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No referendum on Nelson Landing options: Macdonald

Nelson City councilor Donna Macdonald.

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

Although the developer of Nelson Landing has given over choice on the most contentious aspect of an east end waterfront project to the people of Nelson, the people Nelson has voted for will be the ones picking one of the three proposals, says one City councilor.

Coun. Donna Macdonald said there will not be a public referendum on the three proposals laid in the lap of City council by Nelson Landing developer David Sorensen on Monday night in a special meeting.

Although the proposals cover all aspects of the sentiments Sorensen heard at the public meetings he held on the project — do nothing and leave it as is, or some development presence — he left the choice up to council and has said he is prepared to live with the outcome.

But Coun. Macdonald said Thursday the decision on which proposal to select will remain with council. on advisement of senior City planner Dave Wahn, despite a wide vocal segment of the community who have asked for the process of development to be as open and engaging as possible — and that popular, clothing optional Red Sands Beach be left alone.

“I believe there was consensus around the council table that we go for the option that would give the city all of the land (at Red Sands),” she said.

As council goes forward this week and enters into negotiations with Sorensen Fine Homes on creation of a development agreement, there are a number of items that will be discussed, said Coun. Macdonald, like the transfer of the land for a Red Sands Beach park.

Sorensen will be coming back with his rezoning application in February, at which point council would give first and second reading to the bylaw amendment to the Official Community Plan.

Then City staff will then go into negotiations with Sorensen with some direction from council in order to come up with a draft development agreement. All of the conditions in that agreement, and in that development overall — including zoning — will come to a public meeting.

“So then the community can have a look. There’s not just Red Sands, there’s lots of issues there. Council will want to hear if they have addressed priority issues … in our negotiations,” she said.

The bulk of the development has not changed, but three proposals in the Red Sands Beach area have: a) four triplexes near the beach; b) nothing at all; and c) four single-family lots. The second proposal (do nothing) would chop 12 housing units from the total of 205 proposed in option a).

On the surface the proposals do salve a potential raw wound for council and the developer, said Coun. Macdonald, but she wondered what the dropping of the other shoe might bring.

“It’s peculiar (the options), and it does raise the question going forward of is there a price for us? Are we trading off something in order to get that beach area?” she said.

That will be determined in the next few weeks.