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Pros and Cons of Moving to Parksville, BC

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Ballard Fine Homes
July 5, 2023
Families relax on a summer's day in Parksville, BC Canada

The beautiful seaside town of Parksville is known for its long, sandy beaches, vibrant community, and small-town feel. With a population of around 14 000, the quaint feel of Parksville can’t be beaten. But is this town the right fit for you? When moving to a new town or city, it’s always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons to help come to a better decision about relocating. We’ve listed some commonly asked questions and concerns about Parksville below.

Advantages of living in Parksville

Is Parksville the best place to retire on Vancouver Island?

A slower pace of life, beautiful natural scenery, and a slight bias towards an older demographic are key features for why Parksville is a great place to retire. The median age of a resident is 62 years old and this is accommodated by warm ocean waters for swimming, a vibrant seniors’ centre, and an assortment of year-round golf courses nearby.

Qualicum Beach is about a ten-minute drive from Parksville and offers many of the same amenities plus a few more. Together, these towns are referred to as the Oceanside region. In terms of amenities, they contain options such as a health centre, grocery stores, fitness and aquatic centre, and several religious organizations. Retirees especially enjoy the impressive golf courses of Qualicum Beach.

Parksville weather

Parksville benefits from the same mild, temperate climate as the rest of Vancouver Island. Winters are generally mild and bring a small amount of snow each year. Summers are comfortably warm with rare instances of heat waves. Temperatures range between 3 and 22 degrees Celsius on average, making it very comfortable to go for a walk or take a dip in the ocean. As it is a waterfront town, a small breeze usually comes in with the waves. View Parksville’s weather forecast and have a look for yourself.

Parksville real estate – waterfront and waterview homes aplenty

If you are dreaming of a waterfront home, where you are mere steps away from sandy beaches and warm ocean water, you’ve found the right place. Parksville is filled mainly with two to three-bedroom, single-family homes that are either on the beach or within walking distance of it. A small number of townhouses and condos are also found, notably a few newer buildings near the waterfront in downtown Parksville.

If you are more interested in acreage, then you will want to look inland. Moving in the direction of Coombs and Hilliers will open more opportunities for hobby farms and similar properties.
Compared to Vancouver, real estate listings in Parksville are relatively more affordable. While some homes are older, custom renovations are fairly popular. Another option that has been growing in popularity is building a custom home. It’s a perfect marriage between an ideal location and a home built based on the homeowner’s lifestyle.

Fresh air and a clean town

Are you looking to get away from the city smog? The air in Parksville is fantastic due to the ocean breezes and plentiful amount of trees and forests. The water tastes great, too. An overall low level of pollution puts Parksville high on the environmentally-friendly scale.

Those seeking a healthier lifestyle will appreciate the cleanliness of the town, the freshness of the city, and the lack of wear and tear on the overall environment. If you or a family member suffers from a breathing problem such as asthma or COPD, then you may find the environment in Parksville will benefit your health.

A mature caucasian couple out for a hike together. Senior man and woman smiling and walking in a forest in nature

Considerations about Parksville

Parksville jobs

As a small town, there is a limited number of businesses and job opportunities. Some people choose to live in beautiful Parksville and commute to work in nearby Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, or Port Alberni.

The unemployment rate may look startling to some, but it’s important to keep in mind that Parksville is a preferred place to retire so that will heavily affect any statistics regarding employment. Of the available jobs, working in retail and health care provide the bulk of the workforce. In addition, many remote positions have opened up in recent years due to the pandemic, making Parksville an ideal location for your home office. Where else can you leave work and head straight to the beach?

Things to do in Parksville

In terms of things to do similar to larger cities like Vancouver, you can think of Parksville as containing some of those things on a smaller scale, but with the addition of outdoor recreation at your doorstep.

While you won’t find a large venue for concerts or NHL games, you will find the beautiful Rathtrevor Provincial Park, mini golf, various golf courses, restaurants, local businesses like cheese shops and breweries, and endless opportunities for embracing nature.

The long tides mean the sandy beaches have ample time to warm up in the sunshine, which causes the incoming waves to get a little bit warmer and more comfortable for swimming. Families enjoy Parksville beaches for swimming, building sand castles, and relaxing on a warm summer day. Adults enjoy creating sand castles, too. An annual competition at the Parksville Beach Festival involves a sand sculpting competition that is a must-see. These gorgeous works of art are on display for a few weeks until the elements wear them away.

Independent transportation

Do you have a driver’s license? While you may have gotten away without one on the Lower Mainland, you’ll likely need it in Parksville.

Many shops and amenities are within walking distance and there is a local bus that gets the job done. However, having your own wheels will come in handy for places like Rathtrevor Beach, travelling to nearby towns, or any other local area that isn’t serviced by the city bus.

Parksville does not have numerous bus routes and a SkyTrain system for users to get around. Some private companies offer bus service to other parts of Vancouver Island, but this can be a costly option if you need to commute regularly.

The perk to this situation is that traffic in Parksville is virtually non-existent. Gone are the days of finding yourself crawling along the highway just to get to work or home. If you want stress-free driving, then you should consider Parksville.

Emergency health care is limited

While most health concerns can be addressed by the local health centre, the nearest hospitals are in Nanaimo and Port Alberni. Granted, it does take about 30 minutes by vehicle to drive to either location (with favourable traffic conditions) but that can make some people nervous. If you are the type of person that wants a hospital in your hometown, then Parksville might be a little too small for your needs.

In general, most residents are highly satisfied with the healthcare situation in Parksville. Staff competency, equipment standards, friendliness of healthcare staff, and speed in completing examinations are all reported with more than satisfactory ratings.

However, Vancouver Island is running a little short on available family doctors. While you will be able to see a physician during a visit to a walk-in clinic, finding a family doctor may take a while. This problem is not unique to Parksville, but it is worth planning ahead if you do decide to relocate.

Ready to dive into Parksville’s real estate market?

At Ballard Fine Homes, we personally believe Parksville is one of the best places to live on Vancouver Island. As a custom home-building company, we have built homes all over the Oceanside region and can’t speak highly enough about the benefits of owning a home in Parksville. We are passionate about building beautiful homes on Vancouver Island that our clients love.

For more elaborate builds, we offer an extensive selection of high-end finishes and designs for that professional touch. Smaller renovation jobs are also welcomed, as well as any questions you may have about our process. If you are looking to renovate or build your own custom home, we would love to get in touch with you to make that a reality.