Dec 1, 2007 | Marmot, Winter 2007

A New Vision for Development

Chris Le Fevre is better known for his urban developments in Victoria like The RailYards and the Leiser Building, or resorts such as Middle Beach Lodge, Weigh West Marine Resort or 1431 Beach Club at Cox Bay in Tofino on Vancouver Island’s West Coast.

He is bringing a new vision to Mount Washington Alpine Resort.

Now, he has left the beach for the alpine meadows and snow glades of Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Le Fevre is a joint venture partner with the Resort in the development of its lands. Beaufort Heights Alpine Homes is the first phase of Le Fevre’s development vision. Crews have spent the past two summer seasons servicing an area along Nordic Road in preparation for building, including the removal and moving of tonnes of rockwork.

The next phase in Le Fevre’s development plan is Pacific Ridge, comprising 12 ski-in, ski-out townhouses. An access cul-de-sac has already been built off the parking lot for the Alpine Lodge; the first phase of this development is currently before the Comox-Strathcona Regional District.

Other phases include mountain estates, townhomes and mixed-use lots – perhaps even retail – in a village setting, above the Alpine Lodge.

Le Fevre cautions that Mount Washington is not a place to over-build, rather an area in which to progressively build out, while paying attention to the marketplace. “The master plan is one thing, careful, progressive and not precipitous growth is another,” he said. “Retail development at Mount Washington I see as a progression from those retail businesses currently run by the mountain,” Le Fevre said.

Retail needs to be “cautiously advanced,” he said, any third-party retailers will need to piggyback on the existing energy at the Resort. “Perhaps the most significant progression in this regard will be not total retail but a free-standing commercial food and beverage establishment.”

Le Fevre’s development plans have been well received by the board of directors at Mount Washington. “The move to bring Chris on as a joint venture partner has been very positive,” Mount Washington Alpine Resort President Peter Gibson said.

Le Fevre is under no illusion that Mount Washington must be the next Whistler. Rather, the Resort “should be recognized as a wonderful mountain environment primarily for families on Vancouver Island,” he said.

In the next decade he envisions more alpine cabins – “just like Whistler in the early days” – some ski-in, ski-out family townhouses, refreshing the day lodge and a new “summit” building at the highest point on the mountain: “A place to lunch, a place to reflect and truly enjoy the splendor of the very unique mountaintop,” he said. “This summit building does not need to be grand, but it should be there as an iconic place for people to meet at any time of the year.” A skier himself, “I don’t think I could be excited about working on the mountain if I didn’t,” he says, Le Fevre recognizes that Mount Washington has a solid future as a recreational habitat.

More from this Issue