October 22, 2013 - 12:43 PM
PENTICTON - A real estate director called the $250-million Skaha Hills development, "a breakthrough for Penticton."
The Penticton Indian Band announced the Skaha Hills plan last week, a 600-home project located on the bench west of Penticton's airport. As well as providing new homes, averaging around $400,000 each, it will have resort-style accommodations, a golf course, retail outlets, a vineyard and a hotel.
Skaha Hills real estate director Curt Jansen said the project would be roughly comparable to Predator Ridge Resort in Kelowna but this one is only a few minutes drive from Penticton.
The first home goes up in November and it will be a show piece for prospective buyers. Other residences will go up in March. Jansen said Penticton's Greyback Construction will be taking a lead role and about 1,500 jobs will be created over the project's lifetime.
Greyback president Larry Kenyon said his company and the band have worked together for many years and the Skaha Hills project will utilize band resources and as many local contractors as possible.
A band newsletter said the First Nation will be a 20 per cent partner with Greyback which ensures the band has a say and can participate in the profit. The project will also give band members employment opportunities during and after construction.
Jansen said this project has been on the minds of band officials since the late 1990s and it has finally come to fruition which is good for the First Nation and for Jansen as he won't have to turn away potential homeowners looking for resort-style homes.
"This is a breakthrough for Penticton," he said. "There's been hundreds of lost opportunities for people who love Penticton and want to make it there home," he said but there was nothing here they were interested in buying and almost no land to build a home on.
Since the announcement word has gotten out and his office has been fielding calls with people wanting to register for Skaha Hills.
A big challenge will be the infrastructure and the hook-ups to city sewer, water and power lines not only for 600 homes but in case the project expands.
"You can't build a water source for 50 homes and expand it down the road," he said. These systems have to be built with future use in mind.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013