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  1. The idea sounds great but has it ever been done before?
  2. What makes a Floathome village distinguishable from any other Marina?
  3. What do you mean by “full services”?
  4. Who owns the Floathome? Can I just rent one?
  5. How do you buy a Marine Lot?
  6. Are Floathomes small and rustic? I want something bigger and grander!
  7. Are Floathomes safe?
  8. Will I get sea sick?
  9. What size of Floathome can be built on a Marine lot?
  10. Do I pay real property taxes for my Floathome?
  11. What other costs will I have to pay?
  12. May I moor a boat to my Floathome?
  13. Is it possible to finance the cost of buying a Floathome and Marine Lot?
  14. Who insures Floathomes?
  15. Do I have to build my Floathome right away?
  16. What is the process to build a Floathome?
  17. Can I have input during the construction process?
  18. Am I limited in how much weight I put in my Floathome?
  19. Is there a warranty on the Floathome?

Q. The idea sounds great but has it ever been done before?
A. Yes it has, very successfully and very well at such places as Canoe Pass Village and Wes-Del Marina, both of which are located on the Fraser River near Ladner. For more information on Wes-Del Marina go to www.floatinghomes.com. Also the highly regarded Granville Island, in downtown Vancouver, has a small Floathome community. Other Floathome communities can be found in Richmond and New Westminster. Our American friends can see great examples of Floathome living in Sausalito or at Lake Union in Seattle. In fact, the Tom Hank’s movie “Sleepless in Seattle” focused global attention on the lifestyle. We are the first legal, fully-serviced Floathome village in the Greater Victoria area and, to our knowledge, Vancouver Island.

Q. What makes a Floathome village distinguishable from any other Marina?
A. In the Greater Victoria area, as in most areas where there is local government, live-aboard boats and Floathomes are either prohibited or strictly regulated, although some would say without too much success. Government authorities are quite rightly concerned with the discharge of sewage, fire control, proper potable water, parking, aesthetics and taxation. Almost all marinas in this area have been designed and built to accommodate pleasure boats or fishing boats of varying sizes. They were not intended for permanent full time dwelling units for people. The marinas and their facilities were simply not designed to accommodate floating structures such as Floathomes and the loads they put on docks and pilings or their power and sewage demands. The Westbay Marine Village has been specifically engineered to meet all of the requirements for proper, full service Floathome living. The docks are designed to provide proper spatial separation for fire safety considerations, noise attenuation and to maximize view opportunities.

Q. What do you mean by “full services”?

The docks in the Floathome Village portion of the marina are designed and engineered to provide all necessary life safety and comfort infrastructure normally associated with a home on land. For example, the dock surface is concrete, as opposed to wood, both for durability and to reduce the possibility of slipping when walking on them. Each Marine Lot (or site where a Floathome may be situated) is serviced with:

  • safe, proper potable water connections to the municipal supply;
  • sewage collection system which will collect the sewage and deliver it to the municipal infrastructure;
  • domestic power supply to properly power homes of the size and quality to be moored at Westbay;
  • state of the art Cablevision and Internet cabling;
  • fire control stations right on the docks throughout the Marine Village;
  • natural gas services;
  • domestic garbage collection;
  • recycling center.

In addition, the Westbay Marine Village has the other “services” residential living demands:

  • restaurant, café, pub as well as retail stores, convenience store and news stand right on-site;
  • all levels of schools within walking distance;
  • full scale drug store and food shopping facilities just five blocks away;
  • terrific municipal recreation facilities (swimming, curling, hockey rink, lacrosse, soccer, baseball) all just five blocks away.
  • tennis courts just 15 minutes walk away along the Westsong promenade;
  • all of the sporting, cultural, arts, medical, educational and other amenities and assets of British Columbia’s capital city.

Victoria has the best weather in Canada and has an excellent economic climate as well. For further information on the benefits of living in Victoria see Victoria ’s web site www.city.victoria.bc.ca or www.mun.esquimalt.bc.ca

Q. Who owns the Floathome? Can I just rent one?
A. You will own your own Floathome. Some Floathome owners may wish to rent their Floathomes during a period of extended absence. We do not permit short term rentals or Bed & Breakfast type operations or commercial use of the Floathome. Home offices are acceptable provided public access is limited and no exterior visible advertising signage is used.

