New plan for Schooner Cove in Nanoose Bay could mean a summer opening

Fairwinds Community Association seems pleased with the shift in plans by the new owner

The president of the Fairwinds Community Association says she is excited about changes coming to the Schooner Cove area, a development that shifted scope and could be up and running this summer.

Vancouver-based Seacliff Properties purchased Fairwinds for an undisclosed price in July of this year. The development in Nanoose Bay has a championship golf course, 700 homes and zoning approval for 2,100 more home sites on 750 acres of undeveloped land. A full build-out could more than double the population of Nanoose Bay.

Some of the plans called for the re-development of the Schooner Cove area to include shops and a pub. In a letter to the residents’ association last week obtained by The NEWS, Seacliff’s Ian Porter said a revised plan calls for the use of the existing building at Schooner Cove instead of new structures.

“The Fairwinds Community is in need of neighbourhood scale shops and services to serve the day-to-day needs of residents and visitors alike,” wrote Porter, the managing partner of the company set up to work on this project, FW Enterprises. “It was envisioned that these services would be located in a grouping of newly developed buildings along a pedestrian ‘Village Stroll’ in the area now occupied by the old hotel building, marina office and launch ramp. (Seacliff) is not comfortable that this approach is the correct one for all involved and we are currently working to finalize a revised plan for the initial phase of the waterfront village that will utilize the existing building to house the commercial uses. These would include a neighbourhood grocery store, pub, cold beer and wine store, restaurant, coffee shop, marina office and other complimentary retail and service businesses. It is our desire to have the building renovated and ready for occupancy by the summer of 2016.”

The new approach seems to be getting a thumbs-up from the Fairwinds Community Association (FCA).

“‘We’re very excited about the forward momentum of new initiatives, including the added local benefits of new and returning amenities at Schooner Cove,” FCA president Crystal Ironside told The NEWS. “The development brings improvements including employment, business opportunities and access to stores for visitors, marina guests and locals alike, many who welcome the return of the pub, too.”

When reached by The NEWS late last week, Porter didn’t commit to a summer opening for any of the new shops.

“There are a lot of variables so at this point there is no exact schedule,” said Porter.

In the letter to the FCA, Porter said FW Enterprises has retained Dialog Architects, the company Porter said “envisioned and created Granville Island,” to work on the planning for this phase of this development.

Porter also said while the existing building “is clearly not attractive as it stands, it has fantastic bones, being built with massive steel components by Dominion Bridge.”

He said the renovation and re-purposing of the existing building “makes sound sense for all stakeholders.”

“The intent is to completely renovate and update the existing building, to meet all applicable codes, and including all new building systems,” Porter told the FCA.

“The completed building will provide shopping, dining and public areas with panoramic views of the waterfront and marina, and will connect to an extensive and publicly accessible waterfront realm as broadly envisioned in the existing neighborhood plan.”