Mark it down as a victory for public pressure. Red Sands beach and the adjacent forest has been saved.
Credit is deserved on all sides of this small waterfront battle.
Those who lobbied to save public access and the natural setting of the shoreline area are to be congratulated for an effort that was assertive, yet respectful. The developer should be thanked for listening and realizing Nelson people are tenacious when it comes to cherished gathering spots. And the city deserves a little pat for its low key approach to assisting where it felt necessary.
It doesn’t always turn out this way.
You don’t have to look too far back in Nelson’s development history to find a bitter skirmish that to this day remains a mess: Kutenai Landing.
The roots of the central waterfront’s prime piece of real estate goes back many years and numerous battles have been waged in this war.
It has helped create mayors (Dave Elliott) and gave the incumbent mayor (David Aaron) a good scare the last time around. It has landed in court and padded many lawyers’ pockets in the process. It has divided the community and spawned countless letters to the editor. Still, there it sits. A weed patch with so much promise.
Whether it was the right project at the right time or not, it would be impossible to consider the Kutenai Landing public process a success. This community needs something productive on this land, but the furor that surrounded it helped ensure it sits empty.
The failure of Kutenai Landing is why this small Red Sands victory has the potential to be so important.
The residential and commercial development at that end of Nelson’s waterfront is still far from reality and there will likely be other objections along the way. At least for now the developer has shown that when faced with reasonable protest, Sorensen is willing to listen.