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Park concept dashed with sale of historic Kal Lake estate

Despite efforts to retain the land as a public park, the Margaret Ormsby property overlooking Kalamalka Lake has been sold. It was listed for $5.9 million.
August 27, 2014 - 4:33 PM

VERNON - One of the Okanagan’s top 100 most expensive residential properties—a historical home on the shores of Kalamalka Lake—is in new hands, albeit not the ones its former owner had hoped for.

The 2.4-acre estate belonging to the late Margaret Ormsby, featuring 420 feet of waterfront off Coldstream Creek Road, was on the market roughly seven weeks before getting snatched up by a private buyer.

Re/Max Commercial Solutions agent Craig Broderick says there was lots of interest in the property, listed at $5.9 million. He won’t say how much the property actually sold for, only that it was an acceptable price. He says the buyer is currently trying to keep a low profile.

In her will, Ormsby stated her wishes for the District of Coldstream to buy the land and preserve it as a public space for the community, with the caveat it be called Ormsby Park. Unfortunately, that wish wasn’t legally binding. The district had the land appraised as a park and made a bid accordingly, but the estate’s trustee wasn’t willing to accept an offer at that value, deciding instead to put the property on the open market for a significantly higher price.

“It’s a pretty rare property,” Broderick says. “It’s on Kalamalka Lake first of all, right in the heart of Coldstream. It’s got frontage on the lake, the house is still in good shape, it’s got a two storey boat house.”

Coldstream councillor Peter McLean spent a lot of time at the lake house as a child because his grandmother was good friends with Ormsby.

“In those days, in discussions with my grandmother, she had always envisioned her property would eventually be sold to the district and named Ormsby Park,” McLean says.

“I think she would be disappointed but... I think the reality would be she’d understand the value of the property was beyond what she ever envisioned it being worth and would understand why local government didn’t buy it and why her executors sold it for what they did.”

Established as a park, McLean says the land would have added to a string of publicly owned properties along the lake, including the Mackie Lake House and the Bishop Bird Sanctuary.

“It would’ve been a nice continuum for the community to have that much lakeshore preserved now and into the future,” McLean says.

The current zoning of the land is residential, so an commercial ventures—like a resort—would have to go through Coldstream council for approval. 

The property is listed number 90 on B.C. Assessment's top 100 valued residential properties in 2014, with a taxable value of $3.5 million. 

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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