Two Nanaimo-based developers are planning a 33-home "econeighbourhood" in Cedar, where residents won't have to worry about paying costly B.C. Hydro bills or running out of water.
Planners of the Kirkstone Place neighbourhood, which will be built on a nine-acre lot near Hemer Park, will make use of solar and geothermal heating methods, rainwater harvesting and permaculture-based organic gardens and streets.
Construction will start as soon as summer 2014, pending zoning permits.
Jack Anderson, who is planning the Kirkstone Place through his company Greenplan & Associates, built his first solar passive house in 1985 and has been working towards a large scale development ever since.
"We hope that Kirkstone Place will be a springboard for how other neighbourhoods will be developed in the future," he said.
"The project has been in the works, going back to the original ownership, since 2006. But the real vision for a sustainable neighbourhood started in 2011."
Anderson said there is potential for people living in Kirkstone Place to be almost completely self-reliant with water, energy and food. He said each unit will have its own rainwater harvesting system and he hopes to put in a geothermal heating system that will draw heat from the ground and loop it to each home.
"It's very possible that people might have no cost to B.C. Hydro living in this neighbourhood," he said.
"Projects like this will go a long way in terms of giving them security. If they're giving more energy back to B.C. Hydro than they expend, B.C. Hydro could be writing them a cheque."
The streets will be green as well - instead of regular streets with curbs and storm drains, there are plans to create "narrow green streets" with permeable bricks that absorb excess water.
Anderson said Kirkstone Place is currently going through the zoning amendment process with the Regional District of Nanaimo, which has created a specific model sustainable neighbourhood zoning designation for the property.
"We're hoping that the zoning amendment process will be complete next spring and that we will be in a position to start the first phase of construction next summer," he said.
Emanuel Hajek, the developer and contractor for Kirkstone Place, said there are no solid plans or cost outlines yet, as community consultations have yet to happen.
More information is available at www.kirkstoneplace.ca.
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