Jason Van Der Valk

Mariner’s Village opens up waterfront

Plans may expand boardwalk

Mariner’s Village creative director Jason Van Der Valk described the up-and-coming development as a “game changer” for Sooke.

The enormous 110,000 sq. ft. residential and commercial complex is predicted to breathe new life into the town.

“It’s allowing people in Sooke and tourists to come into an area (where) they can enjoy the water, shop here, live here, do whatever they like to do.”

Van Der Valk said it will open up the waterfront, and there are plans to extend the existing boardwalk from Ed Macgregor Park.

“Right now it’s really difficult to have water access, so everybody will be able to enjoy this, not just the people that live here.”

Phase one of the residential suites is nearly complete, and should be ready around the end of November for public viewing, said owner and developer Mike Barrie.

“We’re on schedule, which is excellent, we’ve had guys putting in overtime to do so. We’re 85 per cent sold out on phase three: 12 of 16 townhomes sold, and 25 of 33 condos sold.”

Built from locally-sourced wood, the complex was originally zoned for 460 units but only 350 are being built to preserve green space. The most noticeable thing is the curved balcony decks that every unit has, following a nautical-inspired theme by the architect.

“We want our buildings to blend in, not stand out in the wrong way. (It’s) just that West Coast style.”

People won’t be seeing any business activity quite yet—Barrie said that is still about two years away. But when the commercial side—dubbed Merchant’s Landing— is done, it will feature a bakery, cafe, restaurant, gym, physiotherapy and chiropractor services, pharmacy and boutique shops. There are also current talks to add other amenities as well like a marina-side pub with glass floors so patrons can see through to the water.

There will also be a medical centre built, which Barrie said has been a chief concern with residents from the beginning. He is currently working with the Vancouver Island Health Authority to bring in more physicians who are in high demand.

“There is a five year waiting list to get in to see a doctor. People need this medical (care), we only want to add to what’s needed, not take away from current medical.”

Van Der Valk said the village will also eventually see a customs office, the second on Vancouver Island, that is going to open the doors to tourism into Sooke from places like Washington State.

Andrea Cormie, manager of sales and marketing, said there is one more thing that locals have been really excited about.

“(There will be) a boat to take people to use the markets here from East Sooke,” said Cormie.

“I’ve had people ask about that, people seem really excited.”