The 33 Best Retirement Blogs On The Planet – 4Retirees

Whatever you’re interested in reading, we curated the best retirement blogs for you that’s created and run by retirees, for retirees.
— Read on 4retirees.com/the-33-best-retirement-blogs-on-the-planet/

The retirement downsizing myth: No, seniors aren’t moving in droves — and that will affect the housing market | Financial Post

The retirement downsizing myth: No, seniors aren’t moving in droves — and that will affect the housing market | Financial Post
— Read on financialpost.com/personal-finance/retirement/the-retirement-downsizing-myth-no-seniors-arent-moving-in-droves-and-that-will-affect-the-housing-market/wcm/ce0b13fa-50ab-43b2-a019-bd18e3e9df86/amp/

Turning down the heat.

I recently sold my condo in Vancouver and moved to  Courtenay BC.  I although I had stayed in Courtenay for a few weeks last year, I did not realize how noisey and busy it had become compared to paradise. (Hornby Island)  Ironically, Vancouver became considerably quieter with Covid-19.  Traffic was down by about 80%.  Everything was closed except grocery stores.

My new 4th floor condo in Courtenay overlooks a busy street and faces west, letting the hot evening sun stream into my floor-to-ceiling windows.  Not something the home inspector picked up on when she viewed the unit. I investigated some home cooling options and started with ceiling fans which have helped.  Then  Safe and Sound came to install window film.  Visually it looks good, a bit like looking through sun glasses. They used 3 different kinds of film, depending on the sun exposure.

Even with the film it is still too hot without the AC on at the peak of the heat of the day.  The temperature on the balcony sometimes hit 40C. The portable AC was a very good investment.  I also bought a tilting patio umbrella.  It took a while to ship the order as I guess they were sold out.    I tracked the temperature on an excel speadsheet (see below) and the inside temperature has been able to be kept around 25C or less while the outside temperature goes up to 40C late in the afternoon. So here are stategies in the order of how much I think it helps:

  1. portable air conditioner $500
  2. window film $2500
  3. tilting patio umbrella $200
  4. opening windows on the north side of the building during the day,
  5. ceiling fans x 2 $500

Some of the heat is a result of the heat rising from the other floors in the building.  Really the whole building should have air conditioning.  Ok  I think this project is done!

Federal tax cut hurts services, helps wealthy | Canadian Union of Public Employees

One of the first priorities of the newly re-elected federal Liberal government is a $6 billion personal income tax cut. The Liberals and Conservatives campaigned on similar promises, but the Liberals claimed their cut was more progressive. No matter how you slice it, cutting taxes reduces the amount of money available to provide services, and this specific tax cut goes mostly to higher income earners. There’s nothing progressive about that.
— Read on cupe.ca/federal-tax-cut-hurts-services-helps-wealthy

Pioneer Annie

When I decided to stay on Hornby for the winter I had no idea what challenges were ahead of me.

I was having lunch with another blogger a few weeks ago telling her my Hornby story. She said “ you should write a book, you have such an interesting story and you tell it so well. I wish I had such an interesting life” and I said to her.. “ I wish I had you stable life. I don’t want all this moving around”.   She told me about a  mommy blogger who wrote a book.   I am not aspiring to write a book so in the meantime I will update my retirement blog. Mommy bloggers are a bird of another feather.

It’s been a rough winter with about five 24 hour power failures since November due to wind storms and f trees falling on power lines. BC Hydro has been pretty diligent in sending over crews on the first ferry in the morning and fixing things by the evening.   I had two nights in the dark, one with a friend who kept me company and one on the sofa in front of the wood stove. Fortunately by the time the first power failure had occurred I had mastered the wood stove and was able to keep a fire going and make cowboy coffee in the morning. That is thanks to Hornby friends who gave me several demos on how to build a fire and instructions on cowboy coffee… “boil water on the wood stove and add some coffee”. It was pretty good. Morning without coffee is not a pleasant experience. Shortly after my landlady left for Mexico for 2 months, the basement flooded, and despite the attempts of her son to adjust the sump pump ( what ever that is) it remained flooded for most of the next two months.   My landlady had promised someone would come by to put some Plexiglas over the sky lights but that did not happen until she came back 2 months later when she had someone install the Plexiglass, fix the sump pumb, reinstall the propane tank I had incorrectly connected and fix the leak in the dryer hose. Turns out the propane stove was not working and still isn’t fixed as of Feb 28 and one of my space heaters was loaned to a neighbour while I was away.  And over all this time the Satellite TV was down because the wind storms changed the positioning of the satellite.  I had already developed a bad cold and decided to rent a condo of a friend in Courteny while he was travelling around the world. Then I discovered I had pneumonia but the clinic on Hornby had given me antibiotics so all I had to do was lie low in Courtenay and fight the side effects of the antibiotics. While I was lying low on a massage table in Courtney my massage therapist had a similar story about her new house outside of Qualicum Beach.   The week before when the snow had hit she could not get her 100 ft driveway plowed. Her neighbour came to her aid. And she was without power for 5 days!!! This was her first year on Vancouver Island and she said she has had a pretty steep learning curve.

Two of my Toronto families on Hornby were hit but the snowmageddon without snow tires or four wheel drive and also had to rely on the kindness of friends. It’s been a rough winter all the way around on Vancouver Island. Next year I think it will be Mexico for me. 

I had another pioneer experience while teaching my 7 year old student online in Shanghai. The lesson was on Wild Horses in the US and I followed that up with a lesson about Annie Oakley. I felt the material was quite foreign to her but it made me think about my pioneer experience on Hornby Island. I was pretty naïve about what to expect but my friends have come to my aid as needed. I will go back next week and hope the snow and the power failures are over for this year. This wasn’t my retirement plan but my friends keep telling me they are enjoying hearing about my adventures even if I am not enjoying experiencing them.  Apparently while I was away there was a septic tank blockage due to toilet paper and now I have to my bag toilet paper and take it to the dump. I guess this is material for my next comedy routine.

