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LIVING TRANQUILLE RESPONDS TO TRANSITION KAMLOOPS CONCERNS

Published On: February 7, 2021

LIVING TRANQUILLE Responds to Transition Kamloops

Concerns about the Tranquille Master Plan have been posted on the Transition Kamloops website. We have addressed those concerns in this blog with our response. We trust you find the updated information provided by the Tranquille development team helpful as you and your community engage in the LIVING TRANQUILLE conversation.

Respectfully, the Tranquille Development Team

General Concerns

Transition Kamloops

⦁ Most of the info out there is from the developer. There is a need to develop an independent narrative.

Tranquille

⦁ The developer, Ignition Tranquille Developments Inc. welcomes all public feedback and believes it is essential to developing new communities.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ We need to move quickly, prior to major money being put into consultation by the developer. Each permit secured is a building block for the developer.

Tranquille

⦁ Informal discussions have been held with representatives of many groups and individuals during the last 24 months. The more formal LIVING TRANQUILLE community engagement process was commenced in January 2021.

⦁ The Tranquille on the Lake Neighbourhood Plan was adopted into the Official Community Plan of Kamloops in August 2012. Please check it out on the City website.

⦁ The Tranquille on the Lake Neighbourhood Plan (Section 4.5) stated the determination of final farm boundaries would be concluded at a future date.

⦁ The British Columbia Agriculture Land Commission excluded approximately 112 acres of ALR land for development over the time period from 1989 to 2007.

⦁ The current ALC application is asking the ALC to finalize farm boundaries which have been in limbo for 31 years.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ The water application (to use groundwater for the development) provides the first opportunity to object to the development. Without water, the project stops.

Tranquille

⦁ After extensive onsite hydrology investigation spanning several years, and the drilling of such wells as were needed to prove the existence of a quality aquifer with excellent water quality a ground water permit application as per Water Sustainability Act regulations and guidelines was submitted to the province for approval.

Transition Kamloops

Natural Area issues

⦁ Tranquille Creek is salmon-bearing and requires a high level of protection.

Tranquille

⦁ We totally agree with this concern which is why the Tranquille Master Concept Plan includes a proposed wild salmon restoration project on the Tranquille River and a natural interpretive center educating visitors about the ecosystems of Tranquille and the lands surrounding it.

⦁ The owners of Tranquille have been working closely with the province to improve salmon habitat in the river by voluntarily maintaining year-round connectivity from the Tranquille River to Kamloops Lake. Dams owned, operated, and safely maintained by the owners of Tranquille are responsible for the continuous flow of water year-round in the Tranquille River. Without them, the Tranquille River would revert to its historic flows, possibly even going dry, in a time of drought resulting in significant damage to the Tranquille’s fish population.

⦁ The Tranquille property owners have worked closely with several not for profit organizations in contributing to the Coho spawning bed project at the mouth of the Tranquille River several years ago and with First Nations fisheries staff  seeking to restore the usability of the fish ladder at the Tranquille Diversion Dam in Lac du Bois.

⦁ A Fisheries Impact Assessment study has been completed. We are looking forward to further conversation about this and related issues together with First Nations.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ Placer mining and the irrigation dam installed to water orchards has already negatively impacted the salmon population.

Tranquille

⦁ A very detailed study has calculated approximately 5% of the annual water flow of the Tranquille River is diverted through the diversion dam to the Tranquille Farm. This minimal diversion does not have a negative impact on the Tranquille River fish population. The ability to release water into the Tranquille via the Tranquille Farm’s management of river flows at the dams on Tranquille and Truda Lakes ensures river aquatic life is protected.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ The proposal will cause a serious loss of habitat in an area of huge ecological importance to wildlife (birds and snakes). Farming is more accommodating to indigenous species than single-family homes.

Tranquille

⦁ The approximately 600 acres of the Tranquille Wildlife Management area immediately to the southeast of the property is an important wetland that provides protection to over 200 kinds of birds. The 580 acre Tranquille Ecological Reserve to the west provides protection for the Ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir ecosystems. The 38,000-acre Lac du Bois Grasslands Park adjacent to the north boundary of the property protects our beautiful grasslands ecosystem. The developer is committed to supporting the objectives and respecting the guidelines of each of these protected areas by ensuring the uninterrupted movement of snakes and migratory birds and other animals along traditional ecosystem corridors. Furthermore, the Tranquille Farm plan will ensure the intersection of farm and nature reserve boundaries is designed to protect surrounding ecosystem interactions. Further baseline research in this regard is planned.

⦁ Community members will be invited to provide input into the Tranquille Ecosystem Management Plan once baseline research is completed.

⦁ The developer is committed to the enhancement of Tranquille’s ecosystem health. Initial impact assessments on fish habitat and species at risk have been conducted. A Certificate of Compliance for the property was received from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy upon completion of the site’s environmental cleanup.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ Increased traffic will increase human / wildlife accidents.

