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Sorensen reveals reasons for offering options on Nelson Landing

Proposal option B, the "do nothing" option.
By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

When Dave Sorensen walks down Baker Street he wants to feel at home.

He wants people to see him as a contributing member of the community, even though he doesn’t live there, because he brought a welcomed development to Nelson.

That’s why Sorensen — the principal of Sorensen Fine Homes and the developer of Nelson Landing on the city’s east end waterfront — has handed over decision for the most contentious aspect of his development to the people.

On Monday afternoon he revealed, through emissary Peter Ward, he would offer City council the option to choose how his development affected the Red Sands Beach area — a popular clothing optional water playground — including the prospect of doing nothing in the area.

Ward delivered Sorensen’s message (he was deterred by weather in Grand Forks and could not attend) to council in front of a packed council chambers Monday at 3:30 p.m., and the original two proposals had grown to three.

On Wednesday from his home on Bowen Island Sorensen said he heard the community “loud and clear” through several public meetings on the Red Sands Beach area, and thought handing over three options to the City would “take the sting out of this completely.

“More importantly, I want to be able to walk down Baker Street or anywhere else and have people say to me, ‘Look, you just did a good job. Thank you.’ And that’s all I care about,” he said.

“We just want to do a good job and we want to make sure that council and the mayor and the community are satisfied with what we are doing.”

So he had his designers remove the housing units from the design right beside the beach. They put four units back in one of the options only because the neighbours had said they wanted a “presence” there.

“But I couldn’t make that decision (on which option),” he said. “So I am essentially asking council to make that decision for me and for the community.”

Ward said Sorensen was even willing to reconsider the idea of pre-fabricating the buildings off site in the Lower Mainland and instead building them right on site in Nelson, if it proved to be too contentious of an issue.

In each of the three options the City would be given some land for a park in the Red Sands Beach area — something which council is leaning towards, Mayor John Dooley told The Nelson Daily after the meeting.

Now the project goes back underground and Sorensen continues to work with senior City planner Dave Wahn starting this Friday with processing the information on the three proposals for City council.

The development and the three proposals are up for first and second reading on the bylaw to rezone the land. During this time, mayor and council will be looking for Wahn’s recommendation on which proposal to go with on the land.

One proposal would put four houses with a strip of land between them and Red Sands Beach and the other does not include the four houses. The third proposal has four single-family lots on a strip of land near the beach.

The overall Nelson Landing project is a proposed 190- to 205-unit housing development — containing a boutique hotel (30 to 40 units) and 26 commercial units on a 12.5-acre parcel of land.

There would also be a public day-use dock (with no refueling capability) included in the scope of the project, as well as public amenities such as a public waterfront walkway and public access to Red Sands Beach.

However, an eight-space parking lot is proposed near Red Sands Beach.