Couple walking on Sunshine
Calgarians buy home on Sunshine Coast within Watermark at Sechelt in B.C.
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.
Calgary buyers Barbara and Tad Dabrowski enjoy the view near the construction site of the Watermark at Sechelt, which is located north of Vancouver.
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.