This map shows the location of the potential boundary extension.

Buildout of Couverdon proposal would take decades to complete

If approved, the development proposed by Couverdon for the north end of Ladysmith would happen over 30-plus years.

A Couverdon-TimberWest development proposed for the north end of Ladysmith is expected to take decades to complete if approved by municipal and provincial regulators.

Frank Limshue, Couverdon Real Estate’s director of planning and zoning, said the build-out Couverdon has proposed for a 710-acre parcel of TimberWest property located northwest of Ladysmith “would happen over a 30-plus-year period.”

But before Couverdon and parent company TimberWest can proceed, they will have to successfully navigate their way through a series of approval processes beginning with an official request for a boundary expansion.

Couverdon will file an official request for a boundary extension with the Town of Ladysmith “within the next month and a half,” Limshue said.

If their request for incorporation is approved by Ladysmith — TimberWest has offered Ladysmith title to 450 acres of land adjacent to Stocking and Holland lakes in exchange for the boundary expansion — the Town will then forward Couverdon’s application to the Ministry of Community , Sport and Cultural Development for provincial approval, Limshue added.

If the Province green lights the incorporation, Couverdon would then have to  collaborate with Ladysmith to amend both the town’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and the property’s zoning designation, Limshue said, before confirming that there is “still a lot more discussion to be had with the community.”

The TimberWest property in question is currently located in CVRD Electoral Areas G and H where it is zoned primarily as F-1 with a northern section zoned A-1.

TimberWest will pay $4,700 in taxes to Area H and an additional $760 in taxes to Area G for 2013, Limshue added.

Beyond a review of the current OCP and zoning revisions, Couverdon and TimberWest will have to abide by a number of other rules moving forward, including new viewscape protection guidelines and “smart growth practices.”

TimberWest will be forbidden from future harvesting on “key viewscapes” visible from town, Limshue added, including lands adjacent to Stanton Peak.

Couverdon, meanwhile, will have to abide by a smart-growth protocol that will include “well-designed communities promoting mixed land uses — residential, commercial and recreational — which encourage diverse housing opportunities, green infrastructure, and [development that] is respectful to the natural landscape,” Limshue said, adding that Couverdon intends to work “with Ladysmith to further define smart growth practices.”

Over the course of the next three decades, Couverdon aims to develop “approximately 1,500 units,” Limshue said.

“Ultimately, the number of units and other details of the development would be determined in cooperation with the Town of Ladysmith,” Limshue added.

Ladysmith Mayor Rob Hutchins said the assessment of Couverdon’s application once it’s received has been identified by council as a “strategic priority,” adding that it’s “difficult to say at this time how long the Town’s assessment would take.”

“As we have done with other boundary extension requests, the Town requires that significant work takes place prior to council’s consideration of a formal boundary extension request so that we can determine if this proposal is consistent with the community’s Sustainability Vision and strategic directions,” Hutchins added.

Hutchins envisions a future Couverdon development as one that includes “well-designed compact neighbourhoods [where] residents can choose to live, work, shop and play in close proximity.”

The village-style development is expected to house approximately 2,500 residents according to Couverdon’s projections, Hutchins said, adding that it will take decades to build up.

Hutchins confirmed that Couverdon would cover the cost of connecting Couverdon with Ladysmith’s  existing water and sewer infrastructure.