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Greg Norman and Norm Porter of Treegroup developments. (File Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Greg Norman and Norm Porter of Treegroup developments. (File Photo: Kelly Hayes)

Ponderosa development moves ahead

by - Story: 52914

Work on Peachland’s largest development and only golf course is moving ahead with crews concentrating on fire fuel mitigation and fairway clearing.

The project is on schedule with a 2011 target for opening the new Ponderosa Golf Course.

The $1 billion Ponderosa development centers on a new 18-hole, 7,100-yard golf course laid out by Greg Norman Golf Course Design.

New tee boxes, fairways and greens were surveyed and staked out in the fall and a professional forester was hired to inspect the thousands of trees on and surrounding the new golf course.

Pine beetle has devastated the bench lands around Pincushion Mountain, according to Steve Brewer, an ISA certified arborist.

The Ponderosa lands are populated by Ponderosa pine and mixed fir trees and Brewer said his inspection showed that 70 to 80 per cent of the trees are infected with pine beetle.

Most of the infected trees are in green-attack stage, appearing healthy, but infected nonetheless, according to Brewer. They will all die, adding to the significant fire hazard in the area.

Brewer noted that the infected trees must be removed to aid in the prevention of beetle spread.

Many of the dead and dying trees have now been removed by forestry crews. Salvageable trees were sent to a saw mill and those too far gone were ground up and used as fuel by the saw mill.

A stack of fir trees in the parking lot of the former club house will be used in the future by Treegroup in the building of a new club house for the golf course.

As part of its commitment to the environment, Treegroup is working on a replanting plan to stabilize slopes and valleys with turf grass and a mix of deciduous and coniferous tree species that are adaptable to the local climate.

As work continues, the existing trail network will be maintained and enhanced.

While some new land will be cleared for golf fairways and housing, more than half of planned development will take place on land that was previously cleared in the early 1900s.

Development engineers and designers from Greg Norman Golf Course Design worked together to ensure net-zero aggregate removal from the Ponderosa area.

This means soil and rock that is removed to make room for new fairways will be used elsewhere on the property, reducing gravel truck trips up and down the mountainside.

Treegroup continues to work with all levels of government on completing the transfer of 60 hectares (148 acres) of Crown land into the District of Peachland.

When the Crown land transfer is finalized, beetle kill and hazard tree removal can begin in that area.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure continues to work with Treegroup on finalizing plans for a new access road to Ponderosa and intersection with Hwy. 97 – a key component of the Peachland-approved Area Structure Plan.

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