New development plan for Cliffs over Maple Bay area

The Cliffs over Maple Bay residential project may be resurrected; with some significant changes.

The Cliffs over Maple Bay residential project may be resurrected; with some significant changes.

Strandlund Investments Ltd. is proposing to build approximately 1,200 housing units in a large development project slated for the side of Mount Tzouhalem, where the Cliffs over Maple Bay project was supposed to be constructed.

But the 18-hole golf course that was an integral part of the original plan that was proposed a number of years ago by developer Warren Paulin is off the table, and the number of proposed residences has risen significantly from the approximately 700 that were planned by Paulin.

The new development would be called Kings View Developments.

As part of the plan, Standlund Investments proposes dedicating 35 per cent of the 123 hectares in the development for parks, trails and open spaces.

North Cowichan council unanimously gave first reading to the bylaw to allow the project to proceed in a recent meeting, and a public hearing to gather input from the community will be mandatory before council will consider giving the final green light to the development.

North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure said he was personally “impressed” with the comprehensive details involved with the proposal.

He said he was particularly pleased with its plans to deal with invasive species on the property, which has become a broom haven, and the promise to have large areas dedicated to parks and trails.

Lefebure said he hopes the project will be “successful” and addresses some of the concerns he has had since the Cliff over Maple Bay project went bankrupt in 2008 during the global crash in real estate markets.

“The previous developer clear cut much of the property in preparation for construction and left it looking like a moonscape there ever since,” he said.

“The developer also filled in some ravines that were natural water courses as part of plans for the property that were never rebuilt, so now we may have the opportunity to deal with that as well.”

A staff report indicated that, based on the anticipated market for real estate in the neighbourhood, it’s likely that the area will be developed over the next 30 to 40 years, making Kings View Developments a “very long-term” development project.

“It’s likely, and in fact it should be anticipated, that the developer, or future developers, will wish to revisit this plan over time as the housing market, community and municipal expectations related to development evolve over the next 30 years and more,” the report said.