Preliminary work has started on the Berwick Qualicum Beach retirement facility next to Qualicum Beach town hall. The applicant received its development permit from the town on May 1. — Lauren Collins photo

Construction begins on Berwick Qualicum Beach

Workers in the preliminary stages, could take 18-20 months

After years as an undeveloped site, a downtown property is being transformed as preliminary construction work has started on the Berwick Qualicum Beach development.

Berwick Retirement Communities received the development permit at its May 1 council meeting, although councillors Barry Avis and Anne Skipsey voted against it.

Lena Foran, the sales and marketing director for Berwick, told the The NEWS that preliminary work started about two weeks ago. She said right now the crews are doing site preparation, excavation, shoring and securing hydro poles around the area.

Foran said the company, which has six other locations throughout the Island and in Kamloops, “typically has about an 18- to 20-month window from when we break ground (until opening).”

With that estimated timeline, Foran said, the development could open any time between January and March of 2019.

“I mean if we’re lucky we might be able to squeeze in December 2018, but right now, we’re kind of anticipating around January or February of 2019,” she said.

Starting in spring 2018, Foran said, Berwick will host information sessions on the development, but she added they’re still finalizing the details.

The information sessions, she said, will “just be with people on the priority list.” Foran said there are folks that have already expressed interest, so we’ll have meetings with an opportunity to put down deposits based on the order of the priority list.

As for pricing, Foran said they still haven’t finalized the specific pricing, but it’s “comparable” to the 34-unit suite extension at the Berwick Comox development.

The Berwick website states the Comox suites start at $2,770 per month but it doesn’t specify if that price is for the 34-unit extension. The monthly package includes suite rental, hospitality services, heat, hydro, air conditioning and basic cable TV.

The site, located at 120 W. First Ave., is next to Qualicum Beach town hall.

Berwick Qualicum Beach is the smallest to date of the Berwick facilities. The building will have 94 units consisting of studio units, one-bedroom units and two-bedroom units.