Building Boom Hitting Mount Washington

Bear Lodge under construction on Mount Washington, Vancouver Island, BCMount Washington is about to be hit with a building boom. Bear Lodge is just the start of a fresh spate of construction, which also saw a new chalet built along Nordic Way, foundations laid for two more in the Alpine Village and plans for a new townhouse development next summer, says Realtor Rick Gibson of Royal LePage in the Comox Valley.

There’s also talk that a hotel will be built next year, although no one is naming names. “We had a development permit for a Victoria developer to do the digging for a 50-unit condo lodge with some significant retail space,” said Jay Oddleifson, who looks after development and planning for Mount Washington Alpine Resort. “We ran out of time in the summer to dig the hole, so we will proceed in the spring. Stay tuned for a major announcement.”

The hotel complex would be located between the Alpine lodge and Deer Lodge and would include retail/commercial space. Oddleifson and Gibson both agree that a retail component is “sorely needed” at the Resort. “Retail space will be very significant for the development of Mount Washington,” Gibson said. “The biggest thing that new project will do for everybody on the mountain is create a nucleus or heartbeat of a commercial centre on the mountain. That’s one thing that has been missing from the Mount Washington recreational experience.”

The suites in the proposed hotel will probably be smaller than those found in Deer and Bear Lodges, he added. Oddleifson said developers are planning two new subdivisions along Nordic Way: one to be on a pie-shaped piece of property near another chalet that was built this summer and also near the old Nordic Lodge (where Pizza Mogul is located).

Gibson said one of the subdivisions will be a townhouse complex near the Hawk chairlift, across from Strathcona Park. Called “Wildwood at Strathcona”, the townhouse complex will be a bit more upscale than anything the Resort has seen in the past. The Resort saw its first building boom ten years ago when Blueberry Hill, Ptarmigan Ridge and Paradise Ridge were built, followed quickly by several others. Then the market went soft for about five years, Gibson said. “As much as prices weren’t going down, they weren’t going up,” he said. “In order to entice a builder to come to the mountain prices had to come up. But we’re still pretty inexpensive compared to other recreational areas.”