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What can you tell me about Courtnay/Comox?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
DH and I are from Manitoba, and we're discussing the possibility of a move to BC. We'll be checking it out in June, and Courtnay/Comox is on our list of places to see.

What can you tell me about living in Courtnay/Comox?
What should we make a point of seeing when we're there?

post #2 of 11
We live south of the Comox Valley (where Courtenay/Comox is), in the Cowichan Valley. We just moved here, but we were looking in Courtenay when we were house-hunting, too. Prices are very reasonable compared to the Lower Mainland, but I don't know how they'd compare to Manitoba. In Courtenay you can get a very nice house for under $400,000.

It is a very beautiful place, as is all of Vancouver Island that I've seen so far! There is lots of local fare, a deep sense of community, and it's pretty crunchy. Lots of outdoor activities from the ocean to the ski hills and lovely parks in between. If you want a great local eating experience, you must dine at Local's (a restaurant that sources all its food from local farms/suppliers).

What are you looking for in a community? Are you looking for a rural property (acreage) or residential?

The weather seems similar to the lower mainland, more "west coast rainforest" (which I personally like). Here in the Cowichan it is drier and sunnier overall. I might be complaining in the summer, but you prairie folks would likely find it just fine.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks, that is some great info!!!

Ideally, we'd like a semi-rural area... near the city but not IN the city. I'm very interested in local produce and dairy, general crunchiness. DH is a software developer, so where we move will ultimately depend on his job.

We'll be spending a couple of days in the area in June. We have some friends in Comox, so hopefully they'll be able to show us around!
post #4 of 11
That's one of the lovely things about the Island is you can be "out in the country" but 10 - 15 minutes from downtown. Prices are slightly higher in the Comox Valley than the Cowichan, but likely because the Cowichan is made up of a string of smaller towns so it's "easier" to be close to the town. You will love Comox - very very beautiful!!

I noticed you also posted about the Fraser Valley. We spent many months looking in the Mission/Maple Ridge area for an acreage. You will have to spend a lot of money to be in a reasonable commuting distance from Vancouver (the West Coast Express commuter train goes out as far as Mission; which has some reasonable prices but acreages are more expensive - expect to pay around $350-400k for 2 acres of bare land (i.e. no houses). Further out the prices get better (though still expensive) but then Vancouver is not a realistic commute anymore. The Fraser Valley also has some big pollution issues because of the geography and microclimate and it's proximity to Van.

If you can afford it, the mainland is a great place to live. If you like a slower, quieter pace of life with lots of outdoor stuff and great local food community the Island is wonderful for that.
post #5 of 11
I haven't lived in Comox for several years (and would go back in an instant if our circumstances permit) and before we had kids, but I loved it. There's so much going on for a relatively small place, and lots and lots of community-minded, local stuff. If you're there on a Saturday morning, definitely go to the Farmer's Market by Vanier High School. TONS of great vendors and music and socializing, you'll get a really great sense of the place just from what's happening there.

You can easily be 10-15 minutes away in a few directions and be semi-rural yet close to town. Black Creek and Merville are a bit to the north towards Campbell River, and then Cumberland is to the south-west, and then there is lots of stuff in between. Really just drive around and enjoy.

The main drag (5th St) in Courtenay is lovely with lots of neat places to pop into and enjoy, the library on 6th is fabulous, Edible Island is a great natural food store also on 6th I think, and there are so many great restaurants both in Comox and Courtenay.

Goose Spit is a great beach, and if your friends have military connections you can access Air Force Beach which is gorgeous. I can't think of a beach that isn't nice actually. If you want fresh water Comox Lake or the Puntledge River is it and not as spectacular as the ocean. Up the mountain is Mt Washington that has nice hiking trails and things when there's no snow. Be aware, however, that in June if you go high enough you will still find snow! There's been quite a bit of development since I left in 2005 but I have been back and still love it.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've heard great things about Comox. My hubby is concerned because he believes it is a "dead-end town" with a poor economy and lots of drugs.

Does anybody know about accessibility to grass-fed beef/dairy (raw milk), free range chickens/eggs and local produce?
post #7 of 11
Well, I can't answer about the drugs but I highly doubt it's an more an issue than anywhere else. I've not heard of that area being associated with drug issues, unless you are talking about pot. I say that only because Comox has always had a reputation as being a crunchy, "hippy" sort of place (not really so much anymore, I don't think) and that is often associated with pot. But really that holds true for just about any crunchy BC town, and we have lots of them.

As for your last question, Vancouver Island has this in spades, more so than Vancouver (which does have it, but it's not easily accessible and it's quite expensive). Local food is big here on the Island. In Vancouver I bought farm fresh, grass-fed, etc eggs at the farmer's market for $5/dozen (which is still 50 cents - $1 cheaper than the organic eggs at the supermarket), but here I buy them from a farm down the road and they are $3.50/dozen. There are many such places around here and I saw them in Courtenay too (as mentioned above, farmland is just a few minutes outside of downtown so easy to get to). There's also a great meat processing place called Gunter Bros Meat. They process local, grass-fed pork, beef etc and make their own hams, bacon, cured meats, etc. They also sell the fresh stuff. Great prices compared to what I paid in the Lower Mainland. As for raw milk, you can't advertise that here as it is technically illegal, but I'm sure in no time you could find out a place to get it from by word of mouth.

If you dine at Local's they have posterboards up all around the restaurant featuring their suppliers. That will give you a great idea of the variety and availability of local food.
post #8 of 11
I have been in the Valley for the past 7 years and love it. You and your husband are both right in a sense. There is a great " crunchy" community that is eco and community oriented, care about local food and business and progressive parenting and schooling. There is also the other side of the Valley. The economy is depressed ( the wages are really low compared to the city) and some people and areas reflect this. There as a lot of drug use and bigoted attitudes are apparently pretty acceptable. Coming from a city this was a bit of a shock for me. There is very little diversity here.
I had a girlfriend move here around the same time as I did and we had very different experience. Her family ended up in an area across town from us and they quickly left the valley with the view that the valley is full of" rednecks, druggies and losers". We ended up in a quiet area of town that is full of wonderful people that all look out for each other and other like minded individuals. Our families experienced the valley in completely different ways. It really depends on what and who you surround yourself with
The Valley is so beautiful... if you like the outdoors it is a little paradise with mountains, lakes, forests and ocean all closeby.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you village mama, that's a lot of good info
post #10 of 11
I live in Merville, which a pp mentioned above and we love it here.

I don't know what your DH means by dead-end town, but it definitely isn't that, but I don't know how much a software developer is going to be in demand here.

We live in a great community, know all of our neighbours, and our area.

As for drugs, aside from pot, I don't see much and definitely not more than anywhere else.

( Hi Kim)
post #11 of 11
If your husband is a software developer, he will have a tough time finding work here. My husband is in IT and it took quite a while to find work when we moved to the valley. Wages in the IT industry here are also below average. It's an awesome place to live if he can find work though!
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