Home Business & Economy Infrastructure The Beachlands: rebranding the Colwood oceanfront

The Beachlands: rebranding the Colwood oceanfront

The vision remains the same, but the name has changed: 2,850 homes plus commercial properties & community spaces at the Colwood oceanfront are now The Beachlands.

the beachlands, colwood oceanfront, eats & beats
The Beachlands oceanfront in Colwood during Eats & Beats on July 29, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Saturday July 29, 2023 | COLWOOD, BC [Updated July 30, 2023]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Royal Beach has been renamed as The Beachlands. Kind of has a ring to it like ‘badlands’, but it won’t be that at all.

Formerly called Royal Beach, the premiere destination community development at the Colwood oceanfront has been percolating along for a few years, going through design and zoning changes.

After the federal government announced $6 million (by now cabinet minister Terry Beech) in oceanfront trail funding back on April 17 for a walkway to connect the Esquimalt Lagoon oceanfront area with Royal Bay further south, the plan changed again.

hillside, beachlands, colwood, eats & beats
Big turnout on a sunny windy Saturday for the annual Eats & Beats on July 29, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Copyright Island Social Trends]

Located at the foot of Latoria Boulevard, below Metchosin Road toward the ocean (across from the well-developed Royal Bay neighbourhood), the oceanfront currently has a grassy park area, children’s play area, and access to the beach.

The future development on the sloped landscape will be a combination of residential and commercial plus cultural and community gathering spaces, though no specific community food-growing garden space infrastructure is yet part of the plan.

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The rebrand comes as onsite work begins on The Beachlands and the development partners prioritize and fulfill regional community benefits. Construction is starting to get underway now that approvals and applications have moved ahead.

Announcement from the stage:

This announcement was made under the hot sun today, with a whipping wind taking away both heat and voices. But the live band was loud and had a catchy beat.

On stage to make the announcement were three speakers: Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi, Georgia Desjardins of Seacliff Properties, and Jon Stovell of Reliance Properties. Also attending from the City of Colwood were Councillors Dean Jantzen, Kim Jordison and David Grove.

colwood mayor, doug kobayashi, dean jantzen, david grove, seacliff, reliance, kim jordison
Announcing the rebranding of Royal Beach as now The Beachlands, on July 29, 2023 during the City of Colwood’s Eats & Beats (from left): Colwood Councillor Dean Jantzen, Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi, Jon Stovell of Reliance Properties, Georgia Desjardins of Seacliff Properties, Colwood Councillor Kim Jordison, and Colwood Councillor David Grove. [Mary P Brooke / Copyright Island Social Trends]

The new-identity announcement was barely a 10-minute on-stage interjection amidst the fun, food and music for the thousands of people who came for the annual Eats & Beats Beach Party event that Colwood puts on every summer.

Local and regional news media attended today’s rebranding announcement on this Saturday afternoon, including The Times Colonist, The Goldstream Gazette, Island Social Trends, and TV stations.

royal beach, colwood, family
Family arriving at Royal Beach (momentarily to be rebranded at The Beachlands), July 29, 2023 during Eats & Beats. [Mary P Brooke / Copyright Island Social Trends]

Reliance Properties speech:

“This area is more than a beach… it’s an expansive coastline that will become a coveted destination, setting an extraordinary standard for a seaside community,” said Jon Stovell, President and CEO of Reliance Properties. “With all levels of government investing in the surrounding area, The Beachlands is a name that captures the allure and magic of 134-acres of oceanfront land and a shoreline that stretches for 1.4 kilometres.”

jon stovell, reliance properties, colwood
Jon Stovell, President & CEO of Reliance Properties, announced The Beachlands rebranding at Eats & Beats on the Colwood oceanfront, July 29, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Copyright Island Social Trends]

Stovell was pleased that Eats & Beats could be held at The Beachlands (formerly Royal Beach) this year, hosted by the two developers. He pointed out that $1.2 billion dollars is the investment by the two developers to bring to life the latest master-planned community in the west shore. He pointed out that economic development will happen for Colwood during construction and beyond.

“The new brand will continue to evolve, conveying the vastness of the oceanfront location and all that coastal living has to offer,” said Stovell.

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He pointed out that all levels of government are investing in the surrounding area. That includes the provincial government’s development of a flagship tourist destination in the future Royal BC Museum collections building on the other side of Metchosin Road, and an Island Health facility that will combine long-term care for seniors as well as other forms of extended care plus a child care centre to help support the staff of the new facility.

