Thursday, January 28, 2010

It will be FULL DAY kindergarten on Gabriola in 2010 !

I was with my kids at Gymnastics in Nanaimo tonight and there was a buzz going around about which schools were selected for full day kindergarten beginning in Fall 2010. I checked the School District 68 site when I got home and found a link to Full Day Kindergarten in the news. This sheet also contains answers to frequently asked questions and lists the schools selected.
For parents with children attending kindergarten in Sept. 2010, you should enroll your child soon as registration opened on Jan 4. (Submitted by: Tina Lynch)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Madrona Marketplace Update

Madrona Marketplace still expects to open for business April 1st. Over the next couple weeks you will see the exterior finishing completed as electrical, plumbing and concrete slabs are undertaken inside. Tenants are busy working on signage, ordering equipment and stock, as well as build out plans for each unit. Sounds like there is going to be some amazing retail and office interiors! Excitingly, Slice of Life Gallery and Gift store is the newest to join Madrona Marketplace leaving only one 700 sq ft space! Mark Whalen and Maarten Perera of Slice of Life will offer art supplies and interesting giftware in the dramatic art gallery space. The "coffee place" which has been called the "coffee place" now has a name; it will open up as Mad Rona"s Coffee Bar and offer everyone's favorite espresso drinks alongside excellent brewed coffee, pastries and treats. As we get closer to completion we will announce our grand opening and advise of any newcomers to Madrona Marketplace!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gabriola helps Haiti (Island to Island)

I think we all felt a huge sense of compassion and sympathy for all of those in Haiti when we heard the news about the Earth Quake. Within days of hearing about the event, the Gabriola community had already organized a fundraiser, including a fantastic array of musicians, snacks and a silent auction. The “Help Haiti” fundraiser will take place at the Gabriola Community Hall tomorrow night starting at 7:30pm, I think I’m going to stretch my kids bed time so that they can see the value of a community pulling together to help those in desperate need.
I’ve included the paintings that my 6yr old daughter and I donated for the silent auction, let’s hope there’s a good turn out for another Island that needs our help. (submitted by: Tina Lynch)
Tickets are $20 at Artworks.
UPDATE: We attended the fundrasier and when we arrived it was standing room only, over $14,000 was raised (which will be matched by the gov't). I'm so impressed that Gabriola could achieve this so quickly !

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A quick power outage on Gabriola

During the late evening of January 17th we had a severe windstorm hit Gabriola Island, with many branches knocking down power lines. BC Hydro had the power to most homes on the Island repaired by 1pm on January 18th , a minor disruption considering the high winds. We have had relatively few power outages on the Island this year which is great, although they do create memorable moments when they occur once in a while.
I just found an interesting tool that BC Hydro has on their website, which shows a map of the power outages, how many customers are affected, when it went out and when it’s expected back. Of course you likely won’t have Internet access during a power outage but they also have an application for your mobile phone.
If your looking to prepare yourself on what to do during a power outage, you can visit the BC Hydro website.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gabriola - Market Value and Property Assesments

BC Tax assessment notices were recently sent out to property owners, some owners saw an increase while others saw a dramatic decrease in the assessment of their property. The assessment notice that property owners receive reflects the the value as of July 1 of the previous year, in a changing market, on the day when assessments are sent out they are already 6 months old. There are important factors to consider when a buyer looks at assessment notices, homeowners in the same neighborhood may have protested their taxed value, there may have been a sale that skews the value, upgrades that didn't require a permit, and the length of time since the BC Assessment appraiser has conducted a property inspection.

The Market Value takes into consideration recent Real Estate transactions, supply and demand of housing in the local market, current economic situation, and mortgage rates. If your looking at purchasing a property, you may choose to get an appraisal rather than looking at the tax assessment as they will consider similar homes that have sold and replacement cost formulas based on current prices. Mortgage Lenders will likely require an appraisal to make sure you aren't paying more than market value.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Canada Home Renovation Tax Credit - Making the most of it.

