Monday April 21, 2014

Public to have say on Orchards Walk project

Plan would see increase of 219 units

Large earth movers sit ready to go next to homes in the Orchards Walk subdivision in Valleyview.

A plan to add 219 more housing units to Orchards Walk in Valleyview will go to the public.

City council voted unanimously Tuesday to put the revamped plan to a public hearing.

City community development manager Randy Lambright told council the change still follows KamPlan in terms of density. Transit will be provided to the area and there’s highway access off Grand Boulevard.

The plan was for 675 units to be built in the remaining parts of the subdivision. But proponent Valleyview Lands Ltd. Partnership has asked that the total be upped to 894 units.

The increase is proposed to include 50 assisted living units, a 210-bed seniors-care facility and 64 housing units that might be stand-alone homes, duplexes or multi-family.

Coun. Pat Wallace wondered if there would be a meter on the sewer and whether there would be limits on how much could be discharged from the subdivision.

Lambright said it will indeed be metered and there is a limit of 674,000 litres per day. If that’s exceeded, the City will work with the developer to get the amount reduced.

Orchards Walk was originally proposed on the former Jimeva property in 2005 by a consortium of Toronto investors as an upscale project that included back alleys and geothermal homes with large front porches.

It also included a village centre with a recreation building complete with swimming pool, gymnasium, crafts and cards rooms and library. Commercial space for a café, bank, convenience store and some other offices was also on the books originally.

The plan was to be at full build-out within six or seven years.

Instead, the project stalled and eventually other investors took it over.

But there is still part of the original deal on the books. The City was given nine of the lots to sell to pay for a pedestrian overpass from Orchards Walk to Jimeva Park on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Lambright said the current plan also calls for a temporary bike path extending along Valleyview Drive.

Coun. Donovan Cavers wondered if the City could get a bulk deal on overpass decking if it lumped in the one for Orchards Walk with the Summit Drive/Thompson Rivers University overpass and possibly others.

City capital projects manager Kristen Meersman said each overpass can be different, depending on location and design. But it could be looked at, depending on timing and some other factors.

Mayor Peter Milobar pointed out there is a difference in that the City was given those nine lots to sell to cover the cost of the overpass. That does make the Orchards Walk situation different.

Coun. Ken Christian said an additional 219 units is significant so there is a definite need to hear from the public.

“The last time we really discussed this was almost a decade ago. The demographics have changed and so have the housing needs, so I support the recommendation (to go to public hearing).


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