The developers of a proposed mixed-use development next to the Beach Club Resort say they are hoping to bridge the gap between the waterfront and the downtown core.
IAG Developments and Moore Wilson Architects Ltd. — the owner and consultant team, respectively — hosted a public information session on Thursday. Within the first hour, dozens of people had been through the room in the Beach Club Resort.
Alex Watson, chief operating officer of IAG Developments, and Tom Moore, principal architect of Moore Wilson Architects Ltd., both said the plans for the six-building development would create an public open space for residents that is accessible to the public 24-7.
“I think there’s a real opportunity here to having mixed use and basically becoming an extension of the downtown,” Moore told The NEWS. “The commercial activity at the beach will energize the beach and make this real connection and then by adding residential, we actually really do create permanent full-time residents in the downtown.”
Asked if the developers are ready for the community feedback on the multi-building development, Watson said since they’re not the first ones to propose a development on this site, they can learn from previous proposals.
“The wants and needs of the community have changed over time. Part of the great thing about this development (The Beach Club) was it brought the access to the boardwalk. I don’t think anyone knew how important that would be to the community at the time,” Watson said.
The proposed development at 161 Island Hwy. East is for a six-building mixed-use development. The proposal includes a four-storey pub/residential building, a six-storey commercial/residential building, a four-storey hotel and event centre, a six-storey rental housing and community fitness centre building and an eight-storey and 16-storey commercial/office and residential building. Within the development, there are plans for a public space that would include a city plaza, a promenade and beach plaza.
The property is the location of the former Parksville Beach Resort.
Based on the timeline, Moore said, they’re planning to bring the rezoning application to Parksville city council in late October with the hopes of getting a development permit in February 2018.
The land is currently zoned for tourist commercial which is meant to provide accomodation and other services to visitors in the community. This current zoning wouldn’t allow for the mixed-use plan which includes residential units.
Val Dare, a Parksville resident who was at the information session, said she doesn’t see this as an economic enhancement.
“I think having a 16-storey anything is not helpful for a community,” said Dare, adding that there is still a bad feeling among some residents over The Beach Club and its height.
“There were a majority of residents who were opposed to it and it was pushed through anyway. There’s still a really bad feeling.”
During the session, Watson said he heard from a lot of people that they’re happy there could be a development for the community.
“The biggest comment I’ve heard from everybody I’ve talked to is that it’s going to allow for the public to be part of the space,” Watson said. “It’s not exclusive, it’s not a resort, it’s not blocking the beach or taking it away, it’s actually trying to invite everybody in to the space.”