Former Qualicum lodge hoping to be the Next Great Save worth $50,000

Former Qualicum lodge hoping to be the Next Great Save worth $50,000
St. Andrews Lodge was saved from demolition in 2020.

A Qualicum Beach historical society has entered a competition to help save a lodge that helped put the town on the map for tourists.

St. Andrews Lodge opened in 1938 and welcomed visitors from around the world bringing attention to the sleepy seaside Town of Qualicum Beach.

“If it wasn’t for this lodge, I mean it became the foundation of the tourism industry so no lodge and you would not really have the community we have here today,” said Jay Smith, president of the St. Andrews Historical & Cultural Society.

Aside from the main building, eight cottages used to ring the 1.2-hectare oceanfront property.

“It was a playground, it was so popular that the first family that came here in 1938 was named Nelson. They came for 44 years straight after that and that’s the type of loyalty it had,” Smith added.

The Town of Qualicum Beach bought the property in 2018 but faced with steep renovation costs it decided to tear down the lodge and turn it into a parking lot.

Protests ensued, and council reversed its decision.

“There were 300 emails written to town council saying don’t do this and that’s a very large number for a small town like this,” said Smith.

But some of the interior had already been ripped apart prior to demolition that was slated for early November 2020.

“This was the main living room and…all the wainscoting that was ripped out when the demolition started,” Smith described during a visit by CHEK News on Sunday.

So now the St. Andrews Lodge Historical and Cultural Society is taking on the task or bringing the lodge back to life and has been chosen by the National Trust of Canada as one of 12 sites that could win $50,000 in the Next Great Save competition.

“You know the $50,000 prize would just take us such a long way to getting the job finished,” said St. Andrews board member Shirley Culpin. “Once we get it restored we want to open it to the community for community use.”

First up they need to replace the oil heating, update the plumbing and make it more accessible.

“The flooring has to be fixed, the bathroom if you go back further is absolutely demolished so that has to be fixed, the kitchen, all the doors were stripped off, and the wainscoting,” Smith said.

Competition includes a lighthouse, a grain elevator, churches, theatres and more.

Voting ends May 6.

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