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Peachland's reimagined Ponderosa development gets green light

Original master-planned community scaled back from 2,300 to 445 units
Toronto's Rompsen Group plans 445 residential units as well as a nine-hole, Les Furber-designed golf course as part of a revamped development in Peachland.

Scaled-back redevelopment plans for the area around the Ponderosa Golf Course in Peachland are moving ahead, a decade after a much larger proposal for the site fell through.

Peachland council voted unanimously Sept. 27 to approve a revised phasing strategy for lands now owned by the Romspen Group at its final meeting before next month's municipal elections.

The plan includes construction of approximately 445 residential units as well as a nine-hole, Les Furber-designed golf course.

Romspen Group has acquired five of the southern parcels situated within a custom zone and will move ahead with development of their lands independent from adjacent properties.

Properties on the northern end are owned by Beech Westgard while two other southern parcels are owned by other interests.

Council approved Romspen's request to alter the original Phased Development Agreement from a decade ago to maintain the "financial viability of the project on their five parcels."

The residential development is planned in two phases with construction of about 250 units during each phase.

Construction of what is being called a "high quality, challenging nine-hole executive golf course" would also be built in phases but must be "fully complete" by Nov. 1, 2025.

Mayor Cindy Fortin told Castanet News a temporary clubhouse would be built, with construction of a permanent clubhouse for an anticipated expansion of the course to 18 holes once lands to the north are also developed.

Should the golf course cease to operate for more than seven months, ownership of the lands and business assets would be transferred to the district for $1.

In 2012, Ponderosa Development Ltd. intended to build 2,300 units as part of a master-planned development for what was then billed the Ponderosa Golf and Country Club. An 18-hole championship golf course designed by Greg Norman and tennis academy were also part of the plans, which were estimated to take upwards of 18 years to fulfill. Some work had begun on the golf course before the project stalled.

Ponderosa Development itself had acquired the property out of foreclosure in 2007, underscoring the long-standing challenges at the site.

"Everyone seemed pretty positive about it," said Fortin of council's Sept. 27 decision.

"It's been a real nightmare for several years and for those poor residents who live up there. Romspen is a whole new group and they have some great ideas, and there are still some things to iron out."

Fortin says council and city staff worked hard to come up with a plan that would work for all parties concerned to hopefully "appease the public who absolutely deserve to be feeling frustrated and impatient with the progress that had happened."