Foothills Estates seeks subdivision approval from Lantzville council

NANAIMO – A mega-housing project in upper Lantzville is moving ahead, but not at the point of development.

A major housing project in upper Lantzville is still a long ways from development, according to director of development Mark Holland.

The Lantzville Foothills Estates recently won a development permit from the District of Lantzville for a lot line adjustment, which will help ensure access to Aulds Road.

It doesn’t permit any development and is more of a housekeeping item, said Holland, whose company is currently waiting on subdivision approval from the municipality.

The 744-hectare construction project has been ramping up since Storm Mountain Development Corp. became the sole owner of the property in late 2013, by creating a new memorandum of understanding with the district and hosting a public open house to present its plans. It also has an Island Health-certified well with enough water to support the first phase of development, Holland said.

It’s now seeking subdivision approval from the district for its first phase of 29 lots. If everything goes to play, Holland said the company would look at doing detailed designs for sewers, water lines and reservoirs this summer. The first lots would be for sale this time next year.

“We’re quite pleased with how things are going,” Holland said. “We have a very good working relationship with the town now, the new CAO, the new planner is fantastic to work with. The new council has been very good to work with.”

The company plans to work with the original development agreement for the first phase of its project, but could later negotiate a new phased development agreement. According to Holland, the process could easily take two years with a need to look at zoning and an official community plan amendment. The company “can’t afford to wait years in order to get a first home built.”

“We’ve all agreed to move forward on the first handful of homes,” he said. “That then gives us enough time to roll up our sleeves and sit down with the community and go Ok, let’s look ahead 30 or 40 years, what does Lantzville need up here?”

Mayor Colin Haime has no opposition to the Foothills as a concept, but said it has to be done right, with the affect on existing residents mitigated as much as possible.

“It’s been a long time coming for them and multiple owners, but it does appear that this group has it together enough to at least get to the stage of some subdivision,” he said.

Haime is taking a cautious approach to the project, with concerns it will further divide a community already split into upper and lower Lantzville. He is also concerned about the impact traffic will have on existing residents and the long-term effect on water.