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Boomtown Port Edward: Expansion imminent

A new subdivision is just one development proposed for Port Edward. - Contributed photo
A new subdivision is just one development proposed for Port Edward.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Four applications to purchase Crown Land highlight just how big of a boom could be coming to Port Edward – a boom that could begin taking shape later this year.

The applications — submitted by Stonecliff Properties, Catla Enterprises and Odyssey Homes Limited — call for the creation of almost 400 new residences, a strip mall and hotel and a large campground behind the current footprint of the community, with site clearing beginning in late 2014 or early 2015.

Meeting housing demand

Odyssey Homes Limited, an Alberta-based housing construction company, has applied for the purchase of 7.71 hectares (19.1 acres) of land behind Rainbow Drive to create a 63 lot subdivision that includes the construction of two access roads and three cul-de-sacs. A typical lot would be 17 metres wide by 36 metres long and all lots would be fully serviced.

If the application to purchase the land is successful, Odyssey would complete construction in four phases, with grading and site preparation beginning as early as this fall. Each phase would include construction of 15 residences, with the first phase running from April 1, 2015 to Nov. 30, 2016. The next three phases would commence on April 1 in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and be complete on Nov. 30 in 2018, 2020 and 2021. Given the challenging topography conditions and soil at the site, Odyssey expects development costs to be in the range of $60,000 to $75,000 per lot for a total investment of up to $4.88 million.

In addition to the 63 lots being developed, Odyssey expects more to come.

"We anticipate a demand for 200 single-family residential dwelling units within the District of Port Edward during the next decade," wrote the company, noting there are currently only 200 residences in town.

Trailer court expansion

While Stonecliff Properties is busy conducting an overhaul of the existing trailer court, the B.C.-based company has bigger plans for Port Edward.

The company has applied to purchase 14.9 hectares (36.8 acres) of land to expand the trailer court to include an additional 327 fully serviced units, bringing the total count for the park to 392. One portion of the expansion would be a road running behind the current site parallel to Evergreen Drive while a second portion of the expansion would include a looping road behind that.

Stonecliff properties does not plan to waste any time in getting started on the expansion. The company has already begun preliminary engineering and says development "will begin as soon as the subject property is made available".

Full construction of the park is anticipated to occur in two phases beginning later this year.

“Stonecliff projects the entire manufactured home park will be full within 20 months of completion. The tenants will be employees and families of contractors who are working on the new industrial developments,” the company wrote.

Shop Port Edward

There may not be a lot of shopping in Port Edward now, but Prince George-based Catla Enterprises is planning to change that.

The company is proposing to build a commercial hub near the entrance of town that would include a 5,000 square foot shopping complex to contain a coffee shop, liquor outlet, laundromat and convenience store on the southern end of the 1.01 hectare parcel of land, while an 80 room, two storey hotel with a 60 seat restaurant and parking spaces would take up the remainder of the site. Catla notes “business owners wishing to open establishments in Port Edward have already begun to express their interest”.

As with the other proposals, Catla hopes to begin clearing land for the development as soon as the sale of the site is approved. Construction wold commence either later this year or early next year.

A different kind of camp

While people may think work camps would be associated with the LNG boom driving interest in the North Coast, Catla Enterprises is looking to bring a different kind of camp to the region.

The company has applied to purchase 2.88 hectares (7.1 acres) for the construction of a campsite consisting of 35 full-serviced sites with three washrooms and showers and a caretaker house accessible through paved roads around the area. The campground would include a six metre landscaped buffer and its borders would reach the end of Spruce Ave. and actually touch the borders of the existing Kinnikinnik Campground.

Catla Enterprises has a tight timeframe in mind for the site, which it says will “serve host to a broad spectrum of visitors, whether tourists to the area, LNG employee families coming to visit or temporary LNG employees themselves”. Land for the campground would be cleared this fall with building construction expected to begin in January.

The total investment in the project is estimated to be $1.4 million for the campground and the caretaker residence.

Wampler is the way

The backbone to all three of these projects is a project planned by the District of Port Edward that not only removes heavy traffic from the main road but posthumously honours long-time mayor Ed Wampler.

Wampler Way, a proposed bypass road that turns off the highway to town just before the entrance to Watson Island, loops in behind the community’s current footprint and reconnects to Skeena Drive well past any existing development. All four pieces of crown land being applied for are directly tied to Wampler Way: The strip mall/hotel complex would be right at the intersection of the highway and Wampler Way and would only be accessible via the bypass, the campground would be adjacent to that, the subdivision’s primary access would be from two exits off of Wampler Way a little further down and Wampler Way actually bisects the proposed expansion of the trailer court before making its way down to Skeena Drive.

However, chief administrative officer Ron Bedard said the future of the Wampler Way is “still up in the air”.

“Nothing will proceed until the [Pacific NorthWest LNG] final decision is made ... we’ll do preliminary engineering, but there won’t be shovels in the ground until then,” he said.

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