Supporters of the protection of Red Sands Beach received welcome news at Wednesday night’s open house on Nelson Landing development: as part of the proposed development the beach will be dedicated to the City of Nelson.
“I wanted to come and congratulate the city and say that we support you for taking ownership of the land and keeping it park land,” said Herb Couch of Save Red Sands Keep it Natural. “I was also excited to see the information today that the parking would be moved out of the Red Sands area. We want to keep the forest as natural as possible.”
The Nelson Landing development is a proposed residential and commercial mix that would be built on the former Kootenay Forest Products site.
“I’d say about 40 per cent of it is developed now as John’s Walk, and this project is proposed for the balance of that land,” said Nelson Mayor John Dooley.
Dooley said the developers, Sorensen Fine Homes, purchased the land two years ago.
One of the benefits of the proposed development is that it would convert what is currently a brownfield into productive land.
“The developer has been excellent to work with,” said Dooley. “He’s made the adjustments necessary to try and accommodate the [Sustainable Downtown and Waterfront Master] Plan, and not only that, he owns the Red Sands Beach property and he’s donating that to the city as an anchor park for the waterfront pathway.”
The Nelson Landing project is still in the planning stages and Dooley said any recommendations that come out of the open house the developer will try to accommodate and then the project will go to a regular public hearing.
Allard Ockenloen, chief financial officer for Sorensen Fine Homes, is hopeful that the first phase of the project — which includes the construction of CPR road crossings at Seventh Street and Sproat Street — will begin in 2012.
The current plan proposes the construction of 169 residential units with approximately 19,531 square feet of commercial space. There is also a proposal to construct a boutique hotel on what is known as the peco deck.
Ockenloen said the project will also include public art contributions and green building initiatives.
“The houses will be to a very high standard with regard to the Energy Rating Guide. We’ll do at least 80. We have to stay open to Nelson’s energy plan, so we’ll have that all in the roads so that when the plan comes in to place the homes will adapt to it,” said Ockenloen.
The developers intend to maintain access to Red Sands Beach throughout the construction of Nelson Landing by building a pathway protected from the construction site.