Green-friendly project sets first
The Victoria Film Festival was looking for a unique venue for this year’s opening gala — something that would upstage its previous galas.
Festival director Kathy Kay says when they saw the atrium and lobby at the new Parkside Victoria Resort and Spa, they knew it would be perfect.
“I loved the furniture, the rock work and the ponds — it’s both serene and elegant,” she says. “We got the best feedback after the opening gala and it’s going to be hard to top it (next year).”
But it’s not just the atrium and lobby that are catching people’s attention.
Parkside Victoria is Canada’s first fractional ownership property in an urban setting — and also the first resort hotel in Canada to be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) platinum standards, the highest “green” building rating available (the company is still waiting for certification.)
That’s not all. The familyowned property won two gold medals at this year’s American Resort Development Association Convention in Las Vegas.
Parkside took both the “resort design” and “plan design and utilization” awards.
Jim Pearson, CEO of Aviawest, the company that developed Parkside, was thrilled with the recognition in Las Vegas.
“It’s really quite surreal to reflect on where we have come from to where we are now,” he says. “To be a small family business through the financial crisis and to win these awards when we’re up against the best in the world is really special.”
Aviawest got its start in 1991 when Pearson’s parents purchased a campground on a stretch of beach in Parksville and built six vacation homes on it. That development — Pacific Shores — is now almost built out, with 108 units as well as some fractional ownership.
Since then, the company has added five other recreation properties to its portfolio of second homes, all in B.C. and most on Vancouver Island, including Parkside Victoria, its newest.
In late 2003, Aviawest acquired the downtown parking lot that would become Parkside Victoria.
Pearson says it was a challenging project because the construction industry was in high demand when the company was ready to move forward.
“We couldn’t get people to even quote on building certain aspects of the building. We couldn’t get anybody to quote on the forming of the concrete, they were just all too busy, had too much work.”