Tranquille

⦁ This is of concern to the developer. Baseline information will be gathered to quantify this problem and determine what best practices successfully used elsewhere are.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ There is no Environmental Impact Assessment required for the area, despite high values and park adjacency.

Tranquille

⦁ It is true that no Environmental Impact Assessment for the project is required by legislation since the project does not exhibit any of the criteria required to trigger an Environmental Impact Assessment. However, this in no way lessons the commitment of the developer to the protection and long-term vibrancy of Tranquille’s ecosystems. We are reaching out to community members and relevant professionals to ensure all aspects of potential environmental impact are fully understood and are respected in the Tranquille Ecosystem Management Plan.

Transition Kamloops

Archeology

⦁ The heritage value of the area is unique on a global scale. Secwepemc people have continuously occupied the area from 7500 years ago, and likely back to end of the last Ice Age, and into the contact period. Unusual for a site of this importance, the archeological record is relatively intact.

⦁ When the first iteration of this proposal came up in the early 2000s, they were obliged to do an Archeological Impact Assessment, and a very cursory one was done.

Tranquille

⦁ In accordance with provincial guidelines and legislation, an Archaeology Assessment of the land proposed to be developed was completed and was then followed by an Archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA) in 2010. The latter involved specialists and field staff provided by the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN) who worked with Madrone Consulting to implement the AIA. Several archaeology sites of varying sizes were eventually identified across the property and registered with the BC Archaeology Branch. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/natural-resource-use/archaeology .

⦁ As the project is built out over 15 or so years further archaeology work may be required on development land that may not have been included in the 2010 AIA process.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ Historical activities include hunting, fishing, plant-gathering and processing, and also births, deaths, and burial ceremonies.

Tranquille

⦁ The developer is hopeful a workable and timely framework can be worked out with the SSN and government to facilitate the implementation of an SSN Cultural Heritage Assessment (CHA) process led by SSN community members.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ This was one of Kamloops’ major urban centres, with population in the thousands.

Tranquille

⦁ Approximately 1,000 staff and patients lived at Tranquille at its zenith. Over 1,000 more staff commuted to work at Tranquille. The Tranquille Mental Health Institution was one of Kamloops largest employers.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ The development as proposed is absolutely incompatible with heritage protection and indigenous rights.

Tranquille

⦁ The Tranquille site, as is all the land in and around Kamloops, is on unceded territory as noted on the home page of the www.tranquille.ca website. The development team is committed to working closely with the SSN and Province of BC to ensure that indigenous rights as they pertain to the Tranquille site will be respected and honored in perpetuity.

Transition Kamloops
⦁ Archeological permitting and heritage permitting will be required.

Tranquille

⦁ The developer is fully aware of this. All archaeology done to date and any that may be be done in the future has been/will be done within the legislative guidelines of the Heritage Conservation Act.

Transition Kamloops

Agriculture

⦁ The removal of an additional 51 hectares from the Agricultural Land Reserve is being requested, to make way for 3000 people.

Tranquille

⦁ The current ALC application is requesting the removal of 1.13 hectares of land from the ALR not 51 hectares. Approximately 25% of the site is being set aside for community development, approximately 25% is allocated to protected riparian setbacks, and the remaining half of the land is allocated to the farming. As part of this application the developer is requesting that the part of the Tranquille Farm not currently in the Agriculture Land Reserve be added to it.

⦁ In the 31 years since the government sold the land no farmer has sought to purchase the farm due its many farm related liabilities which have grown year by year. The few farmers who leased the land eventually walked away as the complex gravity fed irrigation system collapsed from lack of investment and maintenance. This system includes dams on three lakes and a diversion dam in Lac du Bois. The developer has committed to place several million dollars in trust solely for the purpose of modernizing the farm and its infrastructure. No one has done this over the past 31 years.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ The agricultural potential of the site is massive, with the top two classes of agricultural-rated lands (70% Class 1, and 30% Class 2). Only 1% of all land in the ALR is Class 1.

Tranquille

⦁ The Tranquille site is NOT comprised of 70% Class 1 and 30% Class 2 land.

⦁ The Canadian Land Capability Classifications for soil ranks soil from Class 1 to Class 7. The latter represents the poorest growing conditions. Extensive baseline soil assessment work has been done at Tranquille by soil classification experts (test pits were dug across the entire property). The results of this study were provided to the Agriculture Land Commission over 14 years ago. Study results (excluding any riparian land which cannot be farmed) were:

⦁ 52.9% of the Tranquille property is classed as Class 2 soil improvable to Class 1 soil if properly irrigated.

⦁ 21.12 is classified as Class 2 to Class 3 soil improvable to Class 2 soil with appropriate soil management tactics such as irrigation and in some cases rock removal.

