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Billions of dollars in construction projects proposed for the Thompson-Okanagan

This is the location of the proposed $1 billion New Monaco project in Peachland.
Image Credit: Sumbitted/
March 09, 2021 - 7:30 AM

From highway bridges and hydroelectric projects to massive housing developments, there are 39 major projects worth $4.4 billion proposed for the Thompson-Okanagan regions.

Some may never come to fruition, others have already started. Some have been on the books for more than a decade while others are expected to start this year or early next year, according to information provided to by the Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C.

This is in addition to 55 projects worth $13 billion already under construction.

READ MORE: New home construction leading economic recovery in Thompson-Okanagan: report

Leading the way for the new projects are two valued at $1 billion each.

One is called New Monaco and is located on 125 acres stretching three kilometres south from the junction of Highway 97 and the Okanagan Connector. It's located between the two highways.

According to the Chartered Professional Accountants list, the development is proposed to have 255,000 square feet of retail and office space and a maximum of 2,800 housing units.

The New Monaco website says the project has already been incorporated into Peachland’s Official Community Plan. The Peachland District Municipality website says the community plan was amended to include the project in 2011.

“Commercial services in retail and tourism will include an innovative shopping, entertainment and recreation complex, a variety of restaurants and food markets, a full service hotel as well as expansive convention and trade pavilions,” the New Monaco’s website says. “Institutional and cultural resources will include a university centre and high school, a tech hub, a health centre and an arts quarter.”

Also priced at $1 billion is the Shelter Bay Residential Neighbourhood on Westbank First Nation land.

The project was first put on the list in 2007 and updated in September 2020. It says a developer is negotiating with the Westbank First Nation for a 125-year lease that will allow for up to 1,500 condos, high rise towers and a marina.

In December, Westbank First Nation confirmed that it was building a 1.5 km cycling trail along Campbell Road. That’s expected to be part of this development.

READ MORE: Filling the gaps: Efforts ramping up to complete cycling trail from Sicamous to Osoyoos

Next down the list is the proposed replacement of the R.W. Bruhn Bridge on Highway 1 near Sicamous. It’s a mere $225 million.

This is a rendering of the proposed replacement of the R.W. Bruhn Bridge on Highway 1 near Sicamous.
This is a rendering of the proposed replacement of the R.W. Bruhn Bridge on Highway 1 near Sicamous.
Image Credit: Submitted/Provinice of B.C.

It includes 1.9 km of four-laning of the highway and improvements to the Old Sicamous Road and Silver Sands Road intersection.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure website says it’s in the detailed design stage. Tree clearing is planned for this year with the bridge going to tender next year.

It’s expected to take three years to complete, far faster than the 20-year timeline for New Monaco.

Fortis B.C. has an application in for a $150-million, 175-metre high dam on the Similkameen River. I could include a 21-km long reservoir to supply a 45-65 megawatt power plant.

That’s listed as being in the “preliminary feasibility” phase and was first listed on the report in 2013.

Other companies have hydroelectric proposals for the Mica Creek, Golden and Nicola Lake areas.

There are a number of housing projects listed in the region. Some, like the $150 million redevelopment of the Hiawatha campsite in Kelowna, are expected to break ground this spring.

Listed as being in the Merritt area is a $150 million Coquihalla Pass Resort on 200 hectares. Ski lifts, a golf course, spa, conference center and about 2,500 housing units are proposed. Its listed as being in the “pre-application” stage with the Ministry of Environment and first appeared on the list in 2005.

A May 28, 2020 report in The Daily Hive says the Mountain Resorts Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource received an expression of interest for the project earlier that month.

A proposed $90 million recreation centre in Vernon makes the list along with a couple of smaller housing projects.

The biggest project in Kamloops is a $50-million, 317-unit multi-family residential development called The Dunes.

It’s listed as in the “preliminary/feasibility” stage and has been on the list since 2018.

A $30 million waterfront hotel is also on the list for Kamloops.

Penticton's biggest project comes in with a $20-million, 100-unit luxury condominium proposal for the Painted Rock winery near Skaha Lake.

The report says it’s also in the “preliminary/feasibility” stage and has been around since 2010.

The Chartered Professional Accountants list of major projects includes only those valued at $15 million or more.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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