June 27, 2012

Comox waterfront properties sitting pretty

Waterfront Comox community turns residents into whale-watchers

Harwood Beach Estates

Project size/scope: Twelve waterfront lots and two acreages in total. Three show homes have been built and five lots are still available. The development is strata-titled.
Prices: Finished homes from $999,000 to $1.149 million, lots are $489,000 for quarter- to half-acre parcels. Strata fees are $190/month.
Builder/Designer: Lyons and Noble Developments Ltd., Qualicum Beach
Developers: Harwood Beach Estates (Graham Harris and Donald Kirkwood)
Location: 1310 Wilkinson Road, Comox
Accessible by: Island Highway. Nearest airport in Comox is minutes away and receives regular flights from Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.
Sales Contact: Scott Fraser, Royal LePage in the Comox Valley: 250-334-3124
Website: http://harwoodbeachestates.com

BY SUSAN DOWN

Minnie Ho and Ken Gillis are looking forward to launching kayaks just a few feet from their front door once their Comox oceanfront home is completed later this year. The couple and their five children — three of whom are still at home — live in Comox, but the appeal of relocating the brood to a level-beach site in the new Harwood Beach Estates development sold them on the idea of moving.

“We want to enjoy the ocean and beautiful mountain view that is always changing,” said Ho, a family physician in Comox. “We can see seals, herons, eagles and other wildlife, including whales. We want to live in a community where our neighbours have similar interests in outdoor living.” Created on 26 acres, the strata-titled community features 12 waterfront lots and two acreages (one still available for sale).

Harwood sales and marketing director Anna DiFiore has spent lots of time looking at real estate on the island, and was amazed at the quality of the project. “I was floored to find level walkout waterfront lots on a huge tract with low density and with a river running through it. You don’t get that ever,” she said. “I’m proud of what’s happened here.” Choosing to live in a smaller community such as Comox means homebuyers don’t have to sacrifice the convenience of downtown living or adding a long commute to live on a choice waterfront location.

“We are always 10 minutes from anywhere,” Ho said. “The kids can be involved with so many activities such as dance, theatre, soccer, hockey, or swimming, and we can get them all to their event on time and still get home to cook dinner.”  For a family that loves the outdoors, living in an environmentally sensitive community is also important. In return for a density bonus from the municipality, the developers gave the regional district 16 acres to create the Little River Nature Park. The developers also donated a $70,000 fish weir to assist with fisheries enhancement programs.

The natural park is a protective habitat for rare plants such as the rein orchid and estuary grasses, as well as a stand of Douglas firs that supports an active bald eagle nest. The stream and two man-made ponds are home to cutthroat trout and other fish. The developers have been careful to maintain proper practices on their own property. Landscapers removed much of the broom in some areas and have seeded wildflowers along the road entrance.

To keep the developed area pristine, the lots are all hooked up to a community Bionest waste water treatment system, exceeding government standards. Lots also receive the usual services such as municipal water and natural gas. The waterfront setting with a fabulous view of the Coast Range peaks on the mainland is just one reason the Comox Valley region is booming. The recreational options are just as breathtaking. Harwood residents are half an hour away from the Mount Washington ski resort, close to five major golf courses and right beside the ocean and boating and fishing options.

The Ho-Gillis family’s new home is designed to meet their needs today and flexible enough to adjust to tomorrow’s demands. The home will have three bedrooms and a bonus room above the garage. A main floor bedroom can easily be converted to a suite – a great space for aging parents when they visit. And for buyers who don’t want to start with a bare lot, three outstanding show homes – Texada, Salish and Nautilus – are brimming with a Cape Cod charm that is a popular version of waterfront heaven. It is easy to imagine the setting becoming a treasured family rendezvous for a generation.

From the outside, all three exude a romantic beach house ambience with shingled siding, timbered details, crisp white trim, and a variety of mullioned windows and gables and dormers. Inside, these three-bedroom homes each boasts a distinct personality. The Nautilus, located next to the Powell River ferry terminal, has a sleek modern look with its polished concrete tile facing the fireplace and dark wood cabinets in the kitchen. The Salish, with its welcoming veranda, opens into a great room with oak engineered floors and a kitchen that can handle the most demanding entertaining. The Texada’s vaulted ceilings, gleaming white kitchen and massive stone fireplace also make a dramatic setting for relaxed gatherings.

Custom or ready-built? Either way, buyers at Harwood can relish the exceptional setting. “Anyone who comes and visits quickly realizes that there is big time living to be done here,” Ho said. “Our home at Harwood only accentuates all that is good about life here in the Comox Valley.”

Special to The Sun

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