The Nelson Landing project will start construction of eight condo units this summer, for occupancy sometime in 2016. It’s the first of many phases that will eventually result in a mixed-use village of 200 condos stretching from the old Nelson Forest Product lands to Red Sands Beach.
There’s been a lot of action on the site in the past two weeks, with trucks and earthmoving equipment building a 15 to 20 foot (4.5 to 6 m) high retaining wall to support the waterfront pathway.
The developer, Storm Mountain Development Corporation, is building the pathway as part of an agreement with the city. Engineering consultant Peter Ward said the retaining wall needs to be in place before the lake’s high water mark in June.
For the past two weeks, the company has blocked public access to the property, citing safety concerns because of the large machinery. Local residents are accustomed to using the path parallel to the CPR tracks for walking dogs and for access to Red Sands Beach, and some were upset about the new temporary fencing and no trespassing signs.
However, on Monday Ward told the Star that as of Wednesday, the company will respond to public feedback by building a new road for its trucks and machinery elsewhere on the property, and not fencing off the path.
City manager Kevin Cormack says the access issue will be dealt with as part of an upcoming rezoning. He said the city will sign a development agreement with Storm Mountain that will stipulate that the company must provide access to Red Sands, but may close it for short periods occasionally if there are construction safety issues.
The land on which the first phase will be built has already been rezoned by the city, but the rest of the property east toward Red Sands Beach will come before council for rezoning in April. That will include a public hearing sometime in the next few months.
But before that agreement is in place, Cormack says, it is private land and the company has a right to restrict access if it wishes.
The path the public uses is on land partly owned by the developer and partly by CP Rail.
Michael Donner, a resident of the neighbourhood, says it would be in city council’s best interest to guarantee adequate access in the intervening period before the waterfront pathway is complete. The pathway will be built in phases, like the development itself.
“If council wants public support for the rezoning, if they want to show the public they are interested in allowing pedestrian access, then it would behoove the city to work with the developer to make an arrangement where there is pedestrian access throughout the next eight years of construction.”
The first phase of homes will feature eight townhouses priced in the $400,000 range and averaging between 1,324 to 1,389 square feet.