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Seacliff Properties speech:

“Immersing ourselves and engaging with the communities in which we build is critical to The Beachlands development team, so we prioritized cultural and community programming to create an energy and buzz for the enjoyment of Greater Victoria residents and visitors,” said Georgia Desjardins, Director of Development of Seacliff Properties, a company with five large-scale master-planned communities underway on Vancouver Island.

seacliff properties, georgia desjardins, colwood mayor, council
Georgia Desjardins of Seacliff Properties announcing The Beachlands on July 29, 2023, on stage with Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi (left) and city councillors Dean Jantzen, Kim Jordison, and David Grove. [Mary P Brooke / Copyright Island Social Trends]

“Hosting the city’s Eats & Beats festival is a hint of what’s to come at The Beachlands,” said Desjardins, saying that it’s no small undertaking for the City of Colwood to have pulled together a big event in a new location. In addition to the stage and live music there were food trucks, seating and play areas, information booths, portable washroom facilities, and shuttle busses.

“This incredible property has long been envisioned to become a destination. The vision is for a collection of new neighbourhoods to be built including 2,850 homes and a variety of commercial spaces,” said Desjardins. It’s all centered around an extensive oceanfront and oceanview parks and open space network of 50 acres.

georgia desjardins, seacliff properties, colwood
Georgia Desjardins, Seacliff Properties Director of Development, announced The Beachlands rebranding during Eats & Beats at the Colwood oceanfront, July 29, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Colpyright Island Social Trends]

Desjardins noted the activity “behind the scene for a lot of years now”, which goes as far back as pre-pandemic presentations to the previous City of Colwood council in 2019. A new 12,000 sq ft commercial building will be constructed right at the busy corner of Latoria Boulevard and Metchosin Road.

That’s going to be the new home of The Beachlands discovery centre as well as a new cafe. A second development permit application will be forthcoming in the very near future for a second phase of two multi-family buildings and some townhomes.

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Lineups for ice cream at Eats & Beats, July 29, 2023 in Colwood. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Working closely and engaging with communities in which they build is critical to The Beachlands development team, said Desjardins. “We have prioritized cultural and community programming in order to create an energy buzz in the City of Colwood for residents and visitors alike,” she said.

Colwood Mayor’s speech:

Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi said that the City of Colwood lies within the traditional territories of the Lekwungen Peoples and Songhees and Esquimalt Nations “whose stewardship of these lands continues to this day”.

colwood mayor, doug kobayashi, beach lands
Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi addressed the crowd at Eats & Beats, July 29, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Copyright Island Social Trends]

He thanked Seacliff Properties and Reliance Properties for hosting Eats & Beats as the title sponsors. Some of the other sponsors are Royal Bay Development, Seaspan Victoria Shipyards, Onni Group, Quality Foods and Gillis Plumbing Ltd.

Kobayshi feels that Colwood residents understand that “our waterfront is a cherished treasure that defines our community”.

“We’re excited to work with our partners at Seacliff Properties and Reliance Properties to realize Colwood’s potential as an exceptional cultural destination that offers a west coast experience like no other, with parks, plazas, dining, and shopping all energized by vibrant community events like the Eats & Beats Beach Party that we’re enjoying today,” said Kobayashi. “Welcome to The Beachlands!”

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Homes and commercial spaces:

The Beachlands will be a collection of neighbourhoods which together will present 2,850 homes, plus hundreds of job spaces in commercial buildings and retail spaces.

With this development, Reliance Properties and Seacliff Properties are reportedly contributing more than $1.2 billion to the economy of the City of Colwood.

The two developers recently submitted subdivision applications for the first two phases, plus a development permit application for a 12,000-square-foot commercial building at Metchosin and Latoria Boulevard which will house a public café and The Beachlands sales centre.

They will soon seek a development permit for two multi-family buildings and townhomes for the second phase.


Park master plan approval:

The City of Colwood also recently approved the master plan for the park. Over 47 acres of The Beachlands will be designed and dedicated as public parks and greenspace, some which is already open to the public temporarily while the permanent park improvements are constructed over the phased development of the site.

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About the developers:

  • Reliance Properties is a family-owned company that has provided sustainable and creative housing and office solutions for nearly 70 years. In Victoria, the company is known for projects like The Janion and Northern Junk, and its upcoming master-planned community, the Capital Iron lands. Reliance Properties is a multi-award-winning BC developer with notable projects in Victoria.
  • Seacliff Properties is a privately owned company with more than 30 years’ experience in the acquisition, development, and management of large-scale projects through Western Canada. The company has five large-scale master-planned communities underway on Vancouver Island.

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Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke,

Mary P Brooke is the editor and publisher of Island Social Trends as published daily at islandsocialtrends.ca.

She has been covering politics, business, education and community growth through a socioeconomic lens since 2008 on south Vancouver Island (previously as West Shore Voice News, and before that both Sooke Voice News and MapleLine Magazine).

Ms Brooke followed and wrote extensively about the COVID pandemic during 2020-2022. She has covered Sooke School District 62 (SD62) in-depth since 2014. Mary P Brooke now reports with the BC Legislative Press Gallery.

Among other qualifications, Ms Brooke holds a health sciences B.Sc., a university Certificate in Public Relations, and an industry certificate in digital marketing. In this time of economic and climate crisis, Mary Brooke is presenting to municipalities about Urban Food Resilience and preparing other materials on that topic for use in the community.