The Vancouver-based development company that built the Sendero Canyon subdivision high in the hills on the east bench of Penticton is looking to build another large-scale housing project on more than 120 acres on Spiller Road, above the Campbell Mountain Landfill site.
Gordon Cameron, president of Canadian Horizons, said Monday that his company is moving forward with plans to build between 180 to 300 homes and townhouses – as well as a large-scale winery – on land it owns on Spiller Road, which is located just above Reservoir Road and the Campbell Mountain landfill.
Canadian Horizons has less than 30 lots in Sendero Canyon that are still available for construction, so the company is looking to develop the Spiller Lake project to maintain its high profile in Penticton, said Cameron.
“We’ll probably be out of lots (in Sendero Canyon) by some time next year,” said Cameron. “We only have about a year’s inventory left and will soon be out of inventory there, so what we wanted to do was take a look at developing the Spiller Road property going as our focal project in Penticton.”
Sendero Canyon includes more than 230 single-family detached homes and more than 40 townhouses.
The proposed Spiller Road project has “the potential to go to about 300 homes, but that might be a little aggressive,” said Cameron, who has been involved in real estate development in western Canada for more than 30 years.
Canadian Horizons has owned the Spiller Road property for just over a decade and has spent the past five to six years developing a “detailed concept plan for this property and surrounding lands,” he said.
While all details haven’t been finalized, the Spiller Road project calls for a mixture of single-detached family homes of various sizes and townhouses, he said.
“What we’re looking at now is a mix of lots, very similar to Sendero Canyon,” he said. “We’re also looking at a mixture of townhousing, once again very similar to what we did in Sendero Canyon.”
The majority of housing would offer “spectacular views” from the mountains looking down on the Naramata Bench and Okanagan Lake, he said.
Canadian Horizons owns two large parcels of land in this area, including one 34 acres in size along Naramata Road and a large 125-acre site on Spiller Road that encompasses land between that roadway and Naramata Road, he said.
“The 34 acres at the bottom will become a vineyard and winery and it also provides us the access up the mountain to the 125 acres we own,” he said. “We really want to avoid putting it along Spiller Road and past the landfill.”
Penticton’s McElhanny has been hired as the management and planning consultants and they have helped develop almost a dozen concept plans in regards to this project over the past several years, he said.
The biggest challenge with this project is finding a way to build a new road to the housing development site that is affordable, environmentally-friendly and accessible, said Cameron.
There have already been numerous meetings with the City of Penticton’s planning department to discuss options, he said.
“The real challenge is trying to get that road up the hill,” he said. “It’s going to be really difficult. We’ve had many different engineering concepts put forward to try and get the grades to work, the curves to work to try and get this access road built that will be cost effective and meet all the requirements the city is asking for.
“We’re getting there and our consultants are actually meeting with the city this week to discuss our latest compromise plan and we’re really hoping the city will be able to support it.”
Once the access road concerns are addressed and if approved by the city, his company will move forward with its official rezoning application, said Cameron.
The tentative plan is to get all necessary approvals and hopefully have shovels in the ground to begin construction on the first homes by the spring of 2020, he said.
He said, Canadian Horizons has had a "wonderful" relationship with the City of Penticton, city staff and residents and he hopes that relationship will continue with the Spiller Road project.
“Penticton has been really great to us over the past 10 years and hopefully will be for the next 10,” he said.
Cameron said he doesn’t anticipate major opposition to the Spiller Road project, acknowledging it would improve the lands surrounding the Campbell Mountain landfill.
“I think we do have to be sensitive to traffic along Naramata Road and making sure we’re buffering it properly,” he said. “I think one thing that’s going to help here is our latest concept plan details how we’re only looking to develop 50 percent of the land we own up there.
“We would maintain an open space designation and we would also buffer the lands near the landfill to the west and north of us and avoiding any sleep stope development … maintaining the integrity of the Naramata Bench will remain of paramount importance.”
The project falls in line with Penticton’s official community plan and neighbourhood development planning objectives, said Cameron.
Penticton’s chief planner Blake Laven said the Spiller Road project does meet the city’s neighbourhood development plans criteria.
Canadian Horizons has "proven to be a solid corporate citizen," said Lavan and he and planning department officials will continue working with management to move this project forward.