Osoyoos Cottages opens brand new $2M community centre/clubhouse

By on July 30, 2014
Osoyoos Cottages on the Lake developer Eric Van Maren (standing in back) welcomes all of the development’s current homeowners to the official opening of the $2-million community centre-clubhouse on Saturday afternoon. Cutting the ribbon to officially open the facility are (from left) Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation board member Sandra Falkus, Jane Stelkia, the woman who sold the huge tract of land to Van Maren several years ago, and Town of Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells. (Keith Lacey photo)

Osoyoos Cottages on the Lake developer Eric Van Maren (standing in back) welcomes all of the development’s current homeowners to the official opening of the $2-million community centre-clubhouse on Saturday afternoon. Cutting the ribbon to officially open the facility are (from left) Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation board member Sandra Falkus, Jane Stelkia, the woman who sold the huge tract of land to Van Maren several years ago, and Town of Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells. (Keith Lacey photo)

Neil and Toni Bousquet were the first people to purchase a new home at the stunning Osoyoos Cottages on the Lake development.

It’s a decision they will never regret.

“To be able to own a nice home in the Okanagan Valley near the water for an affordable price is like a dream come true,” said Toni, who moved into her new home with her husband several months ago after retiring from their jobs in Calgary. “Since we moved here, it was everything we thought it would be and more. We couldn’t be happier.”

The Bousquets were joined by dozens of other happy and proud homeowners as developer Eric Van Maren and his large crew of employees gathered for the official opening of the $2 million community centre this past Saturday afternoon.

Almost 60 of the 284 homes scheduled to be built in the subdivision located at the north end of Osoyoos Lake off Road 22 and Radio Tower Road have now been built, with another 30 to 40 expected to be finished by the end of 2014.

Van Maren promised to open a beautiful community centre/clubhouse during year two of the 10-year development.

He came through on that promise with flying colours as the impressive new facility – complete with community room, gorgeous outdoor pool and hot tub and small gymnasium – officially opened to homeowners who live at Osoyoos Cottage on the Lake on Saturday. More than 40 property owners were joined by Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells, Van Maren, members of the Osoyoos Indian Band council and landowner Jane Stelkia, who sold the land for this huge development to Van Maren and his B.C. land development company more than three years ago.

Toni Bousquet worked as a real estate agent in Calgary for many years and became intrigued about an email back in 2010 that discussed the possibility of developing a large chunk of land on the north end of Osoyoos Lake.

They attended an information session in Edmonton several months later after Van Maren had confirmed the purchase of the property and arranged a meeting to visit the site in the spring of 2011.

“There was nothing there, but wild horses and cows,” she said. “But the view was simply amazing and we knew this place could become something special if developed properly.

“We attended an open house at the Watermark Beach Resort on Good Friday of 2011 and we signed a contract later that day. We knew when we retired that this is where we wanted to be. We bought the lot we thought had the best view of the lake and were very proud to be the first owners to sign a deal.”

With more than 40 homeowners now living year-round, there’s “already a great sense of community” and the opening of the community centre only adds to the positive vibrations shared amongst those who have invested in properties, she said.

“This place will be a wonderful addition to our little community,” she said. “Amenities like this will make it easier to promote this development and get more people to buy.”

Van Maren’s reputation as one of B.C.’s most respected developers will only grow with the success of Osoyoos Cottages on the Lake, said Neil.

Van Maren has built numerous large-scale housing projects across B.C. for more than 35 years.

“The biggest thing with Eric is he says he’s going to do something and he does it,” he said. “He promised this centre would be built by year two and here we are today celebrating its opening.

“He’s building something very special here and we’re truly thrilled to be here and calling this home.”

Stelkia said selling the land to Van Maren was a very difficult decision as her family had owned this large tract of land for more than 140 years.

“It’s a very emotional day for me,” said Stelkia, 80. “I raised my four kids on this land and it has been such a big part of my family for so long.

“It was a very tough decision to sell because of that history, but Mr. Van Maren promised he would build something very nice and special and he has.”

Wells said the development of Osoyoos Cottages on the Lake has provided a solid economic boost to the towns of Osoyoos and Oliver and the economic benefits will continue to be felt for many years to come as more homes get built and sold.

Many pundits questioned Van Maren’s sanity when he announced his concept for this development during the height of the worst recession in decades in 2008, said Wells.

With 60 homes now built and the community centre now open, it’s obvious all naysayers were wrong and Osoyoos Cottages on the Lake is a resounding success, he said.

“This place is wonderful and a very welcome addition to our community and we certainly look forward to everyone here being part of our community in Osoyoos for many years to come,” he said.

Van Maren said his crew of supervisor Rob Jablonski, assistant supervisor Steve Sara and project manager Blair Neels deserve most of the credit for bringing the development from four model homes to its current state in less than two years.

“We have amazing leaders and a dedicated crew of 25 to 30 who have made this all possible,” he said.

The opening of the community centre/clubhouse is important because amenities like this attract buyers and there are still more than 200 homes to be built and sold over the next eight to 10 years, he said.

More than 75 per cent of current owners have opted to live year-round in their homes, which surprised him a little bit, said Van Maren.

“Many purchased thinking this would be a vacation home or second home, but they come here and they don’t want to leave,” he said. “Most of our buyers are Baby Boomers and they can be very demanding, but they’re also appreciative when you do a good job and I can honestly say we haven’t received a single complaint so far.

“We promised them something special and we’ve delivered and will continue to deliver.”

With the real estate market in Osoyoos, Oliver and across the South Okanagan improving with each passing month, Van Maren is confident dozens of homes will be sold before the end of 2014.

“People don’t have to visualize what it’s going to look like … they can come here and see for themselves and when they do, many get really excited and start making plans,” he said. “We couldn’t be happier to see where we are now compared to where we were a year ago.”

For more information, visit www.osoyooscottages.com.

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

 

 

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