Every community, big or small, has its big dream, whether it’s a commercial centre, a recreational hub, a new means of transport, or a big school.
Sooke’s dream was Mariner’s Village, a multi-million-dollar mixed-use waterfront development with townhouses, condos, office buildings, even a new library, making it the town’s biggest construction project to date.
That dream faded however, following delays and stagnating in its first stage of construction, its developer, Condor Properties Ltd., announced Dec. 2 it is going into receivership, with debt in excess of $20 million.
Bowra Group, a Vancouver-based company specializing in debt reduction, bankruptcy and financial advice was appointed by the B.C. Supreme Court to handle the receivership.
“They [Mariner’s Village] were struggling for some time, and without money to spend on marketing, they couldn’t really get the word out,” said Chris Bowra, BG’s vice-president, adding the company had been trying to get re-financing for some time.
Bowra will also look at the vacant land that sits there, including the marina, all of which are subject to the receivership. The marina has a lease with the province however, meaning it would be able to sell the company’s interests in that lease agreement.
This is to re-market the units which includes fixing them up, and making them “as marketable as possible,” according Bowra.
In total, there are 25 units, eight townhouse units and 17 condominium units, 13 of which are rentals.
All 13 renters now face eviction from the property by the end of February. The only option to stay is to buy the property, but many of the renters don’t have any other choice but to leave.
Gerald and Lois Meyer, an elderly couple from Medicine Hat, moved into Mariner’s Village a year and a half ago, feeling giddy of their new home.
Now they face an impasse, as they don’t want to leave town, but can’t find another fitting place either.
“It’s difficult, because there’s nothing in Sooke that would suit us. I’m 79, my wife’s 77 ... if we’re living in an apartment building, we’ll need an elevator,” Meyer said.
The Meyers pay $1,350 per month on rent for their two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite.
Despite the unfortunate outcome, Meyer feels not much can be done for themselves and the other renters, other than pick up and go.
Michael Barrie, CEO of Condor, Mariner’s Village’s developer, was not available for comment.