The Town of Qualicum Beach will soon have a waterfront park to enjoy.
The town announced it had reached a deal with the estate of Elizabeth Little to purchase the St. Andrews Lodge property.
“After this purchase, the property will be the largest (Qualicum Beach) town-owned property on the waterfront,” at 6,500 square metres, said a town news release.
“The purchase price was $3.4 million,” said Heather Svensen, the town’s corporate administrator.
Located at Buller Road and Highway 19A, the property includes the St. Andrews Lodge and Glen Cottages on the north side of Hwy. 19A, as well as eight smaller lots on the south side of the highway immediately across from the lodge.
While the town plans to retain the waterfront property for public park use, it is reviewing options for the future use of the eight lots.
However, Svensen said the town will look to sell some of those eight properties “to free up money” to pay for the major investment. The town’s objective, according to the news release, will be to put up for sale “lands of lesser community significance.”
Svensen said which of the lands they intend to sell will be disclosed in the coming weeks. “There will be a public announcement,” she said.
“Purchasing this land is a visionary achievement for the Town of Qualicum Beach,” Mayor Teunis Westbroek is quoted as saying in the town news release. “This waterfront property is a valued part of the town’s history and will continue to be a community asset for future generations.”
The lodge and cottages were designed and built by Simon Little and Robert Little, said Sandie Klein, who is grandaughter and daughter respectively to Simon and Robert. She is also the niece of Elizabeth Little.
Klein said the doors to the lodge opened August 1, 1938 by Simon, Dora, Robert and Elizabeth Little, who was the town’s citizen of the year in 1983 and was later named the town’s first Freeman of the Town in 1998, according to the news release.
The town flew its flags at half-staff when Little passed away in 2011 at the age of 87.
“My aunt, Elizabeth Little, would be very pleased to see this property always be there for the people of the Town of Qualicum Beach to enjoy,” said Klein. “Our family is also please to honour this vision.”
The town has been having discussions about the property for “the past couple years,” said Svensen.
She noted the property’s historical value, and added “it is in our waterfront master plan and our official community plan to preserve and maintain the waterfront when we can.”
Svensen said no decisions have been made about what to do with the buildings on the property, or what work may be done to the land itself.
The property transfer is expected to be completed in early September.