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LIVING TRANQUILLE: From VISION to a Mixed-Use Self-Reliant Community

Published On: July 30, 2021

How does one translate the Vision of the Tranquille on the Lake Neighbourhood Plan (the Neighbourhood Plan) into a mixed use, largely self-reliant agrihood community? Thankfully, the municipally approved Neighbourhood Plan provides the tools to achieve that in the form of Policy Context supported by Guiding Principles, a General Land Use Plan, a description of Community Amenities, and an outline of onsite Servicing and Infrastructure requirements. In addition, Form, Character, and Sustainability Guidelines compliment guidance on future Environmental Management.

The 2021 Tranquille Master Development Plan has embraced these tools to translate the vision of the Tranquille on the Lake Neighbourhood Plan into a redevelopment road map that will be the corner stone of a new mixed use, self reliant agrihood community in Kamloops. A healthy and sustainable community. “A place with clean air and pristine drinking water where residents can walk, bike, or roll to access their daily needs; where wildlife and nature thrive; where local food systems provide nourishment; and where secure, green jobs support a vibrant local economy”.

The first order of business in moving the vision forward has been engaging with the BC Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to finalize farm boundaries. The preliminary Land Use Zone Boundary Options (page 44) in the Neighbourhood Plan were provided to give the future developer of Tranquille flexibility in maximizing farm and development efficiencies. These preliminary boundaries provided the springboard to the current ALC application which focuses on finalizing the farm’s boundaries. A detailed Farm Plan and budget underpinning all aspects of the Tranquille Farm was prepared and presented to the ALC for their consideration in late 2020.

The original seven Community Amenities in the Tranquille on the Lake Neighbourhood Plan have been increased substantially with the addition of a more intensive agricultural plan, the Lakehouse community center, subsidized daycare, electric bus service connecting to Kamloops City system, a waterfront boutique Inn and wedding center, vineyards & winery, a wild salmon conservation program, and possibly an interpretive education center developed and operated in partnership with one or more not for profit organizations. More amenities are being considered.

Onsite Servicing and Infrastructure requirements have been advanced. Extensive ground water exploration has led to the discovery of a productive aquifer yielding large amounts of high-quality ground water. The construction of  a production well and construction of two monitoring wells has been completed. Once more explorative work is completed and requisite approvals are in hand, water from the aquifer could potentially become a key component of the future Wild Salmon conservation program. Domestic water needs for the project (excluding agricultural needs) will be supplied via a planned intake on Kamloops Lake. A water conservation strategy that brings together under one management model surface water (the lake), the historic farm irrigation licences, decommissioning of old site wells, and potential recycling of community grey water, will result in significant overall water conservation while simultaneously improving aquatic life in the Tranquille River. Investigations are ongoing regarding the role the farm may play in absorbing household organic waste and composting it for field application.

The Form, Character and Sustainability Guidelines of the Neighbourhood Plan are being significantly expanded as the development team works through a Tranquille on the Lake Climate Action Plan. Given its design as a eminently walkable mixed use self reliant community that is connected into the City’s River Trail system, the potential for residents and visitors to obtain much of their fresh food from the onsite Farm Market (reducing fossil fuel transport), and access a broad range of onsite community amenities (without using a car), connection to City’s Public Transportation System via a Tranquille On the Lake private electric bus, and an extensive carbon sequestering tree canopy as well as grassland which will act as a carbon sink, one can see Tranquille will be a surprisingly low carbon footprint champion. In addition to all of this, the deconstruction of Tranquille’s long abandoned and unusable buildings and infrastructure will create even more carbon savings as much of the material in them is salvaged and recycled.

The Environmental Management guidelines of the Neighbourhood Plan are being developed in response to the in-depth investigations carried out by professional biologists and others with specialized training. A great deal of work has been done and more is underway. These guidelines will provide the foundation for ongoing management of the health and wellness of Tranquille’s wetland and agricultural ecosystems.

Imagine waking up each morning to life in a car light community where you can easily walk, roll, or bike anywhere in the community to meet up with friends for a coffee or glass of wine later in the day, enjoy recreating, pick up fresh food, stop by the convenience store, drop your kids off at day care or explore any of the myriad community amenities located a few minutes from your home!

If you have not yet read the Tranquille on the Lake Neighbourhood Plan, you can find it here on the City of Kamloops website.