“Do nothing” it is.
Nelson city council gave preliminary approval to the rezoning and Official Community Plan amendments for Nelson Landing, but chose not to let the developer build on the land surrounding Red Sands Beach.
David Sorensen, the man behind the 193-unit waterfront development, had asked council to choose one of three options for the land surrounding the beach.
While two of the options would allow him to build four triplexes or four single family homes near Red Sands, the option council settled on turns both the beach and its surrounding forest over to the city for a public park. Only a composting toilet and eight parking stalls will be added to the site.
A representative for Sorensen previously told council the developer had heard from members of the public who want the beach preserved in its natural state, but had also heard from community members who wanted some sort of permanent presence in the area to deter vandalism and littering.
But a founding member of Nelson’s Save Red Sands Beach group says he doesn’t think building near the beach was ever an option.
“I think it was the right choice they made,” says Herb Couch. “Obviously (options) A and C were not acceptable, so they made the right decision so far.”
However even with council’s decision, Couch says there’s work for Red Sands devotees to do.
“It’s never a deal till it’s a deal and it’s final,” he says.
“I think there’s some issue we would still like to talk to them about. Issues like access and toilets and parking. And there’s a number of issues that will come up in the development plans.”
Though the rezoning process is now underway, Nelson Landing is far from a done deal.
“There’s still information that has to be gathered both from the developer and from other agencies like the Ministry of Environment,” city manager Kevin Cormack told council.
Staff will also work with Sorensen to prepare a development agreement — a legal document spelling out the project in detail.
While the first draft of that agreement doesn’t have to be turned over to the public for comment, council has decided to hold a public meeting once it’s ready. There will also be a public hearing once the final agreement is hammered out.
“There’s a lot of information and a lot of issues to understand,” noted councillor Donna Macdonald.
No dates for the meeting or the hearing have been set.