Mariner’s Village in Sooke in receivership; tenants face eviction

Mariner’s Village in Sooke — once touted as a $300-million, mixed-use waterfront development — has gone into receivership, with debts estimated at more than $23 million. As a result, its tenants have been given notice to move out.

Of the total 49 condominiums and townhouses built, 13 are being rented, 24 were purchased and 12 are empty.

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Tenants must be out by the end of February.

The court-appointed receiver is planning to spruce up those units with fresh paint and do any needed repairs to prepare them to go on the market in March.

“We want to be able to market these units to the best of our ability,” Chris Bowra of The Bowra Group Inc. said from Vancouver on Wednesday. “It’s a lot easier to sell a unit that is vacant. You can stage it and so forth.”

Units have not yet been priced, he said.

Renters Gerald and Lois Meyer are disappointed after settling in a water-view condominium a year-and-a-half ago. They love their high-end unit with its heated bathroom floors and remote-controlled blinds, for which they pay $1,350 a month.

“It didn’t come as a surprise,” said Gerald Meyer, 79. “We knew they were financially strapped.”

Having to move is “very upsetting,” said Lois Meyer, 77, who said she spoke with another tenant who feels the same way. “It was going to be our forever home.”

The couple moved from Medicine Hat, Alta., to be close to a son in Sooke and another in Metchosin.

Also coming up for sale is the remaining land and the property’s marina, where about 10 boats are moored, Bowra said.

Mariner’s Village was billed as Sooke’s largest-ever construction project, but it stalled after the first residential phase of its multi-stage plan on 12 acres.

Plans called for 110,000 square feet of commercial space, 30,000 square feet of offices and nearly 400 condos and townhouses.

Sooke, a community of 11,400, had seen it as part of a stimulus plan to encourage development. The receivership will not affect the rollout of the downtown improvement plan, now in its beginning stages, said Teresa Sullivan, Sooke’s chief administrative officer.

Condor Properties Ltd. is Mariner’s Village developer. Its president is Michael Barrie and Rick Quigley is vice-president. Neither could be reached Wednesday.

Barrie, of Langford, is a developer and former professional hockey player. Quigley, of Fort St. John, is the CEO of Petrowest, which operates in northeastern B.C. and northern Alberta. Petrowest serves the oil and gas sector and offers other services such as general contracting, earth-moving and heavy-equipment rentals.

Information is being collected about the debts claimed by creditors, Bowra said. A total of 17 secured creditors and 25 unsecured creditors are listed in court documents filed by Bowra.

Secured creditors are claiming more than $21 million, Bowra said.

A secured creditor holds a claim on an asset.

The largest creditor is Canadian Western Bank, with a $12.2-million mortgage. Two more mortgages, for a total of $9 million, are held by 0891041 B.C. Ltd. and Romspen Investment Corporation. Quigley is a director of the numbered company.

The District of Sooke is owed $442,000 in property taxes.

Amounts owed to 13 of the secured creditors are unknown, documents state.

Secured creditors include Omicron Architecture Engineering Construction Ltd., Slegg Construction Materials Ltd., Shibusa Pond and Landscape Services Ltd., Springridge Properties Ltd., and Matrix Marble and Stone.

Some secured creditors have won judgments in court against Condor.

Barrie and Quigley are listed among secured creditors. Their claim amounts are not listed.

Unsecured creditors are owed $2.19 million, Bowra said. This list include Scansa Construction, Gordon N Gordon Interiors, Shaw Communications and Allied Glass.

A numbered company, with Barrie listed as the director, is claiming $28,131.

A second numbered company claiming $86,800 lists Quigley as one of its directors, Bowra said.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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