Q. How do you buy a Marine Lot?
A. Well, the fact is you can not buy a Marine Lot at Westbay Marine Village. The legal tenure is that of a sub-lease. Westbay Marine Village leases its water lot of some four acres of land covered by water from the Federal Department of Transport, the authority responsible for Victoria Harbour. We have created the plan for the Marine Lots and established the boundaries of each lot by the plan. There is no legal subdivision of land registered in the Land Title Office in Victoria to create any legally defined Marine Lot. Each Floathome Owner will enter into a Sub-Lease with us for a particular Marine Lot which Sub-Lease will be acknowledged by the Department of Transport. The terms of the Sub-Lease will set out the responsibilities and obligations of the Marina and the Floathome Tenant. The Sub-Lease may be sold by the Floathome Owner (by way of an assignment) subject to some terms and conditions required by the Marina and the Department of Transport. For full particulars of the Sub-Lease please refer to the Westbay Marine Village Standard Form of Sub-Lease for Floathomes. Once you have entered into the Sub-lease you will have your Marine Lot for a term which expires on January 31, 2023, unless you are in default of your obligations under the Sub-Lease. At the present time the Sub-Lease interest is not registerable in the Victoria Land Title Office although that may change in the future.

Q. Are Floathomes small and rustic? I want something bigger and grander!
A. Many older Floathomes are rustic and small. They can be very charming but of questionable construction quality with inadequate means of flotation. Some are quite unsafe. Floathomes can be constructed to incorporate just about any design element you can imagine; from basements to elevators, from hot tubs to wine cellars. Your imagination (and financial realities) are your limits. We do, however, have Floating Home Design Guidelines which will govern the process of design of Floathomes that will moor in our Marina. These Guidelines will help to ensure an attractive, secure and thoughtful development and thereby help protect your investment and ours. These Guidelines are not designed to stifle creativity; in fact we strongly encourage innovation, novelty and even whimsy. Details of the Floathome Design Guidelines will be discussed with each Floathome Owner before they enter into an agreement to moor their proposed or existing Floathome at Westbay Marine Village.

Q. Are Floathomes safe?
A. If the Floathome has been constructed in accordance with the proper engineering and construction standards and the Marina where the Floathome is moored has also been constructed to proper engineering and life-safety standards for a Floathome Village use, then yes, Floathomes are very safe. The key is proper engineering and construction to proper standards. We have incorporated into our Floathome Design Guideline minimum engineering and construction standards that every Floathome, whether new or existing, must meet or it will not be permitted to be moored at Westbay Marine Village. These standards are for the protection of the Floathome Owner and the Marina. They also ensure lasting value to the Floathome. In the absence of proof of proper construction and engineering, a Floathome is not welcome in most reputable Floathome Marinas. All Floathomes constructed by us will be fully certified by all appropriate engineering professionals. Fully certified and stamped “as-built” drawings of their Floathome will be provided to the Floathome Owner as part of their document package upon completion of their Floathome.

Q. Will I get sea sick?
A. The answer to this depends on your susceptibility to motion sickness. Floathomes do not rock very much. They are very stable, but they do move. It takes some getting used to at first but most people quickly adapt, gain their sea legs and think no more about it. The movement you will notice is the rising and falling of your home in conjunction with the tides. Tidal movement in Victoria Harbour can be as much as fourteen feet. Sometimes, when the tide is low, the ramps from docks to shore can be steep. This is considered part of the charm of marine living.

Q. What size of Floathome can be built on a Marine lot?
A. The size of the Marine Lot will limit the size of the Floathome. You are permitted to have a third storey but it is limited to three hundred square feet no matter the size of the Marine Lot. The typical Marine Lot at Westbay Marine Village is 750 square feet. Generally after taking into account decks and articulations in the form, the typical house would be 1,600 to 1,800 square feet. The largest Marine Lot is 1,000 square feet so the largest home can be 2,300 square feet.

