|ACTOR PRIESTLEY GIVES UP RACING, TAKES ON LUXURY UNCLUELET RESORT||
|Jason Priestley has been an actor, a director, and
a race car driver.
Now he's a budding eco-tourism mogul.
Priestley and his family have taken over 15 of the 25 strata-title units at the ill-fated Roots Lodge at Ucluelet, and are relaunching it as the Terrace Beach Resort. The 34-year-old Priestley was one of the original investors in the Roots Lodge, which is in an idyllic natural location on the west coast of Vancouver Island near Long Beach.
The lodge was launched amid great fanfare in 1999 but soon foundered, resulting in a slew of foreclosures and lawsuits against the project's developer, Mark Consiglio.Rather than walk away and risk losing his investment, Priestley bought up several of the lodge's high-end beach cabins, condos and lofts and packaged them into a new resort. Priestley and his family have about $2 million invested in the new resort, which is being run by Jason's dad, Lorne.
"I love Ucluelet, it's beautiful up there," said Priestley from Victoria, where he's filming a movie.
"I decided to get more involved, and invest more money and try and turn that property into the first-class resort that it should be, instead of the circus it's been up until now."
There won't be any theme rooms named after characters on Beverly Hills, 90210.
However, the resort does offer state-of-the-art luxury.
The beach cabins, which rent for $279 per day in the off-season and $349 in the summer, feature multiple levels, queen size beds, TVs, DVDs, CDs, jacuzzis or soaker tubs, electric fireplaces, kitchenettes and propane barbeques.
They can be viewed on the Internet at www.terracebeachresort.ca.
"The waterfront cabins we have, you'll find those nowhere else," said Priestley, who was born in Vancouver and grew up in Ladner and North Vancouver.
"They're just beautiful little cabins, right there on the ocean.
"The location [of the resort] is perfect. It's right on a park, and the little harbour it's on, the bay is beautiful."
Priestley is incredibly busy these days, which he says is "just the way I like it."
He's currently in Victoria filming a TV movie for ABC, I Want To Marry Ryan Banks (he's Ryan Banks).
Last week, he was in Calgary filming a TV movie for CTV called Chicks With Sticks (a "girl hockey" movie where he plays a female hockey player's "boyfriend guy").
He just finished filming another movie in Victoria for MuchMusic, which is tentatively dubbed the MuchMusic Movie.
The big news, though, is that he has decided to give up auto racing.
Priestley suffered some horrific injuries in August 2002 when his race car crashed at 290 kilometres an hour at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky.
He broke his nose, back and bones in both his feet in the crash, and suffered a concussion.
However, he had been talking about going to back to racing as recently as last month.
"It wasn't my accident that really made me give it up," Priestley said.
"[Racer] Tony Renna was a really close friend of mine, and he just passed away a couple of weeks ago [in a crash at the Indianapolis Speedway].
"You know, I've buried two of my friends in four years [Renna and Greg Moore], and I don't want to join that club."
Priestley's father was surprised but delighted that his son has decided to give up racing.
"That's the first time he's given that clear an answer," Lorne Priestley said.
"He's waffled with everybody else."
Lorne Priestley said the family had been adamantly opposed to Jason racing after the accident.
"I told him if he wanted to race again he'd have to do it over my dead body," he said.