A private island in Cowichan Lake just off Youbou is for sale and attracting interest from across Canada, according to the agent handling the transaction.
Billy Goat Island was listed by LandQuest Realty Corporation earlier this spring with an asking price of $479,000. According to the online listing, the 3.6-acre private island boasts 1,200 feet of south-facing waterfront and easy access from Youbou. The current owner had obtained a development permit, with mapping for a main house, storage building, dock and services.
There are currently no services to the island, which is zoned for residential, which would permit for a bed and breakfast.
LandQuest agent Jason Zroback said the island is “build-ready” with several studies having been finished, and even the raising of the water level due to the Cowichan Lake weir was taken into account.
Zroback was unable to discuss who the current owner is, or why they are divesting of the property, but he said there are no special circumstances behind it.
“Just people selling stuff,” he said.
Klaus Kuhn, who represents Area I (Youbou/Meade Creek) on the Cowichan Valley Regional District board of directors, said it should be common knowledge that all of the islands in Cowichan Lake, including Billy Goat Island, are private property, although he would have liked to see them become public parks.
“It’s unfortunate, because it used to be that TimberWest owned all the islands in the lake, and then they sold them off,” he said. “It would have been a nice gesture and a big advantage if they had given the islands to the CVRD as parks.”
Kuhn said he can see part of Billy Goat Island from his own property, and regularly swims around it.
“It’s a pity that there would be the possibility to build on it,” he opined.
According to the listing on LandQuest’s website, Billy Goat Island is “totally natural, complete with giant mature trees,” and there has been no development to date.
“This is a blank canvas allowing you to paint your own picture,” the page reads. “The current owner has done all the leg work and had received a development permit to construct a home on the island. By doing so it has taken away a lot of the uncertainties and may provide a fast track to start your own construction process.
“Although there are different potential building sites to choose from, the one that was approved is stunning. A southern exposed site that will draw in your attention as the view is panoramic over undeveloped and natural areas of the lake and land. The island is full of unique characteristics and is waiting for your ideas.”
The listing notes swimming, water-skiing, fishing, kayaking, hiking, scuba-diving and bird-watching as possible activities for the owner and their guests.
“This is a legacy property that will likely be passed down from generation to generation,” it states.
According to the listing, Billy Goat Island was named during the early setting of Youbou when pioneers put their goats on the island to protect them from cougars and black bears, only to learn that those animals don’t mind swimming when there is an easy meal at the other end.
Zroback specializes in waterfront property and has sold several islands before. He covers an area ranging from the Southern Gulf Islands to Haida Gwaii, so he is familiar with the Cowichan Valley.
Billy Goat Island, he said, would be perfect for “someone looking to build a summer home,” although it could be used year-round.
There has been “tons of interest” in the island from as far away as Toronto, Zroback he said. He expects an offer shortly, but said it is likely to come from a Victoria resident.
“You could leave work at five on Friday and get there for a late dinner,” he noted. “The kids could go water-skiing.”