Housing project hopes to tap into agriculture roots

“Traffic, traffic, traffic.”

That was the concern of Sacha Peter to a new residential development proposed in the Lindell Beach area near Cultus Lake.

“Traffic, traffic, traffic.” That was the concern of Sacha Peter to a new residential development proposed in the Lindell Beach area near Cultus Lake.

Peter is chair of the Cultus Lake Park board, but traffic was his personal concern, not the board’s, which is one of several agencies asked to review the proposed development at 1687 Columbia Valley Road.

But Jon Van Geel, a principal at Frosst Creek Developments Ltd. and Cultus Country Investments Ltd., said most of the residents living in the proposed 128 bare-land strata lots will likely be full-time and won’t add to the weekend traffic congestion seen at Cultus Lake.

An application to rezone the property to a new Private Resort Residential Development designation that allows year-round residential use is now before the Fraser Valley Regional District.

A traffic study has been requested by FVRD planners.

Dave Lamson, FVRD director for the area, agreed traffic congestion in the summer and weekends at the Vedder Crossing Bridge is a concern.

“We need to have another bridge access (to Cultus Lake),” he said. “That’s something that needs to be looked at.”

However, he said he is not opposed to the development, because the full-time residential housing will have sewer and water systems built to standards.

Van Geel said the new development is at a site that once held a 300-unit trailer park, so traffic should actually be less than seen in the past.

An open house for public feedback is being held Oct. 6 between 5-8 p.m. at the Cottages At Cultus Lake Club House next door to the proposed subdivision.

A public hearing will also be held before a decision by FVRD directors on the requested rezoning and changes to the official settlement plan.

Van Geel said the new subdivision will be similar to the Cottages At Cultus Lake, except buyers will have the “option” of year-round use, and it will be marketed toward retirees and families interested in “agriculture-recreation.”

Small-scale community gardens and orchards will be available to the residents, Geel said.

“It’s a cutting-edge project, and we’re very excited,” he said. “It’s extremely hard to find a property where you have land available to include agriculture with housing.”

An exclusion from the agricultural land reserve was granted by the Agriculture Land Commission last year, but about 5 hectares of the 13 hectares suitable for development is still within the ALR.

A report by FVRD staff described Cultus Country Investments, which also developed the Cottages At Cultus Lake, as showing “a commitment to excellence” and creating a project “unique in the FVRD.”

“But more importantly (it) is built to proper provincial standards, promotes environmentally friendly design aspects, and incorporates architectural consultation,” staff said.

Van Geel said the cottage-style design of the new development is similar to the Cottages At Cultus Lake.

The proposed changes to zoning and the official settlement plan have been referred to several agencies for comment, including the Soowahlie First Nation, Lindell Beach Residents Association, Cultus Lake Park Board and the City of Chilliwack.

If approvals are granted, Van Geel said construction could start in 2012 with a completion date in 2013.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

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