Taicheng Develoment Corp.’s proposed South Britannia development may not get underway until 2016 and it could take up to 100 years for it to reach build-out, according to an independent real estate consulting firm hired by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.
The SLRD board was provided with an update on the development at its Monday (Feb. 25) meeting in Pemberton. A staff report detailed the ongoing work on the application since its last update in November.
The report noted several issues that need to be addressed before the developer can submit a complete application for rezoning and amendments to the SLRD’s Official Community Plan.
The SLRD staff report stated that two workshops since November have helped resolve some issues, but others that require continued study include transportation, site servicing for water, commercial space, hotel development, establishing a winery on site, developing a marina and residential density and mix.
The residential density, mix and build-out were a subject of disagreement between the developer’s consultant, Site Economics Ltd., and the independent real estate marketing firm Coriolis Consulting Corp., which was hired by the SLRD.
The project proposes 3,000 residential units, 2,000 more than what is currently supported in the Official Community Plan for the South Britannia area. Site Economics supported an absorption rate of 300 units a year over 10 years. However, staff were concerned about the proposed mix and estimated absorption rate being projected.
Coriolis factored in concerns about already approved developments competing for the same market share, and predicted it could optimistically take 30 to 35 years to reach build-out. Under a conservative absorption scenario, it would be more like 100 years, the report stated.
The disagreement resulted in another contractor, Harris Consulting Inc., being hired January to recommend a development strategy that addresses market uncertainty.
That report recommended that the developer complete a neighbourhood on the portion of the site that includes the village core and accommodates 1,000 to 1,200 residential units, with between 65 and 70 per cent being ground-floor oriented. The units, states the report, could be absorbed by the market over as few as 10 years. The developer is continuing more in-depth market analysis.
A preferred site plan, according to the report, has been selected, including road layouts, parcel size and shapes, and distribution of land uses. However, the report pointed out the plan makes assumptions about things like mix of residential units, access and egress.
Director Jordan Sturdy expressed a desire for the board to be in a position to influence how the development is accessed.
“I believe the discussion of access and egress is critical for progress and the ultimate character of this particular proposal and I think we should drive that decision as opposed to accept it,” he said.
In addition to the progress on the plan, the report noted the developer is currently in discussions with the Britannia Mine Museum about possibly acquiring a 6.3-hectare parcel of museum-owned land adjacent to the Taicheng property.
Zoning bylaw review includes neighbours
A review of the zoning bylaw for Area D will include neighbouring municipalities at the steering committee level.
The terms of reference for the review were in front of the SLRD board for approval when Pemberton director Sturdy suggested the committee include representation from adjacent communities to align the zoning bylaws.
Area C Director Susie Gimse noted that any land use zoning or bylaw review would be referred to neighbouring municipalities for input.”
Sturdy explained that areas where two zoning bylaws meet on a map should be given consideration as to what the differences are between those planning documents and strive for seamlessness for constituents.
Area D Director Mo Freitag and Squamish Director Rob Kirkham were receptive to the idea, and the motion passed.
“We are touching boundaries and when we come together, it is wise to have some alignment, although there are other areas that are distinct and as municipalities it is not up to us what happens there,” Kirkham said.