Proposed golf development in Peachland won't be getting more than 9 holes, says developer

No more than 9 holes

A second group planning to develop the former Ponderosa golf course lands on Pincushion Mountain told Peachland council they aren’t on side with a vision presented at a public hearing on Tuesday.

The group, which includes the Westbank First Nation, said an expectation they would build a nine-hole golf course would make their project economically unfeasible.

The hearing was held to consider rezoning and official community plan amendments that would allow Romspen Group to build a nine-hole golf course and 445-unit development on the southern portion of the property. Romspen, a large real-estate investment company, is proposing to build “The Pines at Ponderosa.”

The plan has been that the developers of the northern part of the property would also build a nine-hole course. People have repeatedly said in public meetings that building a golf course is a priority.

But officials with the group that owns the northern half of the property had strong words about the golf course and other expectations. Rezoning of the Romspen lands should not apply to their property, they said.

Norm Porter with Beech Westgard developers, who said he’s one of the owners, complained about the lack of consultation.

Porter explained the northern lands are 150 acres in size, but only 58 acres are developable. If they have to build a nine-hole golf course, that would only leave 18 acres to build on, he said.

“The public is being misled here,” he said. “There will not be and there cannot be another nine holes built on that property. And we shouldn’t have the public have expectations that there will be another nine holes,” he said.

Porter said his group, referred to at various times as Pincushion, Alpines, Pincushion Northlands and variations on those names, was not satisfied with how Peachland has handled the development plans.

”I do disagree with the planner’s position that we were extensively consulted. It’s simply unfair what’s being done to us. We are owed a degree of fairness and a procedural fairness and it didn’t happen.

Chuck Westgard said his group has 320 investors, including Romspen, which has a minority share.

“We should have been made part of the process. Westgard said.

Porter, Westgard and their colleagues said they didn’t object to Romspen’s plans for its piece of land, but said those plans shouldn’t apply to them.

“We collectively believe the flawed process that has been followed by the district is illegal,” Westgard said.

WFN Chief Robert Louie made the same points as his partners, but in a more conciliatory tone.

“We want to work with you Mr. Mayor with the council, again with the residents of Peachland to put in the appropriate amenities needed for public use and enjoyment. We know it’s a difficult process. There’s give and take, but we think we can work our way through this. We want to be a good partner.”

After a couple of residents complained how messy the Ponderosa lands have become after 10 years of relative inactivity, James Marshall, another member of the ownership group came to the podium.

He told council the group might be considering something like a resort hotel and spa. Instead of golf, the group might focus its recreation efforts on pickleball and trails, he said.

“We will be bringing forward an application and a proposal. There’s an opportunity to do more for Peachland than bring another competing second nine-hole golf course,” he said.

Council made no decisions after the hearing.

Development at the site has been delayed for more than a decade. A massive project with a golf course promoted by Greg Norman was announced in 2011. The existing course was shut down. Since then, 69 of an originally proposed 2,100 housing units have been built.

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