Kids to run free at B.C. resort
Calgary family wants to build memories at Boucherie Beach in West Kelowna
Sun-drenched childhood memories of running free at summer cottages, spending the whole day in bathing suits and playing on a sandy beach at a lake prompted a Calgary couple to put down some cottage roots of their own.
“When we talked about having a place somewhere, those are our best memories growing up,” says Vanessa Fleishman. “We really want to lay some roots down and have that for our kids.”
Vanessa and husband Ryan have spent summers at the Okanagan for years, renting condos with friends. One year, everyone needed more space for their children to run around, so four families began an annual trip together to Boucherie Beach.
The resort features rustic cabins around a central green space fronted with a flat, sandy beach in West Kelowna on Okanagan Lake.
The group of friends expanded annually until last year, when there were 10 families with 15 children under the age of eight.
“The appeal to Boucherie Beach is that you can see everything. The cabins are all in a horseshoe with a big green space in the middle, on the lake,” says Vanessa.
“It’s a bit of a gem for Kelowna. Most places are condos without much space for the kids to run around.”
The families lived like a village, with all the parents watching out for one another’s children, who all played together.
The families even shared evening meal preparation so that each family only had to spend time cooking dinner once or twice during their vacation.
“We felt safe there, just letting the kids run around,” says Vanessa.
“You don’t realize just how much kids need to run around, just run and be free, instead of having to wait for mommy, wait for the elevator, or to wait for an adult to go into the pool. It was great to have that freedom for the kids that we all probably had when we were kids growing up.”
When the Fleishmans learned the resort was going to be sold to be redeveloped into privately-owned cottages as part of a project with a similar philosophy to the older homes, the Fleishmans were practically first in line to buy a cottage.
“That’s what we wanted,” says Vanessa.
“We needed somewhere that wasn’t a condo-type place where we’re dealing with balconies. We wanted a place where the kids could just open the doors and be outside — and we could see the lake and see the pool.”
The dreams and memories created during 50 years of the family-run resort are what Rob Chetney, developer/partner of Trasolini Chetner Construction and Development, wishes to preserve as he redevelops the land. Chetney, who grew up in Calgary, began going to Boucherie Beach in 1977 with family friends.
“I fell in love with the place and never stopped coming since then,” he says.
“It’s just a magical place. There’s freedom of running around and being safe on this
Ryan and Vanessa Fleishman. AGES: 40 and 39. BACKGROUND: Ryan is a commercial real estate developer and Vanessa is a former pharmaceutical representative. They have two daughters, Ava, 7, and Isabel, 5. The couple wanted to buy a familyfriendly recreation property on the water that their children could grow up in, putting down roots and family memories. They purchased a cottage at Boucherie Beach in West Kelowna, B.C. big huge grassy area with a lake, a beach, a boat and a dock, and a fire at night on the beach. It had everything ideal for summer.”
The place really worked its way into Chetney’s imagination. As his career took him into development, the opportunity to do something with Boucherie Beach eventually became a reality.
“We hope to start building late spring or early summer this year,” he says. The developers are taking pre-sale reservations and will start finalizing sales next month.
The 35 privately-owned cottages will range from 1,127 to 1,900 square feet. They have three to four bedrooms, twoand-a-half baths and an openconcept main floor.
Big doors will open onto covered patios, which will each be about 10 feet by 20 feet.
“We’re picking materials on the insides, and the outsides, that are easy to maintain,” says Chetney.
“You have a lot of traffic walking in and out, with grass and maybe sand still on your feet.”
Starting at $499,000, the average price for the new cottages will be in the high $500,000s and low $600,000s. They will be much more modern and spacious than the old 22 buildings currently on the site.
The four new cottages closest to the water are a bit larger than the others.
Two of these have main-floor master bedrooms. The other two have a smaller footprint, but have three levels — unlike the rest, which have two storeys.
These premium cottages will be priced in the low to mid$900,000s.
“We designed (the threestorey cabins) to look a bit like a lighthouse,” says Chetney. “They have a big deck on the roof and they will be quite special.”
Owners will be able to put their cottages in a rental program if they wish and they can also live in the resort year-round.
The Fleishmans are buying a three-bedroom home of about 1,200 square feet that’s in the $625,000 range.
The new Boucherie Beach will feature 350 feet of sandy, low-bank beachfront on a fairly private and protected bay.
The cottages will be laid out in a family-friendly U shape around the grassy courtyard. A centrepiece of the courtyard will be a sunken playground.
There will also be an outdoor heated pool and hot tub.
At the lake, a private dock will hold boat lifts and slips, which can be purchased separately, as well as an anchored floating lake raft. The beach’s fire pit will no doubt be a big draw for residents.
“That’s always a big hit, even today,” says Chetney. “Watching the moon rise over the mountains across the lake is a really unique thing to see.”
Chetney also plans to one day toast the redevelopment of Boucherie Beach with a glass of wine from organic grapes that will be re-established at the land at the entrance to the property, which he remembers driving through every year until one year they were gone following the adoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“Farmers in the Okanagan were paid big, big dollars to take out their crops — their orchards and their vineyards — because this treaty was trying to promote importing fruit from the States. The fields have sat dormant since,” he says.
Keeping the development on the basic footprint of the original resort, Chetney saw an opportunity to bring back the vines.
“We’ve got an agreement with a local organic winery, Kalala Organic Estate Winery,” he says. “They are going to be planting and growing organic grapes as part of their crops for their winery, so it will really bring that beauty of driving down that road past all the grapes back into play.”
As the Fleishmans put down roots of their own at the new Boucherie Beach in the years to come, they look forward to watching their children grow and thrive from the time spent running free.
“The development that the kids had when we were there was amazing,” Vanessa says of the family’s summer trips.
“We would always say that the kids in the back seat that came up (to Boucherie Beach) weren’t the same two kids going home. They learned so much just by being free.
“They learned to swim in a lake, they learned how to do the monkey bars, to water ski and tube, and they learned to ride their bikes there.”
Trasolini Chetner Construction and Development, in partnership with Vermont Property Group. LOCATION: West Kelowna, B.C. on Okanagan Lake. PRICE: Starting at $499,000. The average price is in high $500,000s and low $600,000s. The strata (condo) fees are still being determined. DIRECTIONS: The resort is at 3750 West Bay Rd., West Kelowna, B.C. From Highway 97, turn east on Elk Road, right on Ridge Estates Drive, then left on Boucherie Road. Turn right on West Bay Road. INFORMATION: Visit boucherie beach.com
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Vanessa and Ryan Fleishman with daughters Ava, 7, and Isabel, 5, at their home in Calgary. The family is purchasing a cottage at Boucherie Beach, B.C.
An artist’s rendering of cottages at Boucherie Beach in West Kelowna, B.C., on Okanagan Lake.