Berwick Retirement Communities wants to build a 92-unit facility on this vacant land next to Qualicum Beach town hall.

Residents’ group supports new plan for vacant land next to Qualicum Beach town hall

Qualicum Beach Residents' Association president says Berwick Retirement Communities' plan is better than the previous idea, The Clarion

The Qualicum Beach Residents’ Association’s (QBRA) board of directors says it supports the latest development proposed for the vacant land next to town hall.

This project, a 92-unit proposal from Berwick Retirement Communities (BRC) that has yet to receive approval from town council, is much different than the last proposal for that land, which was known as The Clarion and created quite a stir in the community.

“It (the BRC plan) is a design that fits in with Qualicum Beach,” QBRA president Bill Adkins said in an interview Thursday, the day after the board released its review of the new proposal. “The Clarion design would have stuck out like a sore thumb.”

Much of the opposition to The Clarion was centred on the height of that proposed structure, roughly 4.5 storeys above ground. The BRC plan is the same height.

“It’s pretty much the same but they (BRC) have done a good job disguising the height with the architectural design, instead of emphasizing the height like The Clarion did,” said Adkins, adding that BRC is “going about it the right way, working with the public in advance.”

Adkins said the QBRA didn’t love everything about the BRC proposal, but he said the development on the high-profile parcel of downtown real estate would be “better than an empty lot.”

Adkins said the QBRA has approximately 300 members, including “the majority” of town council members.

Like The Clarion, there has been talk that these units downtown could free up houses for younger families to move into Qualicum Beach if retirees opt to downsize into the all-inclusive lifestyle of the BRC rental units. The difference, said Adkins, is The Clarion offered bigger, more expensive “Vancouver-style luxury condos” instead of the rental units of the BRC.

“It is our opinion this proposal will be a positive addition to our town,” the QBRA board said in the conclusion of its review of the BRC plan. “The developer has a solid reputation for building and operating quality facilities over many years. We also believe the economic model which Berwick follows is beneficial to our community. Berwick in Qualicum Beach will enable residents to downsize to assisted living and still have the continuity of remaining in our town.”

Berwick has built retirement communities in Campbell River, Comox, Nanaimo, Kamloops and Victoria (two). The average age of the residents is about 84. When they spoke with

The NEWS in June, Berwick officials said a best-case scenario would see them apply for a development permit by the end of the summer, start construction in the spring of 2017 and see occupancy in the fall of 2018.

The monthly costs for a unit — BRC facilities do not offer long-term leases — range from $2,400-$4,500, which basically includes everything, including meals, said Berwick officials, adding that this proposed facility in Qualicum Beach would employ the equivalent of 40 people full time.

When he met with The NEWS, Chris Denford, Berwick’s president, CEO and son of its founder Gordon Berwick, presented drawings of the proposed facility that includes patios and a solarium with a view of the ocean. He said it would also include a theatre, a wellness centre and meeting facilities that could be used by community groups. He called the style of architecture English arts and crafts design.

“We designed a building that fits in the community better than The Clarion did,” he said. “It has far more advantages than The Clarion ever did.”

Just Posted

Parksville Qualicum Beach legions set to launch Poppy Campaign

Annual fundraiser to run from Oct. 25 to Nov. 11

Bear sightings up significantly in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Fruit trees number one food attractant, says conservation officer

Parksville Qualicum Beach crime report: Thieves pilfer laptops, tools, big-screen TV, cash and more

Oceanside RCMP received 256 complaints between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5.

Qualicum Bay writer Linda Tenney dies after battle with cancer

Celebration of life set for Nov. 2 at Lighthouse Community Centre

Pole-climbing thieves pilfering wire in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Repairs are costly and thefts jeopardize public safety

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Union says Western Forest Products refuses to budge from ‘unreasonable concessions’

According to a press release, both parties met on Oct. 16, 18, 19, and 20.

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Environment Canada issues gale warnings for western Vancouver Island

Gale warnings in effect for most of Vancouver Island and west coast Mainland

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Most Read