking steps to protect their homes from wildfire.

“FireSmart properties and neighbourhoods enable firefighters to deploy more of their resources directly towards wildfire response, which ultimately saves lives and homes,” says West Kelowna Fire Rescue Chief Jason Brolund.

“Actions that Westside residents take within 10 metres of their homes will have the biggest impacts in reducing the threat of wildfire.”

Brolund says fire smart solutions, supported by city grant funding, help homeowners eliminate hazards.

“We see many situations where quickly ignitable pine limbs should be pruned away to keep needles from dropping on cedar shake roofs, or where a tree should be removed entirely to create a fire break between a home and nearby forest,” says Brolund.

“Homeowners are also often unaware of fire hazards from cedar hedges. Although beautiful, and green on the outside, they are dry, dead and extremely combustible on the inside.”

Residents can apply online now for grants to help recover the costs of taking FireSmart actions by following these simple steps:

  • Download, print and complete a free, self-directed assessment at westkelownacity.ca/firesmart
  • Take photos before, conduct the eligible FireSmart work and take photos after
  • Complete your grant application, including photos and receipts, and submit to West Kelowna Fire Rescue at firesmart@westkelownacity.ca or call 778-797-3200 for assistance

Fire smart actions include:

  • Installing non-combustible roofing and siding
  • Cleaning eaves and installing gutter guards
  • Keeping needles raked, moving bark mulch from around the house, keeping grass cut to less than 10 centimetres and properly pruning or removing hedges, shrubs and trees away from your house
  • Moving firewood, fuel and propane tanks and other combustible materials 10 to 30 metres from your home

Okanagan Lake starts rising, delayed snowpack could be beneficial to have water peak during summer

 

LAKE LEVELS SLOWLY RISING

While Okanagan Lake still sits low, Penticton’s dam manager said it is in a better place than before, as he continues his focus on capturing as much water as possible.

The lake remains a little under 70 centimetres, or over two feet, below the full pool target level.

“Right now, we’re probably more concerned with filling the lake to a proper degree than we would be for flooding concerns on the lake. So we probably won’t be raising our outflows through the dam to the degree we thought we would, say even several weeks ago,” Shaun Reimer, the Okanagan section head and Penticton dam manager said.

In their forecast, Reimer expects about 85 centimeters of water coming into Okanagan Lake between now and the end of July.

“If that forecast comes into being or, potentially, we could get less than that forecast, then we’re gonna have a struggle getting the lake up to the full pool target,” he said.

“If we have though, a rainy or just a normal-ish kind of summer, our hopes are that even if we don’t get to the level we’d like to, that by fall we can still recover.”

Last year, the lake level was lowered in anticipation of the high snow pack levels combined with spring rain. But when the Okanagan saw an incredibly dry spring and summer, the low levels brought on a drought.

Reimer said the levels are in a better position this year compared to last.

As of May 1, the average snowpack in the Okanagan is 83 per cent of normal, up from 74 per cent last month.

B.C.’s River Forecast Centre published its latest Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin on Tuesday, which states that cool weather in April has delayed snow melt.

“That late snowpack sticking around at the higher elevations might be a good thing. So it’s sticking around and getting to give us the ability to continue to fill the lake and a little bit later on into the summer,” Reimer said.

“When you want that water later in the summer for fish, for irrigators, for recreation, for all the various interests, just for that general water supply purpose. It’s harder to keep it in the lake when it peaks earlier. But if it sticks around, in the upper levels, that’s probably beneficial for all those interests.”

The case this spring has been a growing concern for flooding with the tributaries. As snowpack is only one indicator of potential flooding, a close eye will be kept on upcoming forecasts and weather events.