Nearly a month after Couverdon Real Estate’s boundary extension proposal was accepted by the Town of Ladysmith, the real estate business of TimberWest held an open house to share its plans and answer the public’s questions.
Couverdon has submitted an application for the annexation of 283 hectares (about 700 acres) of TimberWest lands into the Town of Ladysmith. The proposed boundary extension area is adjacent to the northwest boundary of the Town, stretching from north of Grouhel Road to Malone Road, and local residents found out more about the proposal Feb. 26 at the Eagles Hall.
As part of this boundary extension, if that TimberWest land came into the Town of Ladysmith, the Town would acquire almost 500 acres of TimberWest lands around Stocking and Holland lakes to protect the drinking water that supplies the Town, the Diamond District and Saltair, as well as the future proposed service to the Stz’uminus First Nation.
The area of land around Holland Lake under discussion is approximately 120 hectares (296 acres), and if the Town were to acquire these lands, the Town of Ladysmith would control 100 per cent of the catchment area for Holland Lake.
The amount of lands around Stocking Lake under discussion is approximately 76 hectares (188 acres), and acquisition of these lands by the Town of Ladysmith, plus the lands already owned by the Town, would give the Town control of approximately 89 per cent of the Stocking Lake watershed. These lands, plus the lands owned by the provincial government and the Cowichan Valley Regional District, would put 100 per cent of the catchment area into the public ownership.
With this boundary extension application, the Town of Ladysmith has three objectives — acquisition of watershed lands around Stocking and Holland lakes; protection of key viewscapes, such as the forested hills behind the town, and reduction of the visual impact within and adjacent to the boundary extension area; and the implementation of planned community development that employs smart growth practices and supports the Community Vision for a Sustainable West Coast Town.
This boundary extension application is the first step Couverdon needs to take, and if it is approved, that does not mean development can take place. The lands would need to go through a public Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw process before any development could begin.
Couverdon envisions parks, open spaces and trails and a mix of housing types and sizes, with neighbourhoods integrated with and connected by natural landscapes, neighbourhood scale defined by walkability and proximity to shared amenities, and diverse land uses and balanced traffic management to support a complete community.
According to Couverdon, the expansion lands are projected to accommodate a population of 2,500 to 3,500 residents.
“The future development is envisioned to provide up to 1,500 residential units of varying housing types, from single family to multifamily, along with complementary commercial and institutional uses,” it states in its application summary. “The preliminary land use concept anticipates a foundation of best practices in community planning and design to minimize impact on climate. These best practices include the maintenance of significant open spaces and natural amenities, creation of walkable neighbourhoods, support for alternative modes of transportation, including cycling and hiking, and accommodation of transit.”
According to Couverdon’s boundary extension application summary, Couverdon is examining economic development opportunities to support a diversity of land uses and provide “high-quality employment” to Ladysmith.
“In particular, Couverdon is interested in exploring new industries around alternative energy technologies, innovative live/work concepts, and partnerships with key Vancouver Island institutions,” states Couverdon.
If Couverdon’s boundary extension application is approved and the lands go through a subsequent successful rezoning process, Couverdon envisions a phased development in at least four phases generally progressing from east to west that it has stated in the past would take 30-40 years.
The preliminary land use concept includes a mixed use activity centre for neighbourhood commercial, education and community facilities, as well as a range of residential types; a series of mixed-density residential neighbourhoods that responds to the site’s environmental and topographic characteristics; a framework of natural and protected areas which would include steep slopes, stream corridors and wetlands; and an open space network including active and passive recreation, parks, community gardens and nature trails that is embedded throughout the community and connects the neighborhoods, community facilities, mixed use activity centre and regional trails.
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As of today (March 4), there are 10 days left to submit your Elector Response Form in the Town’s Alternative Approval Process. These forms indicate that you feel a referendum must be held for this proposal, and the forms are available at City Hall, the Town of Ladysmith Development Services Office on Roberts Street, the Frank Jameson Community Centre and the Ladysmith Library. They must be submitted to Ladysmith City Hall no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, March 14.