Pending District of Tofino permit approval, Long Beach Lodge (LBL) could be getting a new next door neighbour.
Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities Inc., one of Canada’s largest owners of land-leased properties and resorts, shared draft development resort concepts with the community at two recent open house events on July 13th and Aug. 3Rd at the Best Western Tin Wis.
Parkbridge bought the land adjacent to LBL that stretches out to the left of Cox Bay in 2013 for $16 million.
LBL director of operations Samantha Hackett said she was positively impressed with the draft plans and thought they were being sensitive to Cox Bay and the surrounding resorts.
“I went to both open houses and the big thing that both Tim Hackett and myself have been happy about because Tim’s in development himself, we understand how important it is to get the community intake.”
“We were really glad that they went that route and asking for both our opinions as neighbours and everyone else’s opinion as neighbours and then the full community,” said Hackett.
“We also know it’s a very, very rough draft and very early. It’s only for rezoning and a lot could change,” she added.
Parkbridge senior vice president of development Karl Gagesch from Ontario sat down and spoke with the Westerly News at the Open House on Aug. 3rd. He said one of the concerns he heard loud and clear from the community feedback was that Tofino residents are most interested in along-term housing solution.
“Parkbridge knows how to do that. That’s in our core business. We can bring a program together for somewhere between 100-125 what we call affordable, social housing into your market place. It’s affordable in the context of the price point into your market. We’re talking family, working style housing,” said Gagesch.
“I met with the mayor and we’re more than ready to start moving on that as part of our phase one if that’s what the community wants because it’s good for us, it’s good for the community. We’ll do it in parallel with the resort development,” he said.
Phase one of the draft resort development site includes building 30-50 units, with up to 300 units being constructed over a 10 year span.
“One of the things we have to complete with our research is the sizing of the units. Depending on the mix of one or two bedrooms will determine where we land between the 200-300 that are in our overall construction plan,” said Gagesch.
He said phase one of the resort development would also include oversized staff accommodation, which could potentially be offered on a rental basis to neighbouring resorts and businesses.
“I look at it as dormitory style student housing type of accommodation,” he said.
Hackett thought the option of being able to utilize the extra staff accommodation would take some pressure off Tofino’s seasonal housing crisis.
“I do hope that they go down that route,” she said.
Infrastructure concerns related to sewage and water usage were also raised at the open houses.
Hackett said she was unsure as to whether or not Tofino could handle the population from another resort without upgrades being done to the infrastructure.
Gagesch reassured that it was in Parkbridge’s interest to maintain the land properly.
“We are going to be here for a very long period of time. We own our property for perpetuity, we only sell the houses and rent the land back to customers so we are going to live that experience of that beach. If we create a problem, we live those problems,” he said.
Parkbridge is hoping to break ground on Tofino Pure Pacific within the next two years.
“We’re anxious to start as soon as we can and we’re trying to drive an agenda very aggressively with the district. But these things take time.
We need to go through the permitting phase and then the planning phases around that. I would estimate that if we’re lucky, and everyone is comfortable with the building plan and the permitting happens the way we expect, I would say 18-months. It’s probably more realistically two years,” said Gagesch.