⦁ 25.98% is classified as Class 3 to Class 5 soil improvable to Class 3 to Class 4 with appropriate soil management consisting of primarily rock removal and then irrigation.

⦁ When the term “improvable” is used it means that good farm management can improve the Soil Classification through things such as rock picking, irrigation, increase in soil organic matter, etc.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ Vineyards do not contribute to food sovereignty.

Tranquille

⦁ The vision for the Tranquille Master Planned Community is to be an Agrihood where the farm is central to the community and community life.

⦁ This will be one of the first developments in Canada featuring a farm as large as Tranquille’s, specifically designed as a community amenity which facilitates community health and wellness through onsite food production, value added food production, farm education, agritourism, production related research, and community social events celebrating the annual rhythms of Tranquille Farm life.

⦁ This vision was articulated in the 2012 Tranquille on the Lake Neighbourhood Plan found on the City of Kamloops website.

⦁ The Tranquille Farm will be an intensive, mixed use, regenerative farm featuring extensive market gardens, orchards, vineyards, and pasture.

⦁ Fresh, site grown, produce of all kinds, locally grown meat, wild fish, eggs, and dairy products including cheese are planned to be offered through the onsite Tranquille Farm Market.

⦁ Value added site grown product will also be featured in the Tranquille Market.

⦁ On stony soil not conducive to vegetable growing, vineyards will be planted. The Tranquille Farm Plan calls for intercropping practises in these vineyards. This consists of planting hardy crops between the rows of grape vines in a manner that contributes to overall production, soil & ecosystem health. Intercropping may include hardy grasses that grow best on poorer soils.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ When this land was sold, the current footprint was seen as the development potential. Now, the need for reclamation and the high cost of taking down buildings is being used as a reason to get more land out of the ALR.

Tranquille

⦁ When the land was sold the Tranquille Farm was also seen as prime agricultural potential. Thirty-one years later neither potential has been realized. Some farmers have tried to farm the land. No one has succeeded for more than a year or two. The bottom line is that no farmer was prepared to invest in the farm infrastructure upgrades required and no one was prepared to risk investing into field crops that could be lost due to loss of water. Many have tried.

⦁ Over time farm infrastructure rehabilitation costs have only risen exacerbating the poor agriculture economics of the Tranquille Farm.

⦁ Today the farm requires millions of dollars in investment to restore the gravity fed irrigation system to the farm which includes upgrades to the four dams on this system (three of them located approximately 40 kilometers north of the Tranquille Farm) and replacing the deteriorated 80+ year old wood stave mile long irrigation pipe which runs from Tranquille’s diversion dam in Lac du Bois park to the Tranquille Farm. The rebuilding of this irrigation system will result in NO fossil fuels being consumed in the future to drive crop irrigation. This is incredible rare for any farming operation, let alone one of considerable scale.

⦁ In addition, the concrete ruins of the old pig barn must be deconstructed and the underground irrigation distribution system across the farm must be modernized.

⦁ Finally, new above ground irrigation systems must be purchased and installed.

⦁ Fencing must also be rebuilt, invasive weeds that dominate much of the farm must be dealt with, and farm equipment must be purchased.

All of this must happen before any serious farming can begin. A comprehensive farm plan and supporting business plan has been submitted to the Agriculture Land Commission. The developer has advised the Agriculture Land Commission they are prepared to put funds aside in a Trust specifically for the Tranquille Farm to ensure sufficient investment capital is available to modernize farm infrastructure and equipment.

Transition Kamloops

Grasslands

⦁ The Grasslands Conservation Council has written to the Agricultural Land Commission with their concerns.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ The Agriculture Land Commission forwards all letters of concern to our development team. The Project manager personally responds to each letter of concern to foster an informed conversation and to learn about concerns Kamloopsians and our neighbours have. This includes the Grasslands Conservation Council and every other letter of concern written to the ALC or the City of Kamloops by anyone.

Transition Kamloops

First Nations

⦁ It is important to acknowledge that the development is on unceded Secwepemc territory.

Tranquille

⦁ This is acknowledged at the bottom of the home page ⦁ www.tranquille.ca .

Transition Kamloops

⦁ The ability to exercise aboriginal hunting and fishing rights in the area is paramount

Tranquille

⦁ In principle, the developer supports this and within the boundaries set by Canadian law and good conservation practices sees no reason the aboriginal rights to fish in the Tranquille River and Kamloops Lake would be disturbed.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ The Province, individual Ministries and the City have new obligations under UNDRIP, through the Declaration Act. The developer believes they only need to satisfy 2010 requirements and is completely ignorant of the larger implications

Tranquille

⦁ The development team is very cognizant of UNDRIP and its implications. We are awaiting clarification on its implementation by the provincial government and the SSN so that we may respond in a fulsome manner.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ The developer is using the conversations/consultations with SSN as a selling point to further the development, even though the SSN is not in favour of the proposal.

