Move to Saltspring Island
A Few Pertinent Facts for Newcomers
If your dreams of a move to Saltspring Island have become reality, congratulations! It’s a wonderful place to live. But, like anyplace that’s somewhat isolated, setting up a life here is not without its challenges.
Having done a move to Saltspring in 2007 (from Alberta, Canada), I learned some things about the process that you may find helpful.
Costs associated with moving to Saltspring Island.
» Utility hookups
BC Hydro www.bchydro.com
North Salt Spring Waterworks 250-537-9902
» Driver’s license transfer
A quick visit to the licensing area at SeaFirst Insurance (downtown) will get you set up with a BC driver’s license. They also handle vehicle insurance and registration at the same office.
» Vehicle inspection(s)
If you move to Saltspring with a vehicle previously registered outside of British Columbia, a full mechanical inspection is required in order to register/insure your vehicle.
» Medical coverage
Be sure to cancel your health coverage if you are moving to British Columbia from another Canadian province. It is not something that happens automatically when you sign up for BC health care and your previous province will continue billing you! Avoid an unpleasant surprise bill by cancelling as soon as you have your new BC health coverage.
Info on the provincial Medical Services Plan from Health Canada’s website:
Some Specific Challenges
» Finding a place to live!
Probably the biggest challenge involved with a move to Saltspring is finding a suitable place to hang your hat. Rental accommodations are scarce and get snapped up very quickly. Properties for sale are currently just as difficult to come by.
So give yourself plenty of time to search for accommodations. A temporary rental can be a good solution to give you some time to find a place. Some of the cottage resorts offer quite reasonable monthly winter rentals from around October through April.
» Family doctor
Finding a family physician is one of the challenges for newcomers to Saltspring Island. Many people travel off island to Duncan or Victoria for doctor’s appointments. But it is worth the effort to phone all of the doctors in the telephone listings. They’ll let you know whether the physician is taking new patients. If not, call the next one. It took us about six phone calls before one receptionist took pity on me and added us to their roster!
» Kid’s needs
Finding affordable apparel, especially the basics (i.e., socks) is a difficult task on Saltspring. The one multi-purpose store that carried these essentials (Fields) closed several years ago. This means an occasional trip off island or some online shopping is necessary to replenish those items as needed.
If you’re a sociable personality, integrating with the people in any new place can be a big priority. Here are a few ideas that will get you involved, meeting like minded people…
- Join one of the local gyms
- Volunteer with one of the many community organizations – http://www.volunteersaltspring.com/ has details on ways you can get involved and help out in the community
- Walking/hiking group outings (watch the Driftwood newspaper for details)
- Try out the island’s golf course. Membership fees are very reasonable.
- Sign up for a yoga class or retreat
- Take in some live music at one of the local pub/restaurants
All the best with your move to Saltspring Island!