Cou­ple walk­ing on Sun­shine

Cal­gar­i­ans buy home on Sun­shine Coast within Wa­ter­mark at Sechelt in B.C.

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - CLAIRE YOUNG

Sun­shine Coast trips full of camp­ing, swim­ming and ex­plor­ing left a deep im­pres­sion on Tad and Bar­bara Dabrowski.

The Calgary cou­ple dis­cov­ered the de­lights of the coastal B.C. main­land area — its deep fjords, is­lands and rugged ter­rain stretch­ing north from Van­cou­ver to­ward Des­o­la­tion Sound.

“We fell in love with the Sun­shine Coast,” says Bar­bara. “We bought a lot in Sechelt and thought we’d build some­thing.”

But time started march­ing on and the cou­ple still hadn’t built their get­away. But while vis­it­ing the area last year, they no­ticed an apart­ment condo de­vel­op­ment was go­ing up a few lots over from their wa­ter­front prop­erty.

“We sold our lot and bought a condo,” says Bar­bara.

Wa­ter­mark at Sechelt is a midrise con­crete condo com­plex with mixed use on the ground level.

There are 104 units in the two build­ings, with six floors in each. The build­ings are an­gled on the site to make best use of the views and sun­light.

A large pub­lic court­yard is set be­tween the two build­ings on top of what is the parkade podium, giv­ing di­rect out­door ac­cess to the units on that level. The build­ings’ floor plates are ter­raced, mim­ick­ing the shape of the steep coastal moun­tains.

“We thought it was an ideal place,” says Bar­bara.

“It’s next to the shop­ping area, the hos­pi­tal, cafes and restau­rant. It’s peace­ful liv­ing.”

The Dabrowskis bought a unit on the fifth floor — a 1,100-square-foot condo with two bed­rooms, two bath­rooms and two bal­conies. It was priced in the $500,000 range and condo fees will be about $200 per month.

“My hus­band is still work­ing full time,” says Bar­bara about Tad — who is an en­gi­neer — “so we’ll use it as a recre­ation place for now.”

They look for­ward to vis­its from their fam­ily, grand­chil­dren and friends. “I like most of all that we’re along the beach,” she says.

Di­rectly in front of Wa­ter­mark at Sechelt is a paved walk­ing path, which has a strip of grassy boule­vard with trees and benches. The flat, walk-on beach stretches out in ei­ther di­rec­tion.

Two-bed­room, twobath­room units in Wa­ter­mark at Sechelt start from $399,900 plus tax. The most ex­pen­sive pent­house unit was priced at $1.19 mil­lion and has sold.

A three-bed­room, three­bath­room-plus-den unit with a 1,889-square-foot floor plan is $949,900.

“Ev­ery­one raves about the front views, but the back units are al­most the best of both,” says Ian Porter, prin­ci­pal de­vel­oper with Pa­cific Spirit Properties.

The back units have views of the moun­tains be­hind Sechelt, but also still pro­vide views to­ward the Strait of Ge­or­gia.

The build­ings are at­trac­tive partly due to the high-qual­ity, cur­tain wall win­dow sys­tem that clads more than half of the build­ings’ ex­te­ri­ors.

It’s also a proven rain­screen sys­tem, pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent re­sis­tance to mois­ture, says Porter.

“This is a wa­ter­front site,” he says.

“In coastal B.C., you’ve got to be built for the wa­ter­front. In the win­ter­time, you get some pretty good storms. It’s beau­ti­ful to stand there and see that, but you don’t want the storm in­side your suite.”

In plan­ning the pro­ject, the de­vel­oper fo­cused on the long-term in­tegrity of the build­ing.

“Car­pet will wear out and get re­placed, and ap­pli­ances will wear out,” says Porter. “But the struc­ture, the win­dows, the foun­da­tion — this thing is built like a brick.”

Wa­ter­mark at Sechelt is one of the few con­crete con­struc­tion projects on the Sun­shine

C MVisit our web­site un­der the head­ing, ‘Rec Properties,’ for more pho­tos and sto­ries. Coast.

“There are a few de­vel­op­ers now start­ing to do mid-rise build­ings — six- to eight-storey build­ings — in con­crete. I think that trend is go­ing to ac­cel­er­ate,” says Porter.

“We’re very in­ter­ested in con­tin­u­ing to be in­volved in that trend. When you look at all the ben­e­fits as far as the liv­abil­ity, the qual­ity and the longevity — there’s a laun­dry list of ben­e­fits — I think we’ll start to see more and more of it.”

Adapt­abil­ity and ac­ces­si­bil­ity are at the fore­front of the pro­ject’s de­sign, which notably of­fers sin­gle-floor liv­ing units.

“We’re look­ing to the fu­ture; we’re not look­ing in the rearview mir­ror,” says Porter.

