Fairwinds’ development plan in Nanoose Bay still in play despite possible sale

RDN officials discuss how a sale of the properties could affect plans for a development that could double the population of Nanoose Bay

Any sale of Fairwinds will not affect Nanoose Bay’s biggest development project — which could double the community’s population over the next 20 years — according to Regional District of Nanaimo officials.

“In the long and short of it nothing changes,” RDN general manager of strategic and community development Geoff Garbutt said Tuesday afternoon.

In October of last year, a notice was posted to Fairwinds’ website stating: “In July 2014, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) completed fourth reading and adoption of the zoning-stage bylaws for the Schooner Cove and Lakes District development. This milestone marked a natural time for Fairwinds’ ownership, bcIMC, to review the appropriate next course of action for Fairwinds. Having now completed that review, the decision has been made to put Fairwinds up for sale, and a sale process has commenced.”

The sale comes in the wake of a development project that’s been on the table for seven years which could see a range of residential housing types and densities, regional and community parks and trails, local commercial shops and services, a mixed-use village and marina. A Phased Development Agreement (PDA) was adopted by the RDN last summer.

“The sale of Fairwinds to some future owner has nothing to do with the zoning in place and it’s actually the reason why the legislation (PDA) was adopted… for certainty between the developer and local government over the long term,” said Garbutt. “It outlines their responsibilities.”

Fairwinds manager of marketing and communications Rebekah Sax confirmed the championship golf course hasn’t sold as of Wednesday morning. The property also includes 700 homes, a private fitness centre, trails and a full-service marina.

On Wednesday night, the regional district hosted its second public open house, where RDN staff and project consultants were on hand to receive feedback on the draft management plan.

RDN general manager of recreation and parks services Tom Osborne said the regional district is currently developing the first 10-year management plan for the future regional park.

“The area encompasses roughly 287 hectares of undeveloped and privately-owned land within the Fairwinds Resort Community, which will be subdivided and developed within six separate phases over an anticipated period of 20 years,” Osborne said in an e-mail to The NEWS.

“Approximately 100 hectares of regional parkland, including over 16 kilometres of trails, will be dedicated to the RDN over the course of subdivision and neighbourhood build-out.”

Osborne said the private developer is responsible for constructing all future park amenities during phased subdivision and build-out.

Once the development and construction of parkland amenities is complete, the land will be transferred to the RDN, which will assume the responsibility for the long-term operations and maintenance of the regional park.

To view the management plan visit www.rdn.bc.ca. On the website, there is also an opportunity to provide comments on the draft plan by completing an online public survey by May 21. E-mail questions or comments to RDN parks planner lfesiak@rdn.bc.ca.

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