By David F. Rooney
Developer Ender Ilkay’s vision of a 750-unit recreational development at Shelter Bay won support from attendees at an Open House this week. Unlike other, similar, projects his doesn’t center around a golf course, but the area’s natural features and an extensive series of trails he wants to build on its 5,200 acres.
And, unlike the grotesque-looking clear-cut that marks the proposed Eagle Bay development nearby, not a single tree has yet been cut at Shelter Bay.
“He’s shown a lot of respect for the land,” said Loni Parker, Area B director of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
Ilkay has also shown a lot of respect for the opinions of area residents. The Tuesday evening Open House was the third one he has held since 2009 to explain what he has in mind and to solicit public input he regards as crucial to the success of his project.
“Without public support this is not going anywhere,” he told a crowd of about 35 people at the Community Centre.
“I think if this is approved it will be very successful. It will also have an important impact on Revelstoke,”
Ilkay’s project envisions 750 units on the old Pope & Talbot parcel strung along Highway 23S in series of small, strata-titled communities. They’ll be a mix of cottages on one-quarter-, one-half- and one-acre lots as well as a number of owner-used RV pads. There will a lodge, a general store, a marina, an outfitter’s lodge, children’s camp and temporary staff housing. But the piece de resistance will be a network of non-motorized trails punctuated with scenic viewpoints. All of this will be built over 20-to-25 years and, at buildout, will be occupied by an estimated 1,500 people during peak season. While they largely be used as vacation properties, there will be nothing to prevent people from living there full-time if they want. However, the RV pads are seasonal-use only. Pad owners will not be allowed to park their rigs there full time.
Ilkay said there will be water and sewer service (These will be run by the CSRD and only the project residents will be taxed to maintain them.) and, eventually, a volunteer fire department. However, there will be no attempt to go much further.
“This has to work within the context of the natural environment or it’s not going to work,” he said. “We are not going to pretend to be suburbia.”
Maintaining a rural, outdoorsey character is key to the success of the project and Ilkay said most of the land will be covenanted so that it cannot be developed in the future. That includes a wetland area above the developed areas of the parcel.
Locally, this project will greatly benefit Revelstokians, Ilkay said, as it will provide hundreds of construction jobs to local craftsmen and workers and bring a large group of potential new consumers for local businesses.
“We need something like this,” said local contractor Peter Bernacki. “It could do us a lot of good.”
Of course, this was not a love-in. Two people questioned the density of the project with one of them, CSRD resident Andy Parkin saying he would rather see the rules, as they are currently expressed through the Area B Official Community Plan, adhered to. Even so, Parkin sounded almost apologetic when he objected to the planned densities. The OCP stipulates that housing developments must be in five-acre lots. An amendment to the OCP would be required for this project to go ahead, Parker said.
Members of the North Columbia Environmental Society also attended the meeting and one said the group has a committee studying Ilkay’s project. So far they like what they’re hearing.
Ilkay said he hopes to have the zoning completed this year with infrastructure ground-breaking in 2013 and the first units being built in 2014.
You can find out more and see maps of the project at ShelterBayLands.com.