Golden Beach Resort looks to area's historical roots
RICE LAKE, ON—Golden Beach Resort is a 405-acre property with a mile of waterfront on the south shore of Rice Lake near Peterborough, ON, which celebrates its 60th birthday this year. Right now, there are 57 cottages, 320 seasonal trailers, 350 docks and two harbours, a golf driving range and 16 miles of trails.
But while many sixty-year-olds are looking towards retirement, Golden Beach Resort will celebrate six decades with an aggressive expansion program that takes its design from the area’s historical roots. Rice Lake’s shallow, reedy waters have long been known as productive fishing grounds. Settlers in the area built picturesque towns incorporating stone construction with peaked roofs, and small, white churches with towering steeples. And prior to that, the natives harvested wild rice on the lake. All of these elements will be part of the plan for the expanded resort.
While Golden Beach resort has a loyal four-to-five generation clientele, the needs and aspirations of the public are changing, says Max LeMarchant, project development manager for the resort.
“People used to have housekeeping cottages, where they would bring their own bedding and food. All that has changed in the last few years. They’re looking at shorter stays, higher-quality amenities, other entertainment and a bigger variety of restaurants and activities.”
Owners and sisters Kelly Kerozore and Olga Chernuk, whose parents founded the resort, have envisioned a resort with a conference centre, and additional pools and harbours. A few years ago they hired LeMarchant and a consulting team that included Sean Kelly of Stempski Kelly, who specializes in resort design and whose clients include Intrawest.
Their idea was to create a year-round full-service mixed-use resort. Current plans call for a hotel, a large pond, a Village Centre area, and an aquatic centre. Later plans call for another conference centre facility, and possibly a golf course.
The hotel will be situated on a rise of land. Adding a hotel makes sense because it will be supportive of the rest of the development. Development will start with the opening of a sales pavilion for pre-sales this summer.
“We are currently working hard on all the business structuring and relationships required to carry the Golden Beach Resort retrofit and expansion forward,” says LeMarchant.
The hotel will be built in three phases, with a main building being built first and two wings during subsequent phases using a condo-hotel business model.
It will be a branded hotel, says LeMarchant.
As a next step he talks about “animating” the resort so that it becomes a much-loved destination for generations to come. The animation will include a Main Street with food, restaurant, specialty/gift stores and sporting good stores. It will offer a variety of dining options from fast food to sit-down.
The Village will consist of 265 units arranged in neighbourhoods reflecting the character of the area. There are 17 existing year-round resort homes. There will be upper-end cottages designed for fractional home ownership with one-quarter or one-tenth ownership. There will be multi-family townhouse condos offered on a timeshare basis as well. The resort will centrally manage Timeshares, possibly as part of a resort management rental pool. Homes will feature historic architecture incorporating styles popular in the Rice Lake area. Central to the Village will be a chapel —which will be ideal for weddings.
All 320 sites in the existing trailer part are full—it’s a very popular option and people treat their trailers like a summer cottage. As people move out or look to replace older trailers, Golden Beach Resort will offer little Victorian cottages on wheels, which are “betterdesigned, more innovative and more architecturally pleasing” than some of the existing units, says LeMarchant.
The trailers offer the chance to have a cottage right on the water that is still affordable, he adds. Costs of trailers are $3,000 to 5,000 for the summer season—“what taxes would cost on a waterfront lot”. The price of $100,000 to buy one of the cottage-model trailers is at the higher end of the current prices of other park-model trailers, which are in the $70,000 to $100,000 range. The residents will own their trailer and lease the land.
Further down the road is development of Golden Beach Resort as an allseason destination with a snow-tubing hill, ice-skating, sleigh riding and crosscountry skiing.