Developer shifts direction after local comments

A Kelowna property developer was shut down Monday night, when about 80 Warfield residents rejected his vision of condominiums on land notorious for drainage issues.

Warfielders suggest condo

‘community’ would put too much pressure on roads and sewer lines

A Kelowna property developer was shut down Monday night, when about 80 Warfield residents rejected his vision of condominiums on land notorious for drainage issues.

Landowner Paul Nesbitt of Upside Developments Ltd. came to Warfield to discuss his vision of a “true community” where seniors, active adults and young families could live in harmony in condominiums surrounded by green space.

“I want to do something different. If I’m going to do this, I want a true community,” he said of his development plans for the 17-acre property he inherited that is located below the Sleeman subdivision and above Wellington Avenue and Montcalm.

The community of “Dorado,” the Italian word for gold, would contain 17 four-storey buildings with each “pod” consisting of 12 suites.

“As I walked through the property I saw how beautiful the green space was . . . and I just couldn’t imagine putting roads through it,” said Nesbitt, pointing out his design would include covered-roof parking and bridges connecting the buildings.

But he decided to toss his plans after receiving a strong response from the crowd of residents who felt that the roads in Warfield were too narrow for the estimated 300 vehicles that would access this 200-suite subdivision via Lytton Street.

“You are going through a residential area,” said Bob Dixon, a Lytton Street homeowner for over 20 years. “You’re taking a neighbourhood that has 30 vehicles and adding 300. Tell me how this is not going to affect the neighbourhood?”

Nesbitt’s response garnered grumbles and “tsks” from the crowd when he answered, “We’re not all extremists here, dude.”

Dixon asked Warfield Mayor Jim Nelson how he would have felt if a developer had plans for Shakespeare Street when he was raising his kids.

“You bought your house then, based on a nice, quiet neighbourhood – that’s what I did,” he said, frustrated that a multi-family development has been brought up again after he petitioned against a smaller proposal 15 years ago.

Resident Monte Brothers built a home above this land about 30 years ago and still has drainage issues– water flows down from his property onto Nesbitt’s. He’s concerned that a large structure of this size could move the water tables around.

While Nesbitt painted a picture of a beautiful development that would increase the population and in turn, lower property taxes, one villager argued that the Warfield sewer line is already over capacity and a surge of new residents could actually result in a need for new infrastructure, which would result in higher taxes.

The preliminary meeting was an opportunity for Nesbitt to gauge whether residents had an appetite for “Dorado.”

“If you’re not behind me, I’m not interested,” he said, adding that he wants to develop housing that the community appreciates.

“You’re a unified, thoughtful community and I don’t feel attacked at all, I feel that I have been informed,” said Nesbitt, who has over 30 years experience in the business.

“I won’t be pursuing the proposal, but rather rethinking what it is that I heard the people there asking me to do,” he told the Times via email Tuesday. “Maybe large estate lots are a better direction to go, all entering off of Watmough Road next to Sisal.”