Proposed development in Cedar attracts high interest from residents

NANAIMO – Consultation is taking place for an environmentally sustainable neighbourhood near Hemer Park in the Cedar area.

Consultation is taking place for an environmentally sustainable neighbourhood development near Hemer Park in the Cedar area.

Planning for Kirkstone Place began in 2006 and it will span 3.64 hectares, support 33 homes in single-family and attached dwellings, and will feature a number of environmental features, which could include rainwater harvesting, heat recovery ventilation, permaculture-based community gardens, solar energy and solar hot water.

Emanuel Hajek, a local ownership representative, said developers will aim for Built Green environmental certification and will try to incorporate as many “green” principles as they can.

“We’re trying to create something that has people that are like-minded – people that are conscious of water use, conscious of wanting to grow their own food … if you’re going to live a sustainable lifestyle, that people have to recognize that,” Hajek said.

A public forum was held Thursday to determine what the community would like to see Kirkstone Place look like, although Hajek said the ownership group is leaning toward ready-made units, where owners “don’t have to worry about further land improvements.”

Alec McPherson, the Regional District of Nanaimo director for the Cedar area, said people came from as far as Cobble Hill to attend Thursday’s forum and the general consensus, as he sees it, is people want to see Kirkstone Place progress.

“Everybody that I see just wants to get on with this – they’re concerned about the length of time it’s already taken and they don’t want to lose this,” he said. “They want to move this thing forward, have it become a reality because I think we all know, particularly as elected officials, that (a sustainable community) is the future … I haven’t heard anybody who has panned the idea in any way, shape or form.”

McPherson said external stakeholders, such as Minister of Environment Mary Polak and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone, have had a chance to comment on the project and he is hopeful the project can start sometime in 2014.

“The big thing is, it has to go through a zoning amendment, so those typically take up to six months … I would hope that sometime in the spring we’re at a point where the proponents are confident that they’ve got people that want this type of development, that they’ll actually start putting their money down and that we’ll be through all the regulatory process,” he said.