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Sechelt - Dead Ducks, Non-fliers & Snake Oil
06-12-2013, 06:35 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-22-2013, 12:18 PM by Skook.)
RE: Sechelt - Dead Ducks, Non-fliers & Snake Oil

Waterfront/Edgewater at Porpoise Bay (images below):

Those crazy years attracted a big player to the SC - the privately-owned, Vancouver-based, mega developer Onni Group. Their proposal was ‘Waterfront at Porpoise Bay’ (Implying you’re offering the only possibility? Well, yeah, just look at the location map!). Given its size and development plan, perhaps it was a ‘pet’ project for the company owner as two Bocce Courts occupied prime waterfront positions.

The project came to market in 2007 which was an insane year for pricing on the SC. Development projects already a few years on the market increased prices by as much as $100,000 per unit/lot. Those coming on stream like this one offering 32 luxury townhomes, jumped in at over the million dollar mark ($1.1 - $1.6 million for the units).

It is hard to believe, but in a Vancouver Sun project profile from August 2008, Onni felt WPB would “appeal to buyers 45 years and up up…looking for a turnkey property with no maintenance” and that it would “appeal to younger families in search of a secondary residence”. Well, it appears it did neither because Waterfront at Porpoise Bay was put to sleep.

When asked in February, 2011 why the project had been mothballed, Onni development manager, Michael Kershaw offered these thoughts:

Quote:It was out of our control. It was the economy and everything kind of falling apart at the seams,” he said. “It just didn’t seem feasible to build $1.5 million homes on the water when the sky was falling. At that point in time we put a lot of our projects on hold, so it wasn’t to say anything about Vancouver or Sechelt or Toronto or Kamloops or Kelowna, it was that there was so much uncertainty in the residential market that it was a scary time so everything went on hold to reassess the situation and see where it’s at.

That reassessment led Onni to present a new design concept to the public rebranding it ‘Edgewater at Porpoise Bay’. The project would now offer 104 townhouses on site with prices starting in the mid-$300,000s. This redesign didn’t require new zoning only a Sechelt Council granted permit.

Kershaw, offered some interesting details at that February presentation (worth reading the whole article):

Quote:I think it’s a great development, it’s gorgeous. We’ve designed it really well,” he said. “We’re hoping that all 104 units will have an ocean view. The beach there is gorgeous. It just really suits the area. We’re leaving a lot of green. We’re keeping a lot of the old growth that’s on there as much as we possibly can. We’ve put in a huge effort to keep as many trees on the property as we can keep.

Let’s see 104 townhomes on ten acres and each with an ocean view…well, I would think that is all you could do Mr. Kershaw is hope unless you plan on building viewing platforms on the roofs of those two back rows of units. And, what’s this nonsense about ‘old growth’ - that area hasn’t seen ‘old growth’ since about the mid-1800s -how about 3rd growth, Mr. Kershaw. Now, be honest, the only trees you’ll likely be keeping may be a few along the north and south sides and one row bordering Sechelt Inlet Road so buyers won’t be reminded of their proximity to the gravel pit - but, no problem, the wind-born dust should take care of that.

As if 104 townhomes weren’t enough, Onni upped the ante last September (2012) wanting to slip in an additional 12 townhomes. In 2011 to get its permit, town Council required that Onni build a site package sewage treatment system to service those many, more townhomes to the tune of about $3-million because the site can’t access the town’s sewer system.

Onni now wants to hook up to the town’s sewer system and apparently those additional 12 townhomes will help make the cost more palatable. Onni also asked for a four year window “to build that extension to make sure they sell enough homes to warrant the expenditure”. If they don’t, they may go back to the 104 figure.

Good luck with either plan, Onni.

Oh, one more thing. You need to correct the Edgewater at Porpoise Bay location on your new website's Sechelt map because it is wrong. It is not up there next to Dusty Rd. Check your 2007 map, if you want to be accurate.

(Note: for some reason, Onni hasn’t put a site plan up on its Edgewater website. However, it can be found in the DOS Sept 12, 2012 CoW Agenda, page 24)

[Image: attachment.php?aid=433]

West Sechelt Infill Area No.1 (images above):

Romantic sounding isn’t it. The DOS has identified 6 infill areas for West Sechelt and West Porpoise Bay in its Official Community Plan. All are considered “major development sites [that] have significant residential infill potential.” The largest of these infill areas is No. 1 and the majority of that land is owned by two families and both have been introduced in previous threads: the Sechelt Clayton family (developer of Trail Bay Estates) and the Vancouver Sangara family (owner of Sawarne Lumber and developer of Silverstone).

