Interested people mill about in anticipation of touring the Mariner's Village development at their open house on March 10.

Mariner’s Village donates to cancer research

Developers of Sooke's 370 unit residential and commercial project open their wallets.

The developers of Mariner’s Village donated $120,000 to the BC Cancer Foundation of Vancouver Island on March 10 at the complex’s open house.

“ I had a close, close friend pass away from cancer in the last year,” said Mike Barrie, former NHL player and partner and developer of the waterfront property.

Barrie said he was compelled to make a difference after the loss of a friend, and educational tour at the Vancouver Island BC Cancer Foundation.

“When I went and saw what they were doing I said, ‘How can I help and how can I be involved.’”

The donation was from a portion of sales of 370 housing units at Mariner’s Village. But the goodwill does not stop there. Barrie said more monetary support may come with continued success of his housing development.

“With our success, there’s no question of us doing more, without committing beyond our means. It’s close to our heart.”

The donation will be used to fund cancer research strictly on Vancouver Island.

According to Dr. Brad Nelson, director of research laboratories, the money will be put towards funding new projects to generate more knowledge on the disease.

“Funds like this allow us to start new projects, new ideas, hire say a post-doctorate fellow to come to the lab and start something entirely new,” Nelson said.

He said a post-doctorate fellow would lay the ground work for research that could be supplemented by external grants. Nelson said the initial donation could be leveraged for up to 10 times the amount.

Laura Walsh, of the BC Cancer Foundation, said the contribution was one of a kind.

“In my 10 years on the Island, this is truly exciting. There’s never been a new developer who has stepped forward the way Mike has.”

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, District of Sooke councillor and acting mayor Kerrie Reay, commended Barrie and his associates for conducting business locally, adding the development has heralded a better reputation for Sooke.

“This development shows that Sooke is a competent and viable place to do business,” Reay said.

The condo and town home development was constructed using mainly local materials and labour — employing 140 workers. According to Barrie, all the wood used was from trees in Sooke that were milled locally.

Two weeks ago council approved phase two of the development called Merchant’s Landing, which will supply roughly 270 construction positions, and an additional 350-500 jobs when completed.