Q. Do I pay real property taxes for my Floathome?
A. In a word, yes. Floathomes are subject to municipal real property taxes just as other forms of buildings attract such taxes. You are taxed on the full fair market value of the Floathome and your leasehold interest in the Marine Lot.

Q. What other costs will I have to pay?
A. In addition to any Sub-Lease payments made to the Marina for your Marine Lot you will have to pay for parking stall rental, insurance on your Floathome, natural gas consumption, power consumption, water consumption, telephone and cable service charges just as you would in any other type of housing you owned.

Q. May I moor a boat to my Floathome?
A. Almost all Marine Lots will be permitted to moor a boat alongside the Floathome without charge. Boats moored alongside the Floathome will be limited to vessels that are not longer than eighteen feet and having a beam of less than eight feet. The intention is that your “commuter” or recreation crafts such as kayaks or day sailor boat is alongside. Any larger vessels must be moored in the boat portion of the Marina.

Q. Is it possible to finance the cost of buying a Floathome and Marine Lot?
A. We have arranged financing packages from select Canadian Banks. Most lending institutions and their staff are not familiar with the peculiarities of Floathome Sub-Lease tenures and the financial dealings connected with the Floathome purchase. We have arranged for conventional mortgage financing for up to 90% of the fair market value of the Floathome. Generally the Marine Lot lease payments are not financed, but contact us for more information on financing options. Your ability to borrow is always subject to your capacity to service the debt and your prior credit history.

Q. Who insures Floathomes?
A. Generally, it has been hard to find insurers for Floathomes. Since Floathomes were for a long time unregulated and construction standards were not enforced by any authority, insurance companies were reluctant to insure them. Westbay Marine Village is designed to meet the standards of the Federal, Provincial and Municipal authorities. All Floathomes must also meet the engineering and construction standards. We have arranged through our own insurers a package of insurance coverage for Floathome Owners.

Q. Do I have to build my Floathome right away?

No, but your Sub-Lease payments will begin shortly after you enter into a Sub-Lease Agreement with us. Once you make the decision to live on the water you will not want to wait!

Q. What is the process to build a Floathome?  

Every Floathome we build is custom designed for each individual owner. So the process must start with you selecting which Marine Lot you would like your Floathome to occupy.

You will likely have some idea of the style of Floathome architecture you prefer (for example Ultra Modern or Arts and Crafts, to name two styles). We will recommend a designer who is familiar with our Floathome development and construction techniques.

Once you select the Designer, the next step is a series of meetings with the Designer (at least a couple of which meetings should include our Floathome Construction Manager), until a preliminary Floathome design is worked out. The cost of all design service is at your expense. A typical budget for preliminary design of a new Floathome is $2,500. - $3,000.

Our exclusive Floathome Building Team can then develop a preliminary cost budget to build your Floathome to your design specifications. The cost budget to build will include not only the cost to actually construct the Floathome but also:

  • all costs to place the finished Floathome in the water.
  • tow it to Westbay Marine Village from our building site,
  • the placement of at least two pilings to keep your floathome in place
  • cost of connecting your Floathome to Westbay’s dock services and infrastructure.

Once you have settled on your final design the Designer will produce actual construction drawings in conjunction with our Marine Engineer who will design the float for the Floathome. When all working drawings are complete, our team will finalize all construction costs.

Q. Can I have input during the construction process?  
A. Yes. However, substantial changes in design or specifications will result in additional cost.

Q. Am I limited in how much weight I put in my Floathome?  
A. Weight considerations must be addressed in the design process. Most household furnishings are of no concern. If you are planning for a hot tub, this must be designed into the float design. Therefore, the cardinal rule for Floathomes is design in all the things you want at the outset. The float is designed to support what goes on top of it, so any extraordinarily weighty items should be planned into the float design.

Q. Is there a warranty on the Floathome?  
A. Our Construction Team will provide a construction warranty on the Floathome. Other extended warranty options may also be available. All Floathomes built by our Construction Team are built to a high standard with appropriate engineer involvement throughout and always to our Design Guidelines which sets out the approved Municipal, Provincial and Department of Transport Floathome design requirements.

Contact us if you have more questions or if you are ready to start enjoying living on the water at Westbay.
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