Seven months after the death of one of the owners of the “Clarion” property in Qualicum Beach, the land has been sold to a developer of retirement homes and the existing proposal appears dead. The controversial Clarion proposal called for 53 condominiums in a five-storey building on the high-profile lot behind town hall.
Director of Planning Luke Sales said the existing building permits were renewed this summer and the new owners could still build the proposed project, as long as it was exactly what was already approved, but that doesn’t appear to be their goal.
According to a Dec. 9 letter from previous owner Wayne Strandlund, the property was sold to Berwick Qualicum Beach Ltd., which is owned by Gordon Denford who also owns Victoria based Denford Construction Management, known for their Berwick Retirement Communities in Victoria, Nanaimo, Comox, Campbell River and Kamloops.
Sales said he is meeting with the new owner soon and expects them to present a “different kind of product,” but didn’t know what exactly that might look like.
The “Clarion” proposal was a key issue in the 2014 municipal election when two councillors seen as pro-development lost their seats.
After the death of his partner Bill Katerenchuk in May, Strandlund completed the building permit application just before the deadline, but as the Victoria based chancellor of Royal Roads University and founder of Fisgard Capital, he had admitted he depended on Katerenchuk as the local, hands-on developer.
His letter says that, “After exhaustive cost and market research, I have concluded that I must not proceed with The Clarion,” and that he and Katerenchuk had agreed “that there is a better and more socio-economic use of such a critical site.”
New councillor Anne Skipsey said “I knew there was nothing the new council could do by (the election), so I didn’t put a lot of time and energy into thinking about (The Clarion),” adding she’s looking forward to see the new proposal.