This image by Sage Investments shows a preliminary plan of the Eagle Bay development. The developer said the plan will likely change as it moves forward.

Logging concerns dominate Eagle Bay development meeting

A proposed new development on the Upper Arrow Lake just south of the Shelter Bay ferry terminal is off to a rocky start

A proposed new development on the Upper Arrow Lake just south of the Shelter Bay ferry terminal is off to a rocky start

“I was really disappointed to see the type of logging that has been done on that particular track of land down there,” said Loni Parker, the director for Area B of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, where the land in question is located.

The topic came up at a meeting of the Area B Advisory Planning Commission (APC) earlier last month that two agents working for the developer Sage Investments Ltd. attended in order to answer questions about the proposed 2,448 acre Eagle Bay development.

No one from Sage Investments was at the meeting either – instead they sent up two agents from the Kelowna firm Kent-MacPherson.

The Times Review was not at the meeting but did speak to people there. According to them, the atmosphere was less than cordial, partly due to the nature of the logging that took place.

“That was one of the things that was raised: What kind of development can we expect to see when we see what kind of logging has taken place?” said Parker. “That’s a question the developer will have to come answer.”

The reason for the meeting was to get the APC’s backing to have a 520 acre portion of the land removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

According to a presentation made by the agents obtained by the Times Review, “due to topographic, stoniness limitations, and the relative isolation of this area, agricultural development is likely to be impractical.”

The information was based on a report prepared by Summit Environmental but according to Parker, the report did not satisfy members of the APC.

“The APC members were very thoughtful about the proposal that was brought forward and they asked a lot of questions,” she said. “At the end of the day they requested the developer come back with a more in depth report on the soil capabilities because there was generally just an overview. They felt they couldn’t make a recommendation without having more detail.”

The Eagle Bay development is in the early stages but according to a preliminary plan, 712 acres of the lot would be developed. There would be 62 waterfront and 72 upland lots at about five acres in size  each and 20 upland lots at about 2.5 acres each.

The remainder of the lot would potentially consist of a sustainable forest project, working forest, municipal forest lands and public access recreation area.

The proposal presented at the meeting said there will be benefits from increased local employment in the construction, forestry and service sector; increase spending in nearby communities and increased tourism to the area.

“The general concept was to get some nice, smaller waterfront lots out there a couple acres in size,” said Ron Thomson, the land manager with Sage Investments, in an interview. “The balance of the acreage we visualize it being covenanted for some sort of sustainable forest use, something that would be a benefit to the owners of the recreational lots or donate it to the regional district as a municipal forest.”

He added later that what was presented derived to have something to show at the meeting and would likely change.

Thomson questioned the APCs concerns over the logging, pointing out the land is zoned rural resource and was previously used as forest land. “To suggest there was somehow something wrong with that, I’m not sure where that comes from,” he said. “The property was logged to the letter of the law and all the logs went to mills that are environmentally certified.”

Sage Investments, which is a group of investors based in Nanaimo, B.C., purchased the land in 2008 when the forestry company Pope & Talbot went bankrupt and sold off parts of their tree license.

The 2,448 property is located across the Upper Arrow Lake from Halcyon Hot Springs.

When asked if he would be coming to Revelstoke to speak to the APC, Thomson said he was still “trying to figure out what the best approach is.”

“Personally I have no taste for being attacked by a bunch of people who already have their minds made up about something. The facts aren’t going to change much, is the feeling I get.”