Thinking outside of the box and picturing a different outcome, imagine if you can, The Clarion development would now be built on that premium location beside Qualicum Beach town hall.
Berwick Retirement Communities could use the old location where the temporary Qualicum Foods store was or, even better, the totally unused and empty schoolyard on Fern Road.
Let’s take a minute to compare the two buildings. First, The Clarion, with those high-priced, Vancouver-style condos, will attract about 100 retirees including some locals who are looking to downsize.
People will move into the downtown and will be spending money on furnishings, decorating, clothing, groceries and restaurants. They will be supporting our town.
Some of these residents will be wanting to be getting involved in the community, volunteering for many needed groups, hospice, food bank, meals on wheels, support for those who have lost their licences to drive them to doctor’s appointments etc.
Second, the Berwick facility, where yes, there will be jobs during construction, but once that is over the jobs for staff that the company talked about could end up being 20 or 25 part-time, minimum wage and 15-20 full time positions.
The Berwick, which is a seniors’ residence and not a nursing home, has an average age of 84, as stated by the Berwick owners.
The cost to stay at the Berwick runs from $30,000-$54,000/year. This may not leave much disposable income for most residents.
The Berwick provides all their meals so no support for grocery stores or restaurants and very little disposable income to support any other local businesses.
Berwick itself, will already have a group of whose distributors to supply all the required day-to-day supplies, including food products.
So, looking at the two developments, I would like both but if I could only have one, there is no comparison as to which would be most beneficial for Qualicum Beach. I choose The Clarion.
Mayor and council: if you had had the option to vote and not left it up to the Qualicum Beach Residents’ Association, which one would you have supported?