Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | October 17, 2010

Island Living Not Just for Retirees

 

It’s the island life for Maria and Ralph Jeck and their two children.

The family of four lives and works in Coquitlam (part of Greater Vancouver), but they come out to play on Vancouver Island any chance they get.

“We totally fell in love with the area; it’d be so nice to spend more time there,” says Maria, who in the past year has brought her family to Qualicum Beach at every available opportunity.

Since discovering the area, they were quick to invest in a second home.

The community they bought in is called Qualicum Landing, a development that puts the traditional identity of a “sleepy retirement community” to bed.

The project opened in the region known as Oceanside three years ago, and families from all over Western Canada are now calling it home, or, in the case of part-timers, home away from home.

“We bought the medium-sized cottage home initially,” explains Maria. “And just last month, we decided that we’d prefer one of the lots on the water. We absolutely love it, and that’s how committed we are to being there.”

The Oceanside area is nature’s playground, offering year-round activities such as kayaking, wildlife watching, hiking, beach scouring, caving, shopping, swimming, fishing, golfing and a dynamic art scene.

Despite its reputation as a retirement community, Oceanside has a lot going for it, says Maria. “It is a much slower pace, but Qualicum is quite a vibrant community; there is too much to do.”

The family owns several vacation homes, but the Jecks’ 10-year-old daughter Monica has fallen in love with this one in particular.

“Out of all of them (vacation homes), this is the one she wants to inherit,” says Maria, adding quality family time is easily cultivated here. Even their teenage son Aaron enjoys family time here, with a friend in tow, of course.

“I look around,” says Maria, “and I see a lot of opportunities here for young families and individuals to enjoy.”

At Qualicum Landing Developments Ltd., project manager James Ferrie says that for the project, which took over a year to plan, the focus was on diversification.

“The biggest thing we strive for is to promote a community environment,” he says.

Qualicum Landing harbours a family-friendly atmosphere, one with ample green space, a community vegetable garden, playground, clubhouse, sports court and, most notable, beach access. “We have houses that families can afford, but they are also well appointed houses,” says Ferrie.

“We are finding a lot of people from Vancouver and Alberta that are buying second homes in this area,” he says.

Ferrie himself purchased a home here, and he and his familyfrequently come out from their Kelowna home.

Although it’s a convenient hop across the Georgia Strait for the Jecks, Maria notes that she has met a young family from Edmonton who also adore the area so much that they’re willing to make the trek for the change in scenery and lifestyle, even if only several times a year.

“Prior to purchasing, they called me up,” she says.

“They had a choice between here and the Okanagan, and they chose this.”

With room for growth, Maria says that she hopes that others will discover the easy-to-love location.

“How lucky can one be?” she asks, adding that her father lived in Edmonton for five years.

“He just couldn’t wait to come back.”

For some, it’s a lifestyle choice; for others, it’s a lifestyle change. No matter the reason for visiting, staying or playing in the Oceanside community, the growing area has something for everyone.

“It’s definitely for the old as well as the young,” says Maria. “I hope it catches on … actually, I can see it catching on.”

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