Bear Mountain is set to enter into a new chapter of its so-far storied history after finding a buyer in B.C.-based Ecoasis Developments LLP.
Vancouver Island-born Dan Matthews’ development company has built communities in Hawaii and Whistler and is a founding member of the Canadian Green Building Council.
It has now purchased Bear Mountain for an undisclosed amount and will be taking over operations, while keeping on all staff already employed at the resort.
Bear Mountain had been on the market since May. It had been in the control of HSBC bank since 2010, after original owner Len Berrie, owing $250 million, was removed as CEO.
Matthews, who lives in the Uplands, has family history in Langford extending back 90 years. His mother was born in Langford, and his grandfather, Frank Wilfert, has a road named after him in Colwood. He said he’s trying to dig up more information on his family’s history in the area.
“It didn’t really resonate or become relevant to me until we started looking at Bear Mountain,” Matthews said. “It wouldn’t be the driver of us purchasing a resort, simply because of roots and location, but it certainly does make it more special and it underpins my resolve to make it a success.”
Matthews said Bear Mountain has everything he looks for in a resort worthy of investment.
“One of our primary drivers for being interested (was) the urban vibrancy of Langford and the natural beauty and amenities that the Highlands offer,” Matthews said. “Without one or the other, to us it’s a lot less interesting.”
Matthews also praised prior owners Bear Mountain Holdings and its CEO Gary Cowan for the work they put into the resort, which has resulted in many awards won by the hotel and golf courses.
Looking forward, Matthews said he plans to consult with all stakeholders, including the residents, golfers, staff, municipalities and the surrounding community at large, over the next three to six months over the direction Bear Mountain should take.
He said he agrees with the prior owners that the current zoning is not sustainable and will be looking at options. As to whether or not he will continue with the previous owner’s plans to remove nine holes of golf from the resort, Matthews said no decisions have been made either way.
“Changes are required, for sure,” Matthews said. “I could never set anything in stone without engaging with the communities, before we move forward.”