My new favourite place is the The Second Page used book store in Courtenay. This is a rare Main Coon Cat who seems interested in Quincy Jones.  He reminds me of a Cheshire Cat from Alice and Wonderland. 

My other Courtenay Favourites

Acreview Dental- thorough, courteous

FYIdoctors -opticians- thorough, courteous

Walmart Medical Clinic- max about 30 mn wait and very knowledgeable doctors

The new hospital-

The Atlas Café

Mudshark Café

Union Street Grill

Fabricland.

And the Trumpeter Swans of Courtenay

Merry Christmas from Hornby Island

This is my first Christmas on Hornby Island after past xmas1Christmases at Puerto Vallarta, Costa Rica, Phoenix Ottawa and Vancouver. This will be a very different Christmas. This morning the power went out for the third time since I came in June. By now I have acquired both candles and the skills to start a fire in the wood stove AND make cowboy coffee on the wood strove. The pot of hot water heated faster on the wood stove than the electrical stove.  The power came on at 8 am, just in time for the co-op radio program that I had been invited to guest DJ. The station only broadcasts to the island and only half of the island can get the transmission so that’s a possible an audience of about 500 would be listening if everyone was up at that hour of the morning.  All did not go well. I had a small set of Christmas music I had hoped to play for my new Hornby friends, but the technical elves were up to their old tricks. My new Iphone 7 had a different jack than the radio station and my back up plan of a USB stick could not be read by the machines. So I will be getting some training on the equipment next week.   I have been invited to host a once a month classical radio show.

Following the radio follies, I took my weekly trip to the recycling center to feed the deer this week’s organic material.   Lots of mandarin orange peels but they don’t seem to fancy them. I hit on another real find at the Free store.. an ottoman for me and my landlady’s cat. (see above)   She (the landlady) is in Mexico.

I came home and baked a huge apple crisp for the potluck dinner at New Horizons tomorrow.   I got the apples from the heritage orchard on Hornby which has been in existence for about a 100 years. The orchard has now become a community project. The apples taste better than the ones from the store.

I have to teach on-line for an hour tomorrow to a group of nine grade 7’s in Ontario. They are all English speaking but are wanting enhanced reading experience. Managing 9 kids online at the same time seemed like a bad idea to me but everyone seems to be on their best behaviour.   The book we are about to read is called Replica-Lyra which is about cloning. It was their choice not mine!. Very topical. The other student I have is a grade 2 child in an international school in Shanghai which means English immersion. She is on a 3 week snowboarding trip at the moment but we are still having classes.

Tomorrow night is a house concert at a Yoga retreat on the island. I have had very good things about the musicians and have not been to the yoga retreat.   Then Sunday is the life drawing session, followed by the Hornby Island Photo club. We have to bring 4 photos of Leading Lines.

Next week a new Hornby friend from Victoria is coming to stay for a few days. Although many people leave Hornby for Mexico in the winter, I haven’t made any plans to go south yet but if the power frequently goes out I might consider it. I think the Christmas period will be quieter and I hope to get back to doing some watercolours that I have been leaning by myself but started a few years ago at Emily Carr.

People often say that they have never been to busy since they retired, and I have to agree. Even here on Hornby it is common to be double booked. There are fitness classes, the bridge club, the community choir and many many volunteer opportunities that I have not yet explored. Everywhere I go I run into people I know or who know me after about 5 minutes of chatting with me. This is so much better than Vancouver or even Mexico. And walks, like everything, are within a 10 min drive of where I live.xmas 6

The downside has been trying to find housing over the winter. There are some strange rules and regulations from the Islands trusts about long/short term rentals that take a lot of the housing off the market in the winter. xmas 7Crazy making if you ask me. Not unlike the strata council in my condo in Vancouver that has banned rentals of less than 12 months. Thus my continued stay on Hornby!!!!. Fortunately the BC government has just released their housing task force report that recommends banning condo rental restrictions. I have been fighting with my strata council about this since May and I am glad to see the tide may be turning. So far they have fined me $ 500 for some short term rentals I did over the summer on AIRBNB.   It’s a crazy world. The summer rentals here start at $ 1000 a week. The other downside is that I haven’t had much time to update my blog.

I hope to see more visitors to Hornby next year. I have two futons for guests and 2 bathrooms so lots of space. It is however a 6 hour trip from Vancouver via 3 ferries. Still, it is a pretty scenic trip and well worth it. Save it until the summer to enjoy the beaches and kayaking.

My best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and Happy 2019. Can’t believe it will be 2019!!!

Ann

Condos that have passed by-laws against short term rentals… What can you do if you want to rent your condo out on a short term basis?

TheUnRetired.life

Background

In the fall of 2017 the property management company for my condo passed a bylaw to ban rentals of less than one year.  The property management company seemed to think there has been complaints about disruption of residents’ peace and quiet due to short term rentals.   The ban includes rentals, home exchanges and rentals to home stay students. Most owners in the building are in their 40’s and I am one of the few seniors in the building. The controversy around housing in Vancouver and Airbnb has been ongoing for several years and the clamp down on Airbnb rentals is collateral damage.

Municipal policy and regulations

“City of Vancouver Short-Term Residential Rental Policy 2018  implemented new regulations concerning the operation of short-term rentals through services such as Airbnb and VRBO, with the objective of protecting Vancouver’s long-term rental supply, encouraging neighbourhood fit, enabling supplemental income for operators, supporting the tourism industry…

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