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Nelson Landing touches down on city’s waterfront

Is Nelson ready for its next big real estate development?

The stage is set for the city’s next big real estate development.

There was minimal discussion and all eight resolutions regarding Nelson Landing’s rezoning application in the city’s northeast end passed without opposition Monday night during city council’s regular meeting.

With the unanimous vote of approval, the work of selling, developing and building a waterfront project that could see up to 70 and as many as 265 multi units of housing on the former Kootenay Forest Products site will now begin by the Nelson Landing Development Corporation (NLDC).

The land in question — vacant since KFP closed in 1984 — had been a topic of development at the council table for years in various incarnations, changing ownership several times in the process.

And, with limited development by NLDC already taking place, the current development scenario has been debated — and refined — a multitude of times in council chambers and public meetings in the last two years.

As a result, the lack of debate Monday night on the resolutions was more an outcome of the due diligence of the historic debate, rather than any hint of apathy on part of council, said Coun. Robin Cherbo.

“We’ve gone through this quite thoroughly,” he said. “We’ve had numerous discussions on it and, although I’ve had numerous concerns on it with regards to parking and such, all of it has pretty well been discussed” and answered.

The project was not without its detractors. Concerns of congestion were raised at June 11 public hearing since there is only one road access point to the neighbourhood. A second access point will only be developed after the NLDC sells 70 units.

However, a transportation study undertaken by a transportation consultant on behalf of NLDC identified that the existing access from Fourth Street and Sproat Drive would easily accommodate traffic generated from the first three phases of development (72 units and 4,500 sq. ft. of commercial development).

NLDC also agreed to increase the number of housing units to 70 (from 40) before being able to increase the term of the phased development agreement with the city from 10 years to 20 years. It will also contribute $500 per dwelling to the city’s Affordable Housing fund.

According to a city staff report, the development was in alignment with the city’s Official Community Plan which “called for a mix of smaller lot sizes, adding in multi-unit residential dwellings within the city’s neighbourhoods, and directing higher density, mixed use growth to the downtown and waterfront areas.”

In March 2014 council approved a development variance permit for the first phase of the Nelson Landing development proposal.

That phase consisted of eight units of “stacked” townhomes on .3 acres of land — with adjacent roadway, waterfront retaining wall and bank stabilization work.

In July 2014 the Nelson Landing Development Corporation submitted another application for an amendment to the zoning bylaw and asked for the terms of the phase one permit to extend to the remainder of the land.

The ultimate development concept for the land encompasses 21 acres and includes residential development up to 265 multi-unit, medium density residential units, as well as up to 27,000 sq. ft. of commercial use space, including a public marina, hotel and local retail.

Because the area is a brownfield development, there will be significant remediation — and cost — necessary to accommodate building, in addition to the construction of a waterfront retaining wall and pathway system.

“The longer term is necessary given the scale of development and the time it will take to achieve full build-out,” read a city staff report to council.

In all, eight rezoning applications were passed by city council. One of the amendments consolidated five land use zones on the parcel into one comprehensive development, mixed-use residential and commercial land use zone.

Amenity highlights

• Construction of a public waterfront pathway and four public access paths;

• Retaining wall system and installation of fish habitat structures;

• Dedication of Red Sands Beach area to the city (one hectare of waterfront);

• Overall dedication of 1.5 hectares of park space;

• Contribution of $70,000 community park improvement money to city;

• Contribution of up to $25,000 to a public art fund;

• Contribution of $500 per residential unit to the affordable housing fund;

• Provision of a public marina;

• Provision of a public road after 71st residential unit occupied;

• Remediation of contaminated lands;

• Provision of 20 public parking stalls.

Nelson still CARES

Nelson Cares Society received council’s letter of support in their application for funding to participate in the Point in Time Homeless (PiT) Count.

The federal government is supporting the first homeless count coordinated among communities across Canada in 2016.

Nelson (through the Nelson Committee on Homelessness) is a designated community of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy and has therefore been requested to participate in the Point in Time Homeless Count.