Building award judges like new visitor centre in Comox Valley

THE EYE-CATCHING design of the new Vancouver Island Visitor Centre won favour with judges of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. - Photo submitted
THE EYE-CATCHING design of the new Vancouver Island Visitor Centre won favour with judges of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards.
— image credit: Photo submitted

The Vancouver Island Visitor Centre won the Best Picture Oscar at the fifth annual Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards at a gala awards ceremony last week in Parksville.

The drum-shaped building at the Highway 19 cumberland interchange also captured the Judge's Choice Award for best overall entry and an excellence award in the institutional category.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our community and of the numerous people, from architects to contractors and volunteers, who’ve contributed to the success of the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre project,” said Murray Presley, president of Comox Valley Economic Development. “In particular, the centre’s signature design, with leading edge elements and important sustainable features successfully delivers a unique visitor experience.”
The centre hosts a grand opening celebration April 28.
“In designing the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre, Stantec wanted to create a space that really showcases the Comox Valley and the North Central Island region,” said Noel Best, design architect with Stantec. “Stantec is thrilled to see that it has achieved recognition and we are looking forward to seeing the centre become a key attraction for visitors to Vancouver Island for years to come.”
"Kinetic knows the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre is a unique project and to be recognized by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board is especially exciting,” said Tom Plumb, branch manager of Kinetic Construction's North Island office and contractor for the project. “We worked hard and achieved the Comox Valley’s goals for the project, which is evident in the eye-catching building visitors and residents see today."
The Judge's Award highlighted the event that celebrated 41 nominees in communities north of the Malahat. Courtenay City Hall (institutional renovation) and the Hornby Island Waste Management Centre (industrial) were among other excellence award winners.
The Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Centre (institutional), 2960 Moray Ave. (industrial) and Piercy Creek (multi-family) received awards of merit.
Located at Mount Washington, the Mountain Sports Centre includes a fitness centre, dorm-style accommodation, a kitchen, office space, a massage/physiotherapy room and a meeting/dining room.
Manager Andrew Scherck says the centre has been well-received among user groups such as St. Michael's Academy and the Canadian national snowboard team.
"We've had everything from yoga retreats, every age of school group to military, to all different kinds of groups," Scherck said. ''Based on the fact that there's nothing like it around here, they said it's exactly what the mountain needed."
He notes positive comments about the spacious kitchen, which "lends itself to a lot of things."
There are still a few unfinished rooms at the bottom of the building.
"Our goal I think this summer is to try and figure out what we're going to do to keep expanding what we're offering with the building," Scherck said.

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