Tempting us with a vivid picture of a simpler, fishing village lifestyle, there is a lot more to getting it right than what lays on the surface.
Every once in a while, someone gets it right. The right feel, the right look, and the right motivation that builds the synergy to make it happen. Welcome to Spirit Bay.
Woven into the seaside landscape on the south coast of Vancouver Island is a vibrant, close-knit, sustainable community— Spirit Bay. Working in harmony with the natural environment, every building, road, and pathway promotes human interaction. And where the site provides unprecedented access to the ocean, Spirit Bay is blessed with magnificent views of the Olympic Mountains and Salish Sea. Adjacent to a 3,500-acre wilderness park, this new devel- opment offers both custom village homes and extraordinary waterfront lots where one can build their dream home.
Due to the very limited amount of waterfront on the west shore of Victoria, the area now occupied by Spirit Bay was traditionally completely inaccessible—demarcated as Federal lands. Yet rising demand from retirees and others seeking the lifestyle that this setting so amply provides, has given those with vision, compassion, and the will to tread sensibly and lightly in all aspects of development, an opportunity to share with like-minded homeowners a place of joy, wellness, and fellowship.
Located 35 minutes from Victoria, at 4901 East Sooke Road in Metchosin, BC, Spirit Bay’s allotted 100 acres will eventually host 400-500 homes and 20 businesses over the next eight years with the first phase to be completed this year. “We have built 22 homes in our first phase of 85 lots and have sold 60 thus far with many under construction,” shares Geoff Gosson, director of marketing at Spirit Bay. “Our goal is not only to build a true village social structure, but to create the most sustainable development anywhere.”
Designed to capture the charm and allure of a historic fishing village, the homes are delightfully vivid in colour and built into the natural landscape, using high-grade materials. “Our philosophy of construction emphasizes quality and longevity with homes intended to last for future generations, much like European homes,” attests Gosson. “We use thoughtful, sustainable materials and source locally where possible. This way we build high quality, not high quantity.”
The homes that don’t necessarily boast expansive square footage, but the materials are arguably better. “Smaller is important, because we design the outdoor common areas to encourage homeowners to be outside,” adds Gosson. Also with an emphasis on breathable homes that are naturally ventilated, and while they admire the energy efficiency of passive homes, they prefer open windows for a healthier existence. “The energy we use for heating is 100% renewable. Plus, any energy payments we make go directly to our partners, the Beecher Bay First Nation.”
The vision was to build an authentic seaside community that would include a town centre with a social structure and a close connection to the land that would respect the legacy of First Nation heritage. Featuring narrower streets that are sharply angled, it promotes slower traffic and pedestrian safety. Also a “dark sky” community, waist-high lights are downward facing, affording an amazing view of the stars at night.
Featuring a wide range of homes based on square footage and proximity to water, their Hamlet residences start at 500 square feet, and range in price from $386 to $500,000. These homes face onto a commons with wilderness at its centre. Their Village homes are nestled into the hillside adjacent to the marina. Ranging from 1,200 to 2,700 square feet they are priced from $600 to $900,000.
With 19 designs available for these two neighbourhoods, one can select from an engaging assortment of lifestyle layouts. Sunset Point delivers a waterfront lifestyle with custom homes facing the Salish Sea and unobstructed views of the Olympic Mountains beyond. “These lots afford views of unparalleled grandeur on Vancouver Island, with offshore islands and sweeping headlands framing snow capped peaks that create a sense of wonder,” cites Gosson.
Only 35 minutes to the cultural hub of Victoria, the village is twenty minutes from Langford with its big box stores, nightlife, and multiple conveniences. “Between us and Langford is Metchosin, which is a preservation area with a conservation covenant. This pastoral region acts as a buffer between Spirit Bay with its rural farmland and network of wilderness parks and protected areas,” shares Gosson.
Spirit Bay is a partnership between the Beecher Bay First Nation and the non-profit Trust for Sustainable Development. The Scianew or ‘Salmon People’, have been living and fishing here for thousands of years. Nature provided them with rich abundance— pristine forests and seas teeming with fish. As one of their elders put it, “When the tide goes out, the table is set for a feast.”
Spirit Bay is a partnership in the truest sense. The Scianew share their land, resources, and natural beauty and the new homeowners, providing opportunities for their people in the form of investment, infrastructure, and ongoing revenue. The band also receives municipal taxes and revenue from the geothermal energy utility that heats and cools all the homes.
“For many of our homeowners there exists a nostalgia—a yearning to rekindle or recapture a feeling of community from their past,” Gosson admits. “The character and natural features of the community tap into the hearts of many buyers with a feeling that they’ve come home. It’s a place where they can relax—life moves at a slower pace when connected to nature.” This summer Spirit Bay is breaking ground on the village centre, which will eventually host a grocery store, café, medical centre, dental office, and gas station. Additional amenities will include a homeowners’ club house, sports field, and tennis courts for residents to enjoy. “The marina, of course, is a feature amenity and will offer preferred rates for residents,” says Gosson.
“There is a meeting of warm and cold water outside the harbor, which creates a robust fishing environment with enormous salmon runs and excellent crabbing,” he adds, also noting that whales, sea lions, seals, and otters are often spotted in the bay that permits recreational and traditional fishing but no commercial fishing.
“People often comment that they feel like they are living in a provincial park, looking across the harbor at Beecher Bay First Nation lands,” notes Gosson. “Many are attracted to our First Nations relationship. The Scianew are very proud of their heritage and the influx of revenue that this development affords is providing a sense of hope. Some are going back to school while others are opening new businesses—there is a renewed sense of identity and we are proud to be part it.”