Work on a 14-lot residential development northeast of Herald Park co-owned by former NHL player Kevin Lowe is moving ahead.
The land, at 4990 Sunnybrae Canoe Point Rd., is a former log scaling and booming area that was used for decades to feed what’s now Canoe Forest Products on the other side of Shuswap Lake.
Along with the 14 waterfront strata lots, approximately half an acre each, and a community sewer system, there will be two new two-hectare residential lots and a reconfigured existing waterfront lot. The land sits between Herald Park and Paradise Point.
The development company, Heralds Bay Developments Ltd., is owned by Kevin Lowe, former Edmonton Oilers hockey player who now works on the business side of the hockey organization. He has partnered with two friends, Bruno Muller and Hans Abild. Abild is Lowe’s neighbour at the lake while Muller spends a lot of time on Vancouver Island.
Lowe told the Observer they all share a great love for the outdoors and a great respect for it. Lowe said his family has lived in Sunnybrae for part of each year since 1992 and two years ago built a retirement residence not too far from the land he’s subdividing.
Project manager Dave Cunliffe from Celista described the work that’s been or will be done.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s official community plan has been amended from industrial to residential there to accommodate the future housing. A public information meeting was held in September 2020 along with a public hearing in February 2021, followed by the CSRD board’s approval.
As the land was a former industrial brownfield site, a contaminant review has been done.
In concert with the highways ministry, Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road will be relocated to the north and improved to ministry standards, he said.
The housing will be on the lake side of the road and the community sewer system to the north.
Cunliffe noted that one of the most important issues has been Bastion Mountain. Extensive geotechnical work has been completed to ensure protection from a worst-case scenario: debris torrents that could result from a forest fire followed by a torrential rainfall. Protection involves building deflection berms to direct potential debris torrent flows through large-diameter culverts.
“We’re held to a very high standard by the approving authority,” he said. “The bar is set very high in terms of public safety, and so it should be. With the whole development team, everybody has the same approach. If we can’t do it safely, we shouldn’t do it at all.”
He said extensive archeology work has also been carried out and one site survived the previous industrial use. The site found was a food preparation site, carbon-dated at 5,000 years old, where there were elk bones, fish bones and turtle carcasses.
He said the archaeological work was completed with assistance predominantly from the Little Shuswap Lake Band.
Cunliffe said provincially established protocols are being followed, which include informing and consulting with the bands.
“We’re doing our best to avoid it,” he said of the site, adding there has been systematic data recovery which involves understanding the history of the site and how it was used.
Other work being done is riparian area restoration because so much wood waste was left. That work includes importing soils and restoring habitat where fish can flourish.
Public access to the lake will be available at the west end of the site.
Cunliffe predicts that construction could start in 2022.
Lowe said he bought the land about five years ago, but he had looked at it over the years when he ran or boated past. He said some residents were afraid a large multi-family high rise might be constructed, but that was not the plan.
“We wanted to do something that would fit in with the area.”