On your way up to one of the most well-known golf resorts in B.C., if not all of Canada, the backhoes and bulldozers are hard to ignore. Development is seemingly still going strong up on Bear Mountain.
“There really isn’t another place like Bear Mountain,” beams Ruthanne Doyle of Ecoasis, the company that took over the reins of property sales at the West Shore resort community.
“There are golf resort areas that have residential components, but they’re not 20 minutes from a capital city. It’s a huge strength for us to be in that kind of position,” she says.
The development allows people to have their primary residence at a high-end resort.
“When Ecoasis bought Bear Mountain (in October 2013),” adds the company’s financial expert David Clarke, “one of the things we really wanted to focus on was not being so golf-centric. We love golf, we think golf is the great cornerstone here, we’re not messing with the golf, but we wanted to create other amenities to drive the value here – the value to both our current residents and our future ones.”
Mountain biking and tennis are both becoming a big deal up there, he says, which along with the well-established golf benefits, make a sort of trifecta of outdoor recreation pillars.
“We’re not taking focus off of golf,” Doyle says, “we’re broadening its appeal and enhancing it.
“We want people to ask, ‘where can I play, live and work all at the same time?’” Clarke says.
Right now, Ecoasis’ answer is Turnberry – their current focus in terms of residential development. The 51-lot subdivision is set along the ninth fairway of the Mountain course. Nestled in that serene mountain setting, its proximity to the amenities in the nearby village makes it a unique residential opportunity that people are intrigued by.
“Any of the people who have come to look at the project absolutely love that aspect of it,” Doyle says. “It’s a quiet neighbourhood, but with easy access to everything people love about Bear Mountain.”
The properties that have sold – about 60 per cent of what’s available – are, as Doyle puts it, “a nice combination of end users and builders.” In other words, some people are building for themselves and others are building as a business.
Unlike some subdivisions, where there are limited options in terms of home styles – the proverbial cookie-cutter neighbourhood – there are no repeated designs in Turnberry. There are covenants in place ensuring builders must follow certain design principals, Doyle says, but each house will be unique, with homes custom-designed for the lot they’re on.
Ecoasis can point “end-user” buyers to architects and designers to help create their ideal home and have it built. But with builders buying a number of lots in Turnberry, there will also be finished homes that people can just purchase and move into.
And while the overall focus is being broadened at the resort, each lot purchase still comes with a golf membership to Bear Mountain.
There are more projects in the planning stages, which Clarke says will likely diversify their offerings further.
The goal for the next few subdivisions is to have a mix of single-family dwellings, executive townhomes, smaller patio-type homes and possibly even multi-family complexes or condominiums, as well as adding to the area’s commercial and retail offerings.
“This is the new Bear Mountain,” he says. “This is the start of a new vision for a sustainable long-term development, which takes what’s great about what’s already here and builds upon that.”
Feel free to call Ecoasis if you have any questions about their offerings at 250-391-6100 or head over to bearmountain.ca/real-estate or ecoasis.com.
Q: What’s the story of the Bear Mountain community?
In April of 1999, as the story goes, ex-NHL hockey player Len Barrie cut down 28 trees in what he thought was his back yard to improve his view. It turned out, however, those trees were actually the property of the Royal Colwood Golf Club.
Barrie settled his lawsuit with Royal Colwood, agreeing to pay $14,700 for damages. But he and his family were also kicked out of and banned for life from membership in the private, members-only facility.
So he went off to make his own golf course, which soon became the huge, multi-billion resort and series of subdivisions on the slopes of Skirt Mountain.
Bear Mountain now features 36 holes of golf designed by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, a world-class fitness facility and dining amenities, tennis facilities, a Westin hotel and is, as of this past January, also the official High Performance Training Centre of the Canadian National Mountain Bike Team.
Check out all the amenitites on offer within the community at bearmountain.ca.
GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » Month to date, April 7/15 COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD
» 102 / 664 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL April 2014
» 223 / 1,521 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL April 2014
» 3,758 / 4,404 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL April 2014