Where to live and work in southern BC?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Where to live and work in southern BC?

    Howdy boys and girls!

    I'm gonna emigrate from the UK to BC - ok, I've only just submitted my application and it's gonna take over three years but I'm starting to look around at places to live.

    Ive been on holiday to BC/Alberta twice - Banff/Jasper/Vancouver/Whistler and have got more flights booked for this May to look at other areas. So, I'm looking for suggestions...

    I don't want anywhere where I'll be freezing my [email protected]@cks off for nine months of the year with no riding, so I'm guessing in/around Vancouver or up the Sunshine Coast or the Okanagan. So what towns are good for riding, have enough work and the housing/cost of living isn't too expensive...?

    My trade is IT but I'm looking to do something different and my girlfriend is a nurse so I guess a hospital is a pre-requisite

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixZeroSixOne
    Howdy boys and girls!

    I'm gonna emigrate from the UK to BC - ok, I've only just submitted my application and it's gonna take over three years but I'm starting to look around at places to live.

    Ive been on holiday to BC/Alberta twice - Banff/Jasper/Vancouver/Whistler and have got more flights booked for this May to look at other areas. So, I'm looking for suggestions...

    I don't want anywhere where I'll be freezing my [email protected]@cks off for nine months of the year with no riding, so I'm guessing in/around Vancouver or up the Sunshine Coast or the Okanagan. So what towns are good for riding, have enough work and the housing/cost of living isn't too expensive...?

    My trade is IT but I'm looking to do something different and my girlfriend is a nurse so I guess a hospital is a pre-requisite
    Hi,

    Like you I'm in IT and my girlfriend is a nurse... But I'm in Calgary where your sure to freeze your [email protected]@cks off but maybe not for 9 months... Its cold here from December - March. But we get alot of chinooks, which can raise the temerature by 15 degrees overnight! If you like skiing its not too bad.

    Its pretty easy to find IT work in Oil and Gas industry here and they are begging for nurses. Your girlfriend could pretty much pick which department she wants to start in. The only thing is that you can be sure it'll be night or evening shifts. I was talking to a nurse at their christmas party that said that UK nurses get ALOT more vacation time than Canadian nurses. And its difficult to actually take them.

    What type of IT work do you do? What department is your girlfriend in?

  3. #3
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    My girlfriend is a Communty Nurse but I understand that these are pretty popular jobs so there's not much chance of a "non-local" getting one of these jos in a desirable area. She's got her heart set on Van and it's registering with the BC nursing association.


    I'm a business analyst - most of the work I've been involved with is planning/migrating large scale government departments onto new infrastructures etc

  4. #4
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    vancouver is amazing, but be prepared to see a monstrous cost of living. like seriously retarded huge, like London huge. kelowna/kamloops is a really really nice place (my personal favorite) that might have available jobs as it is a fairly large centre, but very expensive there too and going up. the nicest places are down through the summerland/okanagan valley, but it's very hard to find work. interior BC isn't really a good job market at all and isn't getting better it seems.

    as ascentcanada said, calgary is an extremely rich job market, decent (but growing) cost of living and a fair trade off for vicinity to the mountains and an ok winter (it's been an amazing winter this year!). i would rather be in BC as well, but seriously there are no jobs + super high living cost.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixZeroSixOne
    My girlfriend is a Communty Nurse but I understand that these are pretty popular jobs so there's not much chance of a "non-local" getting one of these jos in a desirable area. She's got her heart set on Van and it's registering with the BC nursing association.


    I'm a business analyst - most of the work I've been involved with is planning/migrating large scale government departments onto new infrastructures etc
    Hey,

    I'm not sure what you mean by Community Nurse, my girlfriend work in the emergency room. Just about every weekend there is a few pages of shifts they are trying to fill! Vancouver is nice, it was never my choice but alot of people like it. Calgary is getting more expensive, but Vancouver is hosting the 2010 Olympics. Which makes Calgary's insane prices seem normal. I think the average house price in Calgary is about $300,000.
    Its about an 1 1/2 hours to Banff and the mountains, maybe 1/2 hour to Bragg creek and some pretty sweet riding. But I'm jaded, I've been in Calgary for 18 years now and its been VERY good to me, much better than I ever expected.

