Planning for a high-end wellness retreat and real estate development to be situated at Brew Bay is proceeding, proposing five-star amenities for locals and an international clientele as well.
The proposed development is a joint venture of GOCO Hospitality and Brew Bay Village Development Corp. for a 160-acre property between City of Powell River and Saltery Bay, ranging from oceanfront to forest.
GOCO Hospitality group director of operations Clive McNish said GOCO Hospitality specializes in wellness hospitality.
“It’s something we’ve done for many years,” said McNish. “We see great opportunity for wellness hospitality. It’s what we specialize in.”
In terms of the company’s interest in the Powell River property, McNish said his corporate awareness of the Brew Bay property came through Powell River resident Judi Tyabji. McNish said he met her when he was in California at GOCO’s hot springs property there.
“We had the opportunity to meet when she was there and she spoke about the location and the possibility of a project; we’ve been exploring it since,” said McNish. “It fits the criteria. With wellness, it’s about being in a destination that supports the journey of guests who want to have it. What you have there is an amazing place in terms of nature, the fresh air and all of the things that support that journey.”
McNish said the property in Brew Bay is on two sides of the road, with Highway 101 bisecting the property, creating a beach zone and a wooded zone. The idea is that the real estate community portion of the development would be on the forested side and the wellness retreat would be on the water side. It would feature an eco-centre, providing an adventure centre, a marine centre, and hopefully, an area for art created by local people, paying due respect to first nations of the region, according to McNish.
The wellness centre would have accommodations for the centre’s clientele. McNish said the company is working on the balance; how many rooms and the different types.
“Right now, we are working through our full-feasibility and conceptualization of this,” said McNish.
The feeder markets are diverse, according to McNish. There is the domestic market, within driving range, such as from Vancouver, there is a wider region, which would include the rest of Canada and North America, and then an international region from all over the world.
More than just a spa
McNish said the experience at the wellness centre would be more than just a spa and that a wellness centre is a very immersive experience. There is a spa element but treatments are much more results driven and encompass the best of eastern medicine, western medicine and holistic therapy, supported by a large amount of outdoor activities, according to McNish. He said, for example, the woodland area could be used for meditation or yoga.
“Over the course of the wellness stay, it is programmed, so for the guest coming in, they arrive at one end and say they want to achieve something, and through the process, they do so,” said McNish. “It’s supported by great food and the great natural surroundings that will enhance the offering, and the results of the wellness stay, of course.”
As well as catering to a broad provincial, national and international market, residents of this region would be able to avail themselves of the wellness centre.
“It would work toward local people, not only from an employment perspective, but also from a usage perspective,” said McNish. “If you’re not adding something to the community, you shouldn’t be doing it.”
In terms of real estate development, the design is in the preliminary stages. McNish said there are stipulations from local government, such as lot sizes, that have to be considered.
“The mix and structure is not yet defined but it’s in process to see what works best,” said McNish. “My team is putting the finishing touches on the full concept document, particularly as it relates to the wellness centre.”
Plan requires time
McNish said the project is some distance from going before the qathet Regional District planning committee or regional board. Electoral Area C director Clay Brander was contacted regarding the project but said nothing official has come before the regional board or the planning committee so it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to speak about it.
McNish said GOCO Hospitality does a lot of consulting work worldwide and has undertaken projects for companies such as Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton, and other leading hotels chains.
“We do work for them in the lead-up phase and then they run with the project themselves at the end,” said McNish.
He said the company is currently involved in a number of large projects in Saudi Arabia as a wellness consultant.
GOCO Hospitality owns a property in California and manages others in Europe. They are working on a project similar to Powell River’s in Norway. The intention is for GOCO to manage the Brew Bay project, according to McNish. He said the tableau the area offers, as well as the warmer microclimate, allows for something special to be created.
“We hope things are going to move well there,” said McNish. “It’s an exciting part of the world.”