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Council approves Lakeshore Drive housing development
Construction of dozens of homes along Lakeshore Drive are expected to begin after Town of Osoyoos council has given its final approval for the controversial housing development on Tuesday.
The development, which will be located on 14.2 acres of marshland across from the Walnut Beach Resort on Lakeshore Drive, has been dramatically scaled down from its original size and scope. Dozens of neighbours and business owners who live on or conduct business near Lakeshore Drive attended two public hearings – one in February and one in March – to voice their concerns about the development.
Most objected to its size and scope saying Lakeshore Drive is already one of the busiest corridors in Osoyoos and building up to 280 new homes, townhouses and tourist accommodation suites would result in traffic chaos.
Many others complained about possible environmental impact to the 14 acres in question and possible impact on adjacent property and Osoyoos Lake.
Alain Cunningham, the town’s director of planning and development, said the concerns of citizens were heeded in preparing his eighth and final report relating to this proposal.
The size and scope of the project has been reduced from between 282-316 units to between 196-208 units and tourist accommodation units from 210-244 to be built in two four-storey towers, to 38-42 units in two two-storey towers.
The developer, Richard Coglon of RLC Strategic Capital Management Corp., must now complete environmental assessment and riparian wetland reports before this project can commence, said Cunningham.
Full construction is not expected to commence until the spring of 2018.
With council voting to amend its Official Community Plan and two zoning bylaws, construction can commence once the developer completes all of his obligations, including an environmental assessment during each phase of construction.
Phases 1 and 2 will involve constructing homes along the lower middle bench for single-family and two-family dwellings, said Cunningham.
Phases 3 and 4 would follow on the low side of the property adjoining Lakeshore Drive, each with a two-storey residential/commercial complex located, respectively, south and north of two large ponds on the property.
Phase 5 would see single-family homes built along the large slope on the southern edge of the property, while the final three phases would be developed along the upper slope and feature a mix of multiple family and resort multiple housing in terraced townhouse formats.
It’s expected to take between 10 to 15 years to complete all phases.
Cunningham said the development approved by council on Tuesday is far superior to the one originally proposed by the developer and does take into consideration the major concerns voiced by local residents.
“I think we have come out with a much better development than what we started with,” he said.
The developer has also agreed to complement the existing geotechnical assessment with detailed assessments during each construction phase; install a sidewalk along the front of their property on the north side of Lakeshore Drive with a crosswalk connection to its southern side near the intersection with 44th Avenue; Commit to joining the Town in discussions with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on the timing, scope and cost sharing for needed improvements to the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Hwy. 3; and undertake a riparian wetland assessment of the two ponds area to recommend how local ecological values can be protected in their use for storm water management.
Coun. Mike Campol praised Cunningham for his tireless work on this development project and he agreed the size and scope is now much more manageable.
Mayor Sue McKortoff also thanked Cunningham for his work on this project and listening to the concerns of residents in reducing the size and scope of the development.