    Most of the head offices for the Oil and Gas are in Calgary. And they are all doing HUGE project in the oilsands. The company that I work at has a 5 billion dollar project going on. The US has just announced that they are too dependant on the oil from the middle east. That they need to get their oil from North America... In contrast BC's major industry is Lumber, and with the soft word lumber dispute with the USA... There isn't anywhere to sell it. Things are getting better but alot of lumber mills have shut down.

    The best advise I can give you is to check out www.Monster.ca and go to Vancouver. See what its like. If your planning on coming out come in July and check out the Stampede. Its Crazy here for that week!

  6. #6
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    Most of the bigger centers will have a hospital, I would think.

    You might be able to find something less expensive out in the Fraser Valley - only about 45 minutes from Vancouver, and a pretty wide variety of riding. Abbotsford is less pricey housing-wise than Vancouver, and there's some decent riding near there. Maple Ridge is cheap but I wouldn't recommend it as a place to live.

    The Sunshine Coast has some fabulous riding, and again has lower housing costs than Vancouver - the only downside is having to take the ferry to get to skiing and other riding locations.

    Port Moody is beautiful, has a hospital and some great riding also, but is getting up there housing cost-wise. Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam are both nicer areas to live and fairly central as well.

    The nice thing about the Vancouver area is that there's a lot of great riding in the area and none of it takes long to get to. The best advice I can give to you for house hunting here is DON'T LIVE ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF A BRIDGE FROM WHERE YOU WORK. This is from personal experience. Live as close as you can to where you work, otherwise you'll spend way too much time in your car and way too much money (that could be spent on fun bike stuff) on gas.

    In the Okanagan, I've heard good things about Kamloops. Personally I find the town to be a bit windy and desert-ish for my tastes - I like the coast - but it's pretty central and near to Sun Peaks if you like lift accessed riding.

  7. #7
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    Considering that you are willing to do something different, and your wife is in a career that is in extremely high demand right now, you can go to a lot of different places in B.C.

    The economy of B.C. is picking up and I would not rule out the interior of B.C. just yet. I went to college with a few girls from B.C. that took nursing and they all found jobs in the interior. Kimberly and Creston respectively. Patience is important when looking for work in B.C. There was slim pickings just a short while ago for jobs, but things seem to be picking up.

    I used to work in Creston, BC for summer work, and the interior is my favorite area of BC by far. The riding is also the best there imo. When I was living in Creston, I was only an hour from Nelson and Rossland, which is home to argueably the best riding in the province. Nelson is simply a great place to be period.

    The housing market in the interior is MUCH cheaper than the Vancouver area. The only catch is getting work.

    Calgary has been mentioned, and while the riding around Calgary is not on par with B.C. , there is a lot of good trails for bikes just outside of city limits. It was mentioned in a previous response that Calgary is 1.5hrs from the mountains. It is more like 30 minutes before you hit the mountains. Calgary is not too far from some good riding in B.C. as well. Golden, Invermere, and Fernie are the closest riding destinations from Calgary. The job market in Calgary is unlimited and your wife could have a job yesterday. Housing is not cheap, but not all decent housing is 300,000+.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by ronny; 02-03-2006 at 03:54 AM.

  8. #8
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    Community Nurse....

    Quote Originally Posted by AscentCanada
    Hey,

    I'm not sure what you mean by Community Nurse, my girlfriend work in the emergency room...
    This just means that she doesn't work in a hospital. She spends 50/50 time between a small clinic and visiting patients at home. She doesn't have the skills for ER work (nor does she want to work in ER either!) though we know this is probably the easiest way for her to get work immediately...

    The news you guys are telling me doesn't look good for Vancouver - though having said that, when we sell our house in the UK we'll probably have about CDN$200,000 as a deposit (yeah, housing costs in the UK are even higher than Van!!)

    I meet some guys from Calgary a couple of years ago when I was riding out of Golden - they used to travel over every weekend...which doesn't say much for Calgary's riding . I also went to Kananskis but it rained so much I didn't even bother getting the bike out the car...

    Well, I'm flying out to Van in May - so keep coming up with suggestions for places to visit (and maybe squeeze in a ride), though I think Calgary may be too far out for a visit...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixZeroSixOne
    This just means that she doesn't work in a hospital. She spends 50/50 time between a small clinic and visiting patients at home. She doesn't have the skills for ER work (nor does she want to work in ER either!) though we know this is probably the easiest way for her to get work immediately...

