Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek speaks to family members of the late Elizabeth Little (former owner of St. Andrews Lodge and community activist) and others at the 80th anniversary celebration of St. Andrews Lodge on Wednesday, Aug. 1. The town will soon take ownership of the waterfront lodge property to turn it into a public park. — Adam Kveton Photo

Family, Town of Qualicum Beach celebrate St. Andrews’ 80th

Mayor wants to take it slow in making changes to site

The 80th anniversary of a historic site for the Town of Qualicum Beach was celebrated by councillors, town staff and the relatives of the former owner on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

The doors to the St. Andrews Lodge opened Aug. 1, 1938 by Simon, Dora, Robert and Elizabeth Little, but the waterfront site will soon be re-incarnated as a public park.

Elizabeth Little, a celebrated citizen of Qualicum Beach who was named the town’s citizen of the year in 1983 and the town’s first Freeman (the highest honour a town can bestow) in 1998, passed away in 2011 at the age of 87.

RELATED: Elizabeth Little was a Qualicum Beach Freeman

A deal between the town and Little’s estate was announced in July of this year for the town to purchase the St. Andrews Lodge property for $3.4 million with the plan of turning it into a public park.

RELATED: St. Andrews Lodge waterfront to become town park

“This is Qualicum Beach’s Stanley Park,” said Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer, who was in attendance at the 80th anniversary celebration along with the rest of Qualicum Beach council, and five generations of Little’s family who came from California for the event.

“It’s very hard… to let it go,” said Sandie Klein, Little’s niece, who was also celebrating her birthday that day.

It was Klein’s father and grandfather who built the lodge and cottages on the site, where Klein and her family has many memories of visiting her aunt and playing on the grounds.

“She was an amazing woman,” said Klein, a sentiment echoed by many of the councillors in attendance.

“She just dedicated herself to the betterment of the community,” said Coun. Anne Skipsey, whose parents knew and worked with Little on various town projects.

The Qualicum Beach Historical Society was launched through Little’s desire to preserve the town’s history, said Skipsey. Little also worked to keep the lodge’s rates down so that families could afford to keep coming back. Little wouldn’t even shop outside of Qualicum Beach if she could help it, said Skipsey. “She was so proud of this town.”

Of the town, and of the St. Andrews Lodge area specifically, “She (Little) would say, ‘Where else would I go? There’s no place more beautiful than this,’” said Klein.

As for the plans to turn the land into a park, Klein said, “She would have loved it.”

The park idea first came about decades earlier, said Skipsey, with Little speaking with Skipsey’s father and then-mayor of Qualicum Beach, Art Skipsey, about what would happen to her property when she passed away.

Skipsey said, though a proposal for Little to donate the land to the town was raised, an agreement could not be reached.

Nonetheless, Skipsey said her father is proud that the land will now become a park.

When it comes to changes the town has planned for the site, Mayor Teunis Westbroek said, “Let’s take it easy.”

He noted that the public has not had a chance to take a look at the waterfront property, and suggested public picnics may be organized to help introduce the community to the land.

Westbroek said that generally, there is a desire to maintain the lodge building, but that the cottages would have to be assessed. Going forward, he said, the town will look to respect the wishes of those who knew Little, as well as consult with the public and look to make the most use of the land for the community.

The property transfer is expected to be complete in early September.

Send story tips: adam.kveton@pqbnews.com

Just Posted

‘Every day is a new feeling’: Jackie Bates adjusts to her new life, and new lungs

Ladysmith woman’s life has changed for the better since receiving a double lung transplant on July 15

How the pandemic ushered in a marketing evolution at a B.C. aquaculture firm

For Grieg Seafood BC it meant pivoting fish to parallel markets without halting production

Kayaking the Johnstone Strait

An unpredictable delight for local travelers

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports fishing vessel personnel made the find on Saturday, Sept. 19

Patrick brothers pioneered hockey and tried, but failed, to remove violence

New history thesis shows their efforts to sell a “clean game” in Oak Bay

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Water supplies declared safe in wake of major tire fire near Ladysmith

Concerns about water quality arose after Sept. 10 scrap yard fire at Schnitzer near Nanaimo Airport

Hundreds march against location of Duncan safe injection site

A Voice for Our Children opposes centre being near schools, recreation sites

Suspect robs store, stabs clerk in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for suspect in Ryan Road incident

Metchosin inmate sentenced to 12 months in jail for escaping custody

Sentence to be served concurrent to a life sentence he was already serving

Most Read