The good times are all gone, says Taylor’s Mill developer Fraser Armstrong, and the City of Kimberley has to work with developers in a changed economic climate.
Taylor’s Mill property is located on what is known locally as Concentrator Hill, across from the Catholic Church (see plan, right). This month marks the eighth anniversary of Armstrong trying to bring the project to fruition.
He has changed his original proposal considerably since 2008 and is now seeking to get city approval on a Sustainable Living Business Incubator (SLBI) model, which requires a different standard of services.
“Since 2008 things have changed,” Armstrong said. “To remain steadfastly adherent to practices from years past is like flies bumping against the window.
“It’s the definition of insanity, doing something over and over and expecting different results.”
Armstrong says he was taken aback by the recommendation from staff in front of Council last Monday evening, and felt that he “dodged a bullet” when Council decided to explore his proposal a little more.
“I had my heart in my throat the whole time they were discussing it,” he said. “Fortunately we’re still in the ballgame and now have an opportunity to address our plan and prove that it’s workable.”
The SLBI model has four main components. One, larger lots, about two acres, which allow for large gardens and other horticultural activities, and small scale animal husbandry. The second component is an emphasis on economic development. The lots are big enough for small scale businesses to be located onsite, a work/live situation, Armstrong calls it.
Third is a mix of urban and rural services. This is where most of the objection from the City’s planning department and some Councillors is originating.
Armstrong says he has the studies that prove that the ground in Taylor’s Mill is suitable for septic systems.
“The ground is good and standards for septic systems now are very high. There are no infrastructure replacement costs. Taxpayers are not responsible for sewage infrastructure.”
The fourth concept is environmentally conscious, green building, including grey water systems.
“Treated water is needed only for potable water so that’s less stress on the City’s water system,” Armstrong said. “There’s less consumption so infrastructure wouldn’t have to be as big. Again, less of a burden to taxpayers. We are looking at alternate energy sources as well.”
This is a type of development that Armstrong thinks will really appeal to people.
“The days of 2007 are gone and they may never be back. To realistically service something like that the same as the boom years is not possible. We have a plethora of that inventory out there. A lot of people moving into Kimberley are in their 30s. They are environmentally conscious, they want sustainable practices and affordability. We are trying to listen to the residents of Kimberley and make a development in accordance to the needs of the community — green, sustainable, affordable. We’re not building for tourists, we’re building for people to live there.
“If you’re putting in urban services, paved roads, it costs a lot of money. So you go ahead and do it and nobody can buy it because they can’t afford it.
“We have an opportunity right now to present to Council that this isn’t just an idea, it can work. We’re happy to have that opportunity. What development is going ahead right now? We’re challenged. We can adhere to old practices, which we know don’t work, or let’s be adventurous and try it. Let’s test it. “
Armstrong says he is happy to speak to anyone who wants more information on what is being proposed, or take them for a tour of the site.
Call him at 250-427-5767 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.