    The news you guys are telling me doesn't look good for Vancouver - though having said that, when we sell our house in the UK we'll probably have about CDN$200,000 as a deposit (yeah, housing costs in the UK are even higher than Van!!)

    I meet some guys from Calgary a couple of years ago when I was riding out of Golden - they used to travel over every weekend...which doesn't say much for Calgary's riding . I also went to Kananskis but it rained so much I didn't even bother getting the bike out the car...

    Well, I'm flying out to Van in May - so keep coming up with suggestions for places to visit (and maybe squeeze in a ride), though I think Calgary may be too far out for a visit...
    With $200,000 down on a house, you are in good shape to go pretty much anywhere, regardless of housing costs. You will always make money on a house in Vancouver, when or if you decide to sell. I would be in the Vancouver area in a heart beat if there was a job available to cover the high cost of living there.

    There are many good xc/all mountain type trails around the Calgary, Banff, and the Canmore area. Many riders commute to B.C. to get their freeride fix. Alberta is lacking in this regard. There is a small mountain bike park in Calgary that is getting better every year. There are a few dedicated freeride trails less than an hour from the city as well.

    There is a ski hill close to Calgary called Fortress Mountain that might open to mountain bikers. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

  10. #10
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    ronny i would have to disagree with you on the 300,000 for houses in calgary you can get decent housing for under 200,000 not new of course...what they'll make selling their house there they could pay for a house out right here
    DMR

  11. #11
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    I agree with Ronny, most decent houses cost at least $250 - 300K although condos can be had for cheaper.

  12. #12
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    ummm...right ...from the info given a 2 bedroom house would do just fine no need for a mansion...and if your willing to live in areas that aren't the newest/in style part of town you can easily find houses for around 200K used and new
    DMR

  13. #13
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    If you read my post clearly, you will find that I stated housing can be had for less than $300,000 as well. It is true, that 300,000 is right around the average cost for a house in Calgary right now.

    You can get a very basic house in Rundle, Forest Lawn, and Bowness for around $200,000 or less. Some of the suburbs still have small starter homes that are around $200,000. I live in the Varsity area and the average price is easily 300,000+. There are established areas in Varsity where house prices can reach one million, no problem.

    The days of cheap housing in Calgary are coming to an end. Even the rougher areas of the S.E. and N.E., will see property and housing values go through the roof over the next few years. The Demand for housing in Calgary is getting higher all the time.
    Last edited by ronny; 02-05-2006 at 01:08 AM. Reason: Editing my post.

  14. #14
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    My friend has a house in Country Hills . A two bedroom, tiny yard, undeveloped basement ... not exactly a mansion. that house sells easily for 230k. Sure you can buy homes in high crime areas in Calgary for cheaper but realistically an average home inCalgary will cost you at least 250k.

  15. #15
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    The housing market is simply ridiculous in Calgary... at least in my area in the southwest.

    After seeing my home in West Springs appreciate in value by $120k over the last 2 years, I was recently tempted to downgrade to something smaller (since I'm living in a 1900sq ft home by myself). That's when I noticed that the cheapest house in my neighborhood was $600k !

    Even condominiums in Coach Hill range from $290k to a million... and they only remain on the market for a week before they're sold.

    What's going on ?! Do I have to move to McKenzie town or something ?

  16. #16
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    I need to win the lottery to buy a nice house in Varsity. The problem is that I don't want to move from the area. I am pretty much right between Nosehill and Bowmount park. 10-15 minute pedal to get to either park. COP is close enough to ride to as well. It is also nice being walking distance for all my shopping needs.

    I don't want to move to McKenzie town. The burbs are not my thing at all.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by SixZeroSixOne
    This just means that she doesn't work in a hospital. She spends 50/50 time between a small clinic and visiting patients at home. She doesn't have the skills for ER work (nor does she want to work in ER either!) though we know this is probably the easiest way for her to get work immediately...

    The news you guys are telling me doesn't look good for Vancouver - though having said that, when we sell our house in the UK we'll probably have about CDN$200,000 as a deposit (yeah, housing costs in the UK are even higher than Van!!)

    I meet some guys from Calgary a couple of years ago when I was riding out of Golden - they used to travel over every weekend...which doesn't say much for Calgary's riding . I also went to Kananskis but it rained so much I didn't even bother getting the bike out the car...