“Right now, it’s liv­abil­ity, but it also goes into re­sale-abil­ity and long-term value. Right now, there isn’t a lot of value put on adapt­abil­ity or ac­ces­si­bil­ity as far as re­sale.

“But that is go­ing to change — and so fast. In five years, peo­ple are go­ing to look at a new build­ing and ask if it’s ac­ces­si­ble and adapt­able. There is go­ing to be a pre­mium.”

Ac­ces­si­bil­ity has to do with mo­bil­ity and the process of ac­tu­ally get­ting into the build­ing — con­sid­er­a­tions such as el­e­va­tors as well as wider hall­ways and doors, thresh­olds and ramps.

Adapt­abil­ity has to do with the suite within the build­ing, so that it’s ready to be set up to help with mo­bil­ity is­sues.

This in­cludes con­sid­er­a­tions such as hav­ing blocks be­hind walls in bath­rooms so they are strong enough to sup­port the ad­di­tion of grab bars with­out hav­ing to do a ma­jor ren­o­va­tion.

All kitchens are C-shaped to en­sure a con­tin­u­ous sur­face from stove to sink. One bath­room and one bed­room in ev­ery suite can ac­com­mo­date the turn­ing ra­dius of a wheel­chair.

De­spite such con­sid­er­a­tions for health, Porter is clear about the pur­pose of adding in th­ese fea­tures.

“This is not a re­tire­ment build­ing. We built th­ese things in for longevity and for the fu­ture,” he says.

The build­ing, notably, is set on a raft slab foun­da­tion, what Porter says is “the gold stan­dard” for build­ing in earth­quake zones such as coastal B.C.

The raft foun­da­tion sits on the ground with­out sep­a­rate foot­ings, and is strength­ened with a lat­tice of steel-re­in­forced con­crete ribs and beams.

The pav­il­ion is 175-feet across at the nar­row­est point. The pav­il­ion is ac­cessed via an el­e­va­tor or a stair­case be­tween the two build­ings from the town side of the site.

“It opened up a face to put in a green wall,” says Porter, re­fer­ring to a wall with space for ver­ti­cal planters of veg­e­ta­tion.

On the beach­side of the de­vel­op­ment, there is com­mer­cial space for a bistro, with am­ple space for out­door ta­bles and a view­ing podium above.

Within the build­ing, res­i­dents will be able to en­joy a mul­tipur­pose amenity room with a pool ta­ble, bar, games ta­ble and big-screen TV. There will also be a large owner work­shop equipped with ba­sic tools and pri­vate lock­ers to stow projects or tools.

Each unit comes with one or two se­cure un­der­ground park­ing stalls, and the garage of­fers space for bi­cy­cle and scooter park­ing.

Within a stone’s throw from Wa­ter­mark at Sechelt is gro­cery shop­ping, along with a movie theatre, pool and recre­ation cen­tre, pub­lic li­brary, town hall and an arts cen­tre with live theatre.

With a pop­u­la­tion of about 9,000 peo­ple, the com­mu­nity also hosts the re­cently up­graded re­gional hos­pi­tal.

Sechelt has di­rect and reg­u­lar ser­vice via 20-minute float plane flights to Van­cou­ver and reg­u­lar 45-minute BC Fer­ries ser­vice from Lang­dale on the Sechelt penin­sula to Horse­shoe Bay in West Van­cou­ver.

As the Dabrowskis pre­pare to take pos­ses­sion of their condo this sum­mer, they are an­tic­i­pat­ing many happy vis­its to come.

“One of the rea­sons we de­cided to buy was be­cause we had es­tab­lished friend­ships in the area,” says Bar­bara.

“There are lots of ac­tiv­i­ties close by. I like pick­ing berries and mush­rooms, and I can do that in the sum­mers. I can still hike in the sum­mer, as well as walk along the prom­e­nades.” Tad is an en­gi­neer. Bar­bara has re­tired from of­fice work. They have a son and two grand­chil­dren, and have en­joyed spend­ing time al­to­gether ex­plor­ing B.C.’s Sun­shine Coast. They bought a wa­ter­front lot in Sechelt with a mind to build­ing on it, but when they saw the plans for Wa­ter­mark at Sechelt, they sold their lot and are look­ing for­ward to tak­ing pos­ses­sion of their fifth-floor unit late this year.

Wa­ter­mark at Sechelt

Calgary buy­ers Bar­bara and Tad Dabrowski en­joy the view near the con­struc­tion site of the Wa­ter­mark at Sechelt, which is lo­cated north of Van­cou­ver.

Pho­tos, Wa­ter­mark at Sechelt

A huge wall of win­dows cap­tures the ocean views in a unit within Wa­ter­mark at Sechelt in B.C.

An artist’s ren­der­ing of the Sun­shine Coast de­vel­op­ment.

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