EDITORIAL: High-profile lots

It's an important time for two high-profile parcels of land in Parksville and Qualicum Beach

Action is about to heat up — or not — on two high-profile parcels of land in the downtown areas of both Parksville and Qualicum Beach.

As we reported Tuesday, a company that specializes in seniors’ housing has purchased the land next to the community centre in Parksville. The company that owned the land previously had started building on it, literally hours before its permit expired, at the beginning of 2015.

That company was going to build 62 patio homes in a cluster of 18 buildings. They put the framework on the first building, but the new owners have applied for a demolition permit.

The new owner, Revera, may be considering the construction of  a seniors’ housing complex, perhaps similar to the nearby Stanford Place. We will all know only when the company is good and ready to tell us.

The availability of seniors’ housing continues to be a big issue in this region. Recent stories we’ve presented indicate there’s a real need at the affordable end of the scale. It remains to be seen if Revera intends to meet that need, or will instead build units that will cost $400,000 and up. Or $5,000/month, all-inclusive facilities. Neither of those options address the need for affordable seniors’ housing.

Up the coast in Qualicum Beach, the contentious conversation about the Clarion condo project is about to re-heat.

The owners of the land right next to town hall have until July 13 to move this project forward. Their development permit expires then and it’s highly unlikely this current town council will approve an extension or another permit.

These projects are market driven. If there are no sales, there is likely to be no construction, it’s that simple. Assumptions about sales, positive or otherwise, should not be made about the Clarion, however, because one of the owners fought illness and died in the last year. We are hearing that a partner in that business is eager to pick up the ball and move the project forward, and has been in town recently to speak with residents and officials about doing just that.

For many reasons, both of these potential projects are exciting. Construction and ongoing jobs, increased population in downtown cores, possible housing for seniors, a change to less-than-appealing vacant lots right beside city/town hall — let’s hope officials in both communities portray a welcoming and helpful attitude for these proponents.

— Editorial by John Harding

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