    Well, I'm flying out to Van in May - so keep coming up with suggestions for places to visit (and maybe squeeze in a ride), though I think Calgary may be too far out for a visit...
    Well as someone who has lived in both citys..Vancouver and now Calgary I can say that as much as I loved living in Van I will never move back.If you don't like rain you would hate Van..I will take a few weeks here and there if cold temps with sunshine over 3 months of rain.We are thinking of buying a house and that is a becoming a problem for sure with the way the prices have gone up but it is still better then Vancouver and the riding around here is amazing...now i didn't bike when I lived in Van..I was riding horses...but the reason we travel on the weekend is because we can...there are so many hills to ride all with in close driving distance...2 -3 hrs,Fernie,Panorama,Golden and if they do open Fortress then we are laughing...so much riding so close to us. and with Banff so close the winters aren' t so bad with all the snowboarding..and thats just my 2 cents....kona

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    Why live in the city and travel out 30-90 minutes or more to where you want to ride? For many, I guess it would be because that's where the jobs are. For a lucky few of us, we live right there.

    I live in Invermere, BC, almost right on one of the rides mentioned elsewhere in this forum, the canyon trail. I ride from my front door... Panorama is 15 minutes away for lift-served downhill. Mt. Swansea is 10 minutes for shuttle-bike runs that blow your mind.

    As far as jobs are concerned, my GF is one of the local home-care nurses. I know for a fact that they will be needing another one in the next six months or so. The hospital is also screaming for casual acute-care nurses during the busy tourist seasons (Summer>Winter), and I don't think it would take too long to get on permanently. Contact Rose Bard at (250) 342-9201. Check out interiorhealth.ca.

    Invermere is booming - many of Calgary's oil-rich come here to play. If IT is still your game, I can point you to some IT companies. If you want to try something else, there are options.

    If you're here, and bang yourself up and end up in the emergency, say hi to the doc. It might be me!

    Good luck.

    Chris

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by konaken
    The housing market is simply ridiculous in Calgary... at least in my area in the southwest.

    After seeing my home in West Springs appreciate in value by $120k over the last 2 years, I was recently tempted to downgrade to something smaller (since I'm living in a 1900sq ft home by myself). That's when I noticed that the cheapest house in my neighborhood was $600k !

    Even condominiums in Coach Hill range from $290k to a million... and they only remain on the market for a week before they're sold.

    What's going on ?! Do I have to move to McKenzie town or something ?
    Yeah, even though you make money on your current house, there isn't any point in moving because everything else is so much more. We bought our house in Tuscany 2 years ago and it's gone up over $100K. A nice profit but everything else has gone up too so you're no further ahead.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronny
    I need to win the lottery to buy a nice house in Varsity. The problem is that I don't want to move from the area. I am pretty much right between Nosehill and Bowmount park. 10-15 minute pedal to get to either park. COP is close enough to ride to as well. I don't want to move to McKenzie town. The burbs are not my thing at all.
    Some burbs are pretty good though, we have a creek that runs through Tuscany and there is a bunch of fun singletrack that follows it. Follow the trails along the creek then cross Stoney Trail and you are basically in Bowmont park...ride through Bowmont and then you're at Edworthy. Plus you can hit Sideshow on the way there and the way back and you have a pretty sweet 1/2 day or full day of riding, depending on how many loops you do, right from my house.

    Another another nice thing about being on the west edge of the city, it takes less than 1/2 hour to get to K-country and under an hour to get to Banff...so lots of good riding with easy access.

  20. #20
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    Check out Vancouver Island. The climate's the same as the UK and is as temperate as Canada gets (ie. rain in winter, nice summers). I ride trails every week of the year. Housing and cost of living are significantly cheaper than in the UK (I'm expat) and economy is on the upswing.

    In particular, look at the Comox Valley and Campbell River. The former comprises Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland. They're all within half an hour of each other and have Mt Washington ski hill between them for summer Mtb downhill challenges. Courtenay and Cumberland offer amazing XC/freeride trails with elevation, and Campbell River has endless Km's of forest single track. It's a biker's paradise.

    The Island is huge (the Comox Valley is a three hour drive north from Victoria) and offers something for everyone. I'm a sea dog and go crazy if I can't smell salt in the air - must be low on the evolutionary scale. Biking, fishing, kayaking, boating, skiing, surfing. It's awl good!

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