It's that time of year, when I'm rifling through my pockets, purses, drawers and files looking for every last receipt. This year, I'm making sure I set aside a stack that I can use towards the Home Renovation Tax Credit. I wanted to check what I could include towards it, and it was surprisingly more than I had realized.
Canadian homeowners can get up to $1,350 in tax credits for home renovations made between January 27, 2009 and February 1, 2010 (so you have two and a half weeks if you haven't done your home renovations yet).
The HRTC allows families to claim 15 per cent of home improvement expenses, between $1,000 and $10,000, on their 2009 income tax return. This gives families up to $1,350in nonrefundable tax credits, which reduce the total amount of income tax they must pay.

Here's a list of eligible expenses from the Canada Revenue Agency website:

• Renovating a kitchen, bathroom, or basement
• Windows and doors
• New flooring - carpet, linoleum, hardwood, floating laminate, etc.
• New furnace, woodstove, boiler, fireplace, water softener, water heater, or oil tank
• Permanent home ventilation systems
• Central air conditioner
• Permanent reverse osmosis systems
• Septic systems
• Wells
• Electrical wiring in the home (e.g., changing from 100 amp to 200 amp service)
• Home security system (monthly fees do not qualify)
• Solar panels and solar panel trackers
• Painting the interior or exterior of a house
• Building an addition, garage, deck, garden/storage shed, or fence
• Re-shingling a roof
• A new driveway or resurfacing a driveway
• Exterior shutters and awnings
• Permanent swimming pools (in ground and above ground)
• Permanent hot tub and installation costs
• Pool liners
• Solar heaters and heat pumps for pools (does not include solar blankets)
• Landscaping: new sod, perennial shrubs and flowers, trees, large rocks, permanent garden lighting, permanent water fountain, permanent ponds, large permanent garden ornaments
• Retaining wall
• Associated costs such as installation, building plans, permits, professional services, equipment rentals, and incidental expenses
• Fixtures - blinds, shades, shutters, lights, ceiling fans, etc.

I'm going home to add up my receipts and see if I need to complete any more home renovations in the next few weeks, might be a busy month on Gabriola. (Submitted by: Tina Lynch)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

BC Assessment Notices - Gabriola Island

As you check your mail in the next couple of weeks, keep your eyes open for the 2010 BC Assessment notices which will be in the mail shortly. However, for those who can’t wait the information is now posted online at BC Assessment – it will be there until 15 March 2010, so you can also check where you stand in relation to the neighboring properties, as well as the comparable sales.
It also has a wealth of information, in the event, that you don’t feel your assessment reflects market value (as determined July 1, 2009), on the appeals process, be aware the deadline for appeal is Feb. 1st, 2010.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Skiing - A great day trip to Mt. Washington from Gabriola

There's so much you can do on our fantastic island, but if you're craving skiing- it's an easy day trip from Gabriola Island to Mount Washington. I was just looking into the snow base on mountains in BC, the "on the snow website" shows that Mount Washington has a base of 254cm(currently the most in BC). Kokanee Winterfest (Jan 11-15 2010) is a great time to head up to the mountain, with half-price midweek full-day lift tickets and Nordic trail passes.
Lift Hours: 9:00am to 3:30pm Daily
Night Skiing Hours: Thursday to Saturday and holidays3:30pm to 10:00pm

I find that it's the perfect day, I like to catch the 7:50 ferry from Gabriola and head straight up, and return tired but content on the 5:55 ferry.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A walk in the Islands View Neighborhood

We have a large dog (a Bernese Mountain dog), so going for walks is part of our daily routine. Yesterday, in between a few rain clouds, we headed out for a family walk around the Islands View/ Coho/Thompson area in the South End of Gabriola.
A simple walk reminded me of why I love living here, on the walk we stopped and chatted with 3 sets of neighbors and everyone seems genuinely interested in each others lives and happy, maybe it's the fresh air or maybe it's being happy where you live.