Tranquille

⦁ Our discussions with First Nations and the Province of BC are confidential and ongoing.

⦁ We are not here to sell the project’s homes (although in the future we hope to) so much as we are here to listen, provide accurate information, and to discuss issues together. It takes a community to build a community. A failed community is an unsellable community.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ The developer is offering First Nations minor consideration and asking that the pace of development not be slowed.

Tranquille

⦁ The Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN) has asked that all discussions between the developer and itself are confidential. The developer-initiated contact with the Chief and Councils of the Skeetchestn and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc in January 2019. The developer subsequently initiated contact with the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN) in April of 2019. In the intervening months, the developer has continually made every possible effort to engage with the SSN.

Transition Kamloops

Community

⦁ Public access to beaches needs protection.

Tranquille

⦁ We agree. However public access to the foreshore is legislated by the Province of BC not the developer. The developer will be increasing public access to the Tranquille waterfront. Feel free to check out the blog LIVING TRANQUILLE’S WATTER FRONT at ⦁ www.traqnuille.ca. The developer will also be providing the city with a significant parcel of land for a municipal waterfront park in Cooney Bay and will built a boat launch and related improvements in the park. A public pathway system throughout Tranquille is being planned to connect the Rivers Trail System at the eastern edge of the site to Cooney Bay and ultimately to Lac du Bois Park.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ The carbon footprint of the proposal and the obvious sprawl is in direct conflict with the goals of the Official Community Plan.

Tranquille

⦁ The entire development team is committed to lessening the development’s carbon footprint. Examples include the provision of fresh food for onsite residents (eliminates the food transportation footprint), the recycling of as much of the building materials deconstructed as is possible thus eliminating carbon emissions produced by potentially trucking this waste to a landfill, the introduction of an electric bus service to connect residents to the end of the City of Kamloops bus line, the provision of onsite convenience orientated service retail to eliminate the need to drive to town for daily services (coffee shop, hair dresser, convenience store, liquor store, pharmacy etc.). Subsidized onsite community day care will reduce the need for parents to drive offsite to another day care facility. Further energy efficiency opportunities in housing, farming (gravity fed water that requires ZERO fossil fuel input), waste management, and many other areas will be closely considered throughout all planning stages. As we identify areas where we can lower our carbon footprint we will.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ Traffic will increase to service residents, and no transit will be available.

Tranquille

⦁ As mentioned previously an electric bus service is planned to support reduced personal vehicle usage.

⦁ Every effort will be made to foster working from home offices by providing onsite day care.

⦁ Daily needs such as fresh food and convenience items will be available onsite.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ The type of development itself, an isolated pod of suburban development, is outdated and unsustainable .

Tranquille

⦁ To the development team’s knowledge there is no other development in Canada that will have, or plans to have, a such a large, diverse, commercial farm at the heart of the development serving as a community amenity designed to for the betterment of community health and wellness. This is about moving the conversation “beyond sustainability” and setting a new standard for developing Master Planned Communities in Canada.

Transition Kamloops

Future consideration

⦁ Development on the site should never expand beyond the current footprint of what is actively being used for food production. Go up, not out.

Tranquille

⦁ The Tranquille Master Plan for the area where all the old buildings and infrastructure are located, is redevelopment consisting of multi story family residences architecturally set in a beautifully landscaped, walkable environment. Furthermore, while there is market demand in Kamloops to live in a multi story buildings many Kamloopsians prefer to live in a ground orientated home. Our plans include a variety of highly innovative single and multi family designs that reduce lot size while increasing community green space and amenities.
We look forward to sharing this information with the public in the coming months.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ The entire landform and some ways up the valley could be designated a heritage conservation area, which could allow a lot of public education uses.

⦁ There is potential for purchase by the Province for park designation or First Nations reconciliation.

Tranquille

⦁ In 1985 the province abandoned a plan to set a portion of Cooney Bay aside as a park. This idea was eventually dropped when the government decided to sell the entire Tranquille property. There has been no conversation between current ownership and the province regarding a purchase of the property since that time.

⦁ The developer is providing the City with a sizable area of land in Cooney Bay for a municipal park and will contribute to some of the development of the park. In addition, the developer plans to build a boat launch beside the park.

Transition Kamloops

⦁ A new vision supported by the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation and the larger community of Kamloops is required. Urban agriculture, tourism, wilderness and wetland conservation, and a cultural heritage site have been mentioned — all of which could be accommodated without increasing the current development footprint. It’s time for us to think beyond traditional stereotypes of land development before this precious piece of property is irrevocably changed.

Tranquille

⦁ Urban agriculture, tourism, wilderness and wetland conservation, a wild salmon conservation program, an interpretive center, and a farm, are a