This may seem like a way out question but my wife and I are relocating to the Okanagan from the UK (I'm Canadian and my wife's British) and are torn between Naramata and Lake Country (both are in semi rural and beautiful areas but also have easy access to Penticton or Kelowna). To date we have been to Naramata twice but have not been to Lake Country yet (I'm moving over October 1st to start a Wine Sales course at Okanagan College and my wife will be coming over mid November when our house sale/her work project is completed).
As reference what we liked about Naramata was its sense of community and wide range of ages of residents (I'm 58 and my wife is 53) and alot to do there at any age. Also the people seemed to be delightfully idiosyncratic and yet also friendly (even to new comers/visitors like us). What we frankly are disappointed in is the quality and high prices of residential real estate in Naramata. The building quality is generally poor and if you want something that's craftsman built quality you'll be paying ~ $1.2M for 3000 sq. ft. in a nice location (if you can find anything at all and you may have to build it yourself).
What we liked about Lake Country is that it has many of the beautiful attributes of Naramata and a much wider range of housing inventory to choose from and generally of a higher standard and newer than we found in Naramata AND at about 20% lower prices. A chief concern of ours however is if the area has a community feel and more importantly if it would suit a couple of, albeit active, middle aged empty nesters like us. What we don't want is an area that is largely a dormitory town(s) for Kelowna tailored to families and/or second home owners who use the place largely as a resort with little sense of community. At our stage in life and being new to the area we would like to be able to meet and build friendships with residents who like us, do not have to centre their lives around their children any more and are retired or semi retired and don't have to centre their lives around working hard either.
Sorry this is a long email but it takes a certain amount of space to explain our dilemma. Hopefully there is someone out there who can give us a 'heads up' on what direction we should take. We will clearly go visit Lake Country to get a feel for ourselves but the more we understand before we go the better. Also given our objectives which of the four townships would be the best match for us? Or in the final analysis in terms of best fit for our needs should we bit the bullet and go to Naramata to settle.
Many thanks for this,
Welcome to our forum.
Naramata <--> Lake Country
I have never lived in Naramata only driven through there a few times, beautiful area for sure.
So, I won't really be able to give you a true comparison, so I will try to give you an un-bias'd pro/con on Lake Country as
I have lived in Lake Country (Winfield and Oyama) which is also a very beautiful area.
Upside: Lake Country (I think) offers more amenities than Naramata (ie: shopping, banking, doctor, dentist etc.) So, there would be less need to access the larger towns. But L/C does have access to two major centers (Vernon & Kelowna) for all those things you just can't do without. Also, if you like boating/fishing there are the three major lakes, and access to many many back country lakes. There is a quite vibrant seniors center, ice rink, community halls, sports teams, a couple of pubs, wineries etc.
Downside: Over the last few years Lake Country has grown considerably, with many new subdivisions, lakeside condo complexes and others still in the proposal stage. Infrastructure for the explosion in population has not kept up. Taxes are expected to rise considerably over the next few years to pay for upgrading sewers/water systems etc. and also to pay for the new "town centre" that just commenced this year. There is not a big commercial tax base in Lake Country, so residential tends to pay more (much like Peachland).
Anyway, I can't think of anything more at this time, hope this much helps .
Oh, we moved into Kelowna from Oyama a year ago due to family circumstances. We did love the rural lifestyle.
Many thanks for your input. If anyone else has more insights to add that would be great. I guess what we're most concerned about is if Lake Country (or any of its four constuents) has a real and diverse (read older - 50 something - empty nesters) sense of community or if its essentially a dormitory town for Kelowna (and second homes for the well heeled). We're very sensitive to our ability to integrate into a new community as we are relocating from Europe. As a Canadian I have lived for the past 5 years in the South London (England) suburbs and never felt like I fitted in and don't want to repeat the experience!
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