Project within B.C.’s Pender Harbour located on peninsula
Sometimes, things are just meant to be — and life takes unexpected turns to bring you where you should be. Just ask Connie Ruben. It’s ironic, she says. “My husband, Peter, is an adventurer who has sailed around the world and been to so many wonderful places, but although he grew up in Calgary, he had never been to the West Coast.”
That first trip was to the Sunshine Coast north of Vancouver — and it changed the lives of the Calgary couple.
“We fell in love with the area and bought the resort, Lord Jim’s, in Halfmoon Bay near Sechelt,” she says.
Now known as Rockwater Secret Cove Resort, the luxury spot was just the beginning of the new adventure for the Rubens, who have been involved in various aspects of development for years.
Peter is the chair of Alberta Mining Corp., a Calgary-based company founded by his grandfather in 1948.
Although it now centres on commercial and industrial real estate development, the company pioneered the development of the natural resources industry in Alberta and built the province’s first pulp mill.
The purchase of Rockwater Secret Cove Resort was the start of a new direction for the company, which partnered with hotelier Kevin Toth, former general manager of Fairmont Chateau Whistler, to form Rockwater Properties.
“When the realtor showed us around the resort area, another piece of property wasn’t even for sale, but we fell in love with it,” says Reuben.
The area that caught the couple’s eye was “at the mouth of the harbour and bordered by an old growth forest,” she says.
Soon, a sale was made and the Rubens embarked on their new adventure — one that was to take a further, unexpected twist.
Whittakers at Pender Harbour is a luxury, architect-designed oceanfront community that’s been master-planned to ensure exclusivity, privacy and a chance to commune with nature.
The recreation property is located on a peninsula, with homes following an outer ridge of the shoreline to maximize 5.7 hectares of land and 305 metres of shoreline waterfront.
Its private, scenic cove is bounded to the east and west by higher protruding peninsulas, ensuring privacy and unobstructed natural scenery.
“We built a show home and at that time said we didn’t want to move there,” says Reuben.
But the couple fell in love with the beauty of the area. “Now, we said we want to be there,” she says.
The couple have taken possession of the show home as their summer house and can’t wait to get there, she says.
“The timing was where it needed to be,” says Ruben. “We went out there and fell in love with this piece of land.”
That’s not surprising, says Cindy Luntley, who was brought up on the Isle of Wight in England.
Luntley and her husband, Jerry, emigrated to Canada six years ago, where they now live in Canmore and commute to Calgary.
“Much as we love the mountains, the first time I went out to Rockwater Secret Cove and stayed in the hotel and sat by the sea, I realized we had to have a place there,” says Luntley
They soon found the Whittakers project. “It was a very expensive afternoon of sightseeing.”
But the couple love it, she says. “It’s gorgeous, there’s brilliant sea kayaking, starfish by the hundreds, snorkelling, and we are very, very happy with the design of our home there,” says Luntley. “The quality of workmanship and attention to details is incomparable.”
Whittakers is a $33-million, master-planned gated community that features high-quality, detached homes.
They are built are low to the ground to blend better with the natural landscape. The waterfront homes face southwest and southeast with a protected bay, deepwater marina, grassy meadow and the small oldgrowth forest framing it.
“We could have knocked down some of the forest and put in 25 more lots, but we kept of as many of the old trees as we could,” says Ruben. “Instead, we created a walkway through the forest.”
The development has 25 lots with each home designed specifically to fit the lot and face the water.
“We put together a strata type of ownership so everyone can own a piece of the entire property, including the forest and the private marina,” says Ruben.
Strata are the B.C. equivalent of condominiums.
Sixteen of the 25 lots have sold — “and it’s a surprise to me, but four or five are from Alberta, and not even people we know,” says Ruben.
Lots are priced from $269,000 to $399,000, each with deep water moorage and optional architectural drawings.
The detached homes have been custom-designed by architect Drew Rose of Still Point Architecture, which specializes in coastal.properties.
Finished homes are priced from $700,000 to more than $1.5 million.
Lot purchasers have the option of constructing their own home subject to the strict architectural controls. Homes are designed to fit the area’s unique topography and follow two architectural design styles — West Coast Arts and Crafts, or West Coast Contemporary.
Each home site has about 15 metres of frontage and views of Pender Harbour and the ocean.
Homeowners are able to access an optional resort concierge service, which is operated out of Rockwater Secret Cove Resort.
It offers elite hotel services, including property management, rental management, security and service checks, house cleaning, and grocery, laundry and catering services.
Whittakers is 30 minutes north of Sechelt in Pender Harbour.
Whittakers can be reached by ferry 40 minutes from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale and 70 minutes to the Whittakers’ site.
The area can also be reached by float plane, as regularlyscheduled flights fly from Vancouver to the dock at Rockwater Secret Cove. Homeowners may also fly from the Calgary Airport to Whittakers dock in 2.5 hours.
A view of the ocean near Whittakers at Pender Harbour, B.C.
Some of the waterfront homes available at the Whittakers at Pender Harbour development in B.C.
The view from the windows in the dining room in one of the units.