Major project planned for Spall

Facelift proposed for Spallumcheen property, between Larkin Cross Road and Head Road

A major facelift has been proposed for an area of Spallumcheen.

The unnamed owner of a property in what is referred to as the north sub-area of the southeast sector – specifically the east side of Highway 97A between Larkin Cross Road and Head Road – has applied for an official community plan designation change.

The owner, represented at the township’s committee of the whole meeting Monday by Keith Funk of New Town Planning in Kelowna, would like see the area changed from a designation of large holdings and residential to a combination of residential, low and medium density multi-family residential, small holdings, commercial, public institutional, parks and open space.

“It’s a conceptual plan at this point,” said Coun. Todd York.

The concept plan, as presented by Regional District of North Okanagan planners Marnie Skobalski and Greg Routley, proposes a variety of residential development for the north sub-area.

That would include low and medium density single-family homes, acreages and multi-family residential such as townhouses and low-rise condos.

The commercial areas could include neighbourhood, highway and tourist commercial.

A potential school site has been identified at the northern section of the property, and parks, trails and natural open space are proposed to provide protection of environmentally sensitive areas.

Green space would also be proposed for active and passive recreation.

“This is an enormous piece of property, a gigantic opportunity for Spallumcheen but also a giant challenge for a new developer,” said Funk. “We’ve come forward with a scheme that takes forward another generation of development planning for Spallumcheen into a more sustainable-style community.”

Skobalski told council (though Coun. Christine Fraser excused herself from the meeting as her family has property in the southeast sector) that the north sub-area is about 508 hectares and comprises 20 parcels including two gravel pits, a few rural residential homes on large properties and three manufactured home parks that, combined, have 74 pads.

“The purely conceptual plan,” said Skobalski, would see approximately 2,500 dwelling units built over time and, at an estimated 2.5 people per household, would house 6,000 people.

Skobalski said planners did have a couple of issues with the plan that must be addressed by the developer.

“Our main concerns are the water supply uncertainty, the sewage treatment and disposal location, the area of the site and service area, aquifer vulnerability and how that can be addressed, and identifying usable public park space,” she said.

York said a lot of work has been done over a long period of time, and stressed the township has not made any commitment at this point that would put Spallumcheen in a position to accept something it doesn’t want.

“We’re still the decision makers for our community,” he said. “With the planning department’s recommendations, we can delve much deeper into the servicing and, hopefully, the developers can come up with a solution.”

Coun. Andrew Casson called the proposal “exciting.”

“Spallumcheen is very blessed to have two major cornerstones already; we’re a farming community and we have our rural lifestyle,” said Casson. “This plan adds special diversification that will have minimal negative impact and hopefully lots of positive impact.

“It  could be a third diversified cornerstone to what we already have.”

Council unanimously agreed to the planning department’s recommendation that the plan be given consideration, and begin preparing an OCP amendment bylaw to change the future land use designation.

However, there are five directives for the bylaw which must be considered and that includes making sure the existing manufactured home parks remain as such in the plan.

The proposed bylaw has yet to have first reading.  If given two readings, a public hearing on the proposed plan would be scheduled.