The development of this area begins to unfold as early as November, 2004 with the offer of 45 acre land donation to Capilano College to extend its Sunshine Coast campus from the Village into West Sechelt. This news even grabbed the attention of then Minister of Advanced Education, Shirley Bond, who arrived on the coast for the announcement. According to the news article college expansion was far from done deal; however, it appeared to be a win-win situation for everyone: Capilano College, Sechelt, the Sunshine Coast…and perhaps both families. As for that last point, it may have been thought, but it wasn’t spoken publically until 2006.

It was with the Clayton family Trail Bay Estates development proposal in June, 2006 was presented to the public (no one in favour according to the news story), that this land donation became a point of contention:

Quote:Trail Bay Estates is owned by the Clayton family, who, along with the Sangara family, signed a memorandum of understanding in March of this year to donate approximately 47 acres in total to the District in trust for an expanded college site, said [Sechelt] planner Ray Parfitt. The Claytons would provide 20 acres while the Sangaras, who have a larger piece of property in the area, would provide 27 acres, according to Sechelt Mayor Cam Reid. Those at the public hearing chastised council for considering approval of the site to get the donated land and questioned the actual size of donation.

“I am chair of the community advisory committee at Capilano College and I’ve been involved in this 40, 47, 13, however you want to look at it, acre donation, and it struck me the entire time that it was actually rather sleazy,” Sechelt resident Gail Riddell said, after questioning Parfitt on documents she claims to have seen that show a 13-acre college donation.

She said the developer seems to be using the donation as “a way to get smaller lot sizes and setbacks.” Many echoed Riddell’s statement. However, Reid said the college lands were not the subject of the public hearing and refused to debate the subject, to the anger of many in attendance.

The Trail Bay Estates received its zoning and just prior, the Sangara family had commenced its Silverstone development. Both developments represented only small portions of those families’ large holdings - land which had been held for years. In 2011, it was time to present a new development proposal for West Sechelt and September 23, it was placed before the public, but few bothered to attend:

Quote:The lands in question are owned by some well-known families that have been on the Coast for many years. The Clayton family owns 25.48 hectares, the Sangara family 69.44 hectares, the McKenzie family 15.52 hectares and the Brown family 8.72 hectares.

[Aplin and Martin Consultants planner, Maggie] Koka said the families have been working to develop the area since 1997. When asked why it has taken so long to come up with a plan to present to the public for the area, Koka said, “It’s a long and complicated process.”

Over the years, the property owners have had done engineering reports, a fiscal community impact assessment, a geotechnical assessment, a tree assessment, a storm water management plan, a geology report, an environmental overview report, a transportation policy and road network report, a slope analysis, view potential analysis, rainwater management study, proposed road requirement review, engineering servicing concept and a proposed land use concept plan for the property.

Now they are at the stage where they can show their plans to the public, get feedback and go to council to look for an official community plan (OCP)
amendment to move forward with subdivision and rezoning of the lots.

The proposed land use plan for the area calls for major growth with a potential for up to 2,300 homes. Those homes would be a mix of single family, intensive residential and multiple family homes. The plan calls for 30 to 40 per cent multi-family units to be developed. Integrated into the plan is a new neighbourhood centre for the area and a park of three to four hectares in size. The development would also come with pedestrian trails to link West Sechelt with downtown Sechelt.

Another public meeting held on November 12, 2011 attracted about 50 residents who raised only a few minor concerns. Perhaps, by then the attitude was “oh well, what the hell it’s only a plan for 2,300 homes adding close to 5,000 new residents to the Sechelt - we’ve seen it all before”.

On July 4, 2012, Sechelt Council adopted Bylaw No. 492-1, 2011 thereby designating certain parcels of land in West Sechelt as “West Sechelt Comprehensive Development Area #1”. Now it is only up for to the land owners to submit their developments dreams for approval. However, given the current state of Trail Bay Estates and Silverstone, it might be prudent to wait like the Drummond brothers (The Trails) for more auspicious times.


As for that land donation to Cap College (now Capilano University), it appears it may be a non-event. One college document covering 2007-2010 states in March, 2006, “Business Planning underway. Donation of land to the District completed” [June, 2006 quote above indicates this was a "memorandum of understanding" only] ; however, next to this is an entry for March, 2007 it states, “Conditions for 2nd half of land donation not acceptable to college. Discussions continue”.

Other documents indicate lack of provincial funding for expansion as well as a problem with timelines associated with the land donation offering no concrete dates with which to plan an expansion.

Finally, in a 2012 “Comprehensive Self-Study Report”, the College writes:

Quote:Work to secure land for a new Sunshine Coast campus has also slowed. The existing site [Sechelt Village] offers limited potential for further physical expansion, and there is no opportunity for expansion through acquisition of surrounding properties. With the expectation of continued population growth, particularly among mid to later life learners, the university will ultimately require a new campus on the Sunshine Coast. The university is working to acquire land that is centrally located within the Sunshine Coast, close to public transportation and of sufficient size to allow for long-term development.

One would think had the land donation become a reality that paragraph above would not have been written. Well, it was a good idea at the time; but, then times change.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=209]

Snake Oil (image above):

definition: noun; informal, chiefly North American
  • a substance sold with no real medicinal value sold as a remedy for all diseases
  • a product, policy, etc. of little real worth or value that is promoted as the solution to a problem
There is no finer example of this tried and true noun than the Sechelt airport expansion proposal presented in January, 2006, by a BC based company, Yrainucep Development Corp (YDC), its president Don Greer and vice-president Mebs Tejpar. According to the Coast Reporter news story at the time:

Quote:The proposal includes lengthening the runway to 7,200 feet to make jet usage viable and building a private recreational airport with destination vacation homes and facilities to train workers in various aviation fields.” “Greer said the airport would be geared to private corporate jets and the destination market. The latter would be drawn to the area by a new resort hotel and convention centre. Also in the plans are high-end homes where jet/plane owners would be able to park their aircrafts in the hangar/garages at the side of the homes.

More than a few local business owners embraced this grandiose scheme while the town council showed reticence. As a result, rumblings began to grow that economic growth was being stymied by a backward thinking mayor and his councillors - if that was indeed the case then in this instance the community owes a debt of gratitude to the then council for this airport proposal was flimflam at its finest. Those cooler heads on Sechelt Council prevailed and YDC and its players faded away.

It was another story in Powell River where Greer was also peddling his airport development scheme at the same time as in Sechelt. It was a similar plan and included “a gated community, a 5-star hotel, a golf course, an equestrian centre, etc.” But, in Powell River, these plans tore apart the community and came dangerously close to causing irreparable damage when the city tried to remove 827 acres from the Agricultural Land Reserve for the project; but, the application was rejected. Greer’s plans came to a screeching halt and like before he and YDC disappeared.

In the end, it’s hard to say what the financial cost was to both communities, but there had to be some in Powell River where the scheme progressed so much further.

YDC didn’t disappear entirely. By 2008, when it was obvious to Greer he wasn’t going to find enough ‘stupid’ money on the west coast to back his plans he turned to posting on Arab websites looking to tap their ‘stupid’ money. Here is one example found on a United Arab Emirate website showing, I think, how underappreciated Greer felt:

Quote:Posted by: Donnell Greer Thursday, 27 March 2008 8:01 PM[UAE] - Canada

It is interesting to note companies like this willing to invest funds into various financial service companies. However, how does a legitimate and profitable project, with better than a 20% return, gain direct contact to the heads of such funds? The usual chain of unqualified greedy intermediaries often present too many road blocks both financially and information wise, to ever reach the decision makers at the top of the investment world. Moreover, particularly in North America, history proves that most so called? bankers? lack the understanding and vision to recognize good projects in any case. The current financial situation attests to that. Yrainucep Development Corp is a Canadian company tired of the intermediaries? game. Donnell Greer, President

Yrainucep, is a strange name for company isn’t it - spell it backwards (hat tip to an earlier news story).



This thread comes close to rivalling my Sunshine Coast aggregates multi-post but it does have a purpose as it lays the groundwork for a piece which I hope will pull this and many of my previous ‘threads’ together - an ambitious aim.

I am not sure when that new thread will appear but I should appeal to the GGs (graph-geeks) that frequent this forum and VCI.

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RE: Sechelt - Dead Ducks, Non-fliers & Snake Oil - by Skook - 06-12-2013, 06:35 PM

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