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Shannon Orchard development moves closer to realization on North Shore

A local service area has been created for Shannon Orchard at Four Mile, completing another hurdle in the creation of an 88-unit single-family development for the North Shore.

The board of directors of the regional district approved the service area recently, after several neighbourhood regions ratified a referendum on the water service to be created in the area.

Shannon Point, BCBC property (Forestry Centre), Shannon Orchard and Ridgewood Road ratified the referendum, said Area F director (North Shore) Ron Mickel.

“This recognizes that ... it is moving ahead,” he said about the development.

But the issue of water intake has not been resolved and no licence has been received. As well, the topic of sewage is still coming to the regional district board table for discussion, and has to go to referendum at some point.

In July of 2009, a 46-signature petition from the residents of the Ridgewood Road residential area asked the Regional District of Central Kootenay to undertake a servicing study to determine the need and public support for a centralized sewage treatment system, with the capacity to service the area between Nasookin Road and Taylor Drive.

In the petition, the residents asked the RDCK to include the area in the local service area that already includes Shannon Orchard and BCBC property (Forestry Centre).

The petition came from the fact the Ridgewood Road improvement district paid for an engineering report in 2002 only to have the RDCK institute a moratorium on acquiring water and sewage systems.

Area F director Ron Mickel said the residents wanted RDCK to support an engineering feasibility study with a cost estimate of putting the residents in the local service area for sewer and water.

The Shannon Orchard development

Shannon Orchard is expected to offer small lot, private and manageable situations many older West Kootenay folk are seeking, said developer Bob Bennett of Okanagan Real Estate Choice.

The 88-unit single-family development has cleared many zoning and permitting hurdles and work could begin next spring to fill the void, said Bennett.

"There isn't a development like this one anywhere in the greater Nelson area," he said.

"We're filling a void between the large parcel, the five-acre parcel, that becomes unmanageable for older people, and the condominium."

The Kelowna-based group (www.theorec.com) — which includes Olympic snowboard gold medal winner Ross Rebagliati — isn't bringing a touch of the Kelowna market to the Kootenay region, he said.

Instead, the development is built for local seniors and empty-nesters who want smaller, patio homes (1,200 to 1,800 square feet) with smaller yards (45x85 foot lots).

"I feel more comfortable with this one than any development I've ever done in the Kelowna area, simply because the Nelson market does not rely on outside markets like we do (in Kelowna)," he said.

Initially a show home will be built, said Bennett, with five or six plans of variations to show prospective buyers. As the lots sell, Shannon Orchard Ltd. will build the houses according to one of the pre-determined styles.

"We want to maintain quality and continuity. People can have what they want on the insides, but we want the outsides to look similar so you don't get devaluation of other's property," he said.

Because costs have fluctuated in the last year and now are down 25 per cent, Bennett did not know what the hard costs for each unit in the development would be.

Jumping over the hurdles

The Regional District of Central Kootenay had approved the down zoning for the property, originally zoned for town homes, in September of 2008. The board also approved acquisition of Shannon Orchard subdivision's water and sewer services and the creation of a local service area.

The RDCK did not have a lot size to suit the development — the smallest they had was a half acre — so they amended an existing bylaw and down zoned the land for the bare land strata.

Area F director at the time, Al Dawson, had said there was some opposition to the creation of the strata, but getting the developer to pay for the capital costs of the sewage treatment and the water system — and building it to RDCK, health and environment standards — clinched the deal in face of opposition.

The end result

When complete, Shannon Orchard Ltd. will transfer all of the assets to the RDCK for $1 and the two utilities will be operated by the regional district, with the taxation to cover the operation coming from the area that benefits from it.

The project will contain capacity to add water and sewer module upgrades to nearby archaic systems in the areas of Nasookin subdivision, Ridgewood Road and Taylor subdivision, with the ability to implement a water reservoir.

A survey has been completed on the source for the water, Shannon Creek, but the existing water licences on the creek are not enough. Bennett said they've applied for additional "gallonage" per day, something the creek is quite able to handle.

Once it is completed, ownership of the water and sewer system will be turned over as a specified area to the RDCK.

Although initial approval for the development has been given by the Department of Highways, Bennett said there are some areas they still need to negotiate on. Highways has asked the developers to put in a left hand turning lane on the highway and include more land in case Highway 3A's capacity is increased to four lanes.

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