A private island near Nanaimo could be all yours.
That is, if you’ve got more than a million dollars to spend.
Lily Island, a three-hectare private island located less than 700 metres north of Gabriola Island’s Silva Bay Marina, is currently on the market for a cool $1.4 million.
Lily Island is part of a group of islands called the Flat Top Islands. According to the listing by Colliers International, Lily Island is “fully treed” and undeveloped with the exception of some “old tent platforms” and an old cottage that has “seen better days.”
Mark Lester, senior vice-president of the unique properties group at Colliers International, told the News Bulletin that Lily Island is a unique and beautiful property that can be built on.
“It’s an incredibly pretty island,” he said. “The topography is very gentle, you’ve got elevation but you’ve got lots of building sites. The tree cover and vegetation is almost park-like, it is really really pretty.”
Lily Island’s proximity to Silva Bay Marina, which has seaplane service to Vancouver International Airport and protected moorage and other amenities and its location within the Gulf Islands only adds to its appeal, according to Lester.
“[It is] easy to get to from Vancouver,” he said. “If you’re a boater the closest place to get into the Gulf Islands is the Gabriola Passage, so you’re right there. Silva Bay is close.”
Lester has sold more than 20 islands in British Columbia during his career and was involved in the sale of the Decourcy Island Farm that was once owned by cult leader Brother XII. Lester said when it comes to private islands, there is a certain allure to them.
“They tend to evoke an emotional response…” Lester said. “It is like you’ve got your own kingdom with a moat around it.”
Lester explained that each private island is different, unique, has its own personality and characteristics that set it apart from other islands. He said those who are in the market for a private island are typically unique individuals themselves who are interested in a “unique” lifestyle and that their reasons for wanting a private island range from a desire to live off the grid to privacy.
“One buyer might be interested in accessibility to amenities and one buyer might be interested in having no neighbours and being in the middle of nowhere,” Lester said. “Somebody might be interested in having protected moorage where they can moor a big boat, somebody else might be interested in knowing that they are never going to have any neighbours.”
Lester said anyone who buys Lily Island, or any private island for that matter, is expected to adhere to municipal bylaws and provincial and federal laws around the development.
“The reality is there are still things like local jurisdictional controls, there is zoning, there is the official community plan, there is, in many cases, building permits,” he said. “But what [owning a private island] allows somebody to have is their own nirvana, their own personal kingdom, retreat.”
How Lily Island got its name isn’t known to Lester, who said he isn’t entirely sure of the history of the island than that it was, at one point, Crown land. He also said those who want to buy a private island and rename it shouldn’t get their hopes up.
“I don’t think you can,” Lester said. “I’ve had that question raised with different islands over the years. It may have been possible to do that in a different age but I don’t think you can do that now.”
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