• Marc S. Tremblay

Building lot: check.

We've been looking at lots and cabins on the Gulf Islands for a long time - probably more than 15 years. We started well before we moved to Victoria in 2016. We tried and experienced several Islands before focusing on one of them. We overnighted on Pender, Salt Spring, Saturna, Galiano, Gabriola, Hornby and Cortez Islands. We looked at dozens of properties and made offers three of them, in total.

One was a timeshare on Pender Island. Thankfully, someone made an offer with no conditions and we lost out on it (phew!).

We also made an offer on a cabin on the North side of Mayne Island. This once was in response to a letter-writing campaign we did, when we sent 18 letters to owners that had cute cottages, asking them if they'd be interested in selling their property. We got three responses: two polite negative ones, and one that said "yes, let's talk."

We started talking and everything was going relatively well, but to make a long story short, that too went sideways when we started negotiating the price. And we're glad it did, because we eventually found a much better property...

One day, I took the day off to go visit a lot that had just come on the market, on Mayne Island. It was a 0.3 acre lot in the Dinner bay area. It had an old trailer and septic field on it, with close on all three sides. It was an ok lot, but nothing special.

But while I was on the ferry, our good friend Ian sent me a photo of a For Sale by Owner sign, so I called the number to see if I could walk the lot that same day, which I did. His name was Gary Chase.

It was a much larger lot, just over an acre, on the South side of the island, gently sloping towards the ocean, Navy Channel to be precise, with its shimmering lights visible through the trees.

The property had two old bunkies, a camping trailer from the late 70s, and a tool shed. No septic tank, but it did have a water well.

The bunkies were older, placed on cinder blocks or old tree stumps cut to size. Clearly, they been holding the structures for many many years, but they still look like they are just temporary. Gary explained that he and his family built the lower bunkie with hand-tools years ago, and that the other one was moved there from his Aunt's lot, just down the hill.

So I took some photos and shared them with Dana. We still didn't know which island we wanted to be on, so we went to Pender that weekend to view other properties and get the feel of the Island. We saw several properties, including a large 1-acre parcel that was shaded from the late afternoon sun. We could see Mayne Island in the distance, and Dana pointed and said "I want to be there, in the sun..." I said "well, that's where the 1-acre lot is on Mayne", so we made plans to see it the following weekend.

Dana and I walked the lot, inspected the bunkies, drove around the area, including visiting Piggott and Gallagher bays. Dana loved it! She said this was the first property that she really liked. I liked it too, but was a bit concerned about the older bunkies, but they could be used as is, right now, with a bit of cleaning, organizing and fixing...

We decided we would make an offer, and feeling a bit overconfident and worried someone else would buy it at the same time, we wrote "Sale Pending" on the sign as we headed back to Victoria.

After some due diligence and negations, we became proud owners of this 1-acre parcel in February 2021.

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