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Nelson Landing development returns, but with a new concept

Bill Metcalfe
By Bill Metcalfe
March 21st, 2013

Nelson Landing has returned with a new owner and a fresh concept. The housing project plan for the old Kootenay Forest Products site extending to Red Sands Beach has been dormant for a couple of years.

Allard Ockeloen’s company, Storm Mountain Developments, recently acquired the project from Sorenson Fine Homes. At Monday’s city council meeting he outlined his vision and told council that he hopes construction will start this year.

Ockeloen said he has some problems with the Sorenson design that Council considered in 2011. It was inflexible, he said, and “there is a lineation to it that I am concerned about—multiple triplexes all in a row.”

A commitment to access and community

Ockeleon explained that he intends to redesign it, based on his commitment to:

  • A public beach at Red Sands with improved parking and access
  • A public waterfront walkway
  • Improved trails and public gathering places
  • Public access to the pier and waterfront boardwalk
  • A public art gallery
  • Use of local labour and materials

Ockeloen is familiar with Nelson Landing and the site because he was  David Sorenson’s financial manager last time around.

He  wants to change the pier envisioned by Sorenson because it  “blocks public access to the waterfront and I would like to turn this concept inside out and promote gathering places for people. It’s a social element that I am concerned about.”

Okeloen says the pier could include a café and art gallery and could become a social centre not just for Nelson Landing but for its neighbours as well.

Pocket neighbourhoods

Rather than an unbroken line of residences along the lake, Ockeloen explained that he wants to create “pocket neighbourhoods…smaller footprints, larger footprints, everybody looking out onto a green space with pathways to the waterfront and access to the walkways.”

That part of the development is still in the design phase.

No low-cost housing

Asked by Councillor Donna Macdonald if the development includes low-cost housing Ockeloen said the high cost of the environmental remediation of the old sawmill site precludes offering low cost housing at Nelson Landing but that “our preference would be to make donations to affordable housing” elsewhere in the city.

In the short term: five triplexes, and parking at Red Sands

A small portion of the land near the pier will not need rezoning, and Ockeloen intends to subdivide it and begin construction soon on an initial five triplexes. He will then apply to the city to rezone the rest of the property, after first acquiring a small portion of the land near Red Sands that belongs to the Crown.

This year he also intends to begin “building a parking area for Red Sands Beach to create improved access there. We would like to connect the trails from John’s walk out to Red Sands beach and we would create easements in favour of the public for that access.”

Long term issues

At the same time Ockeloen says he will get started on solving some long-term issues including “the railway crossing, the crown ownership elements, and structural certification for the piers.”

Council and public will be involved

Aspects of zoning and variances will come before City Council and Ockeloen says he will also be engaging the public in discussion about the development.

The Nelson Landing presentation to Council this week was for information only. No decisions were asked for or made, although Ockeloen has been working with city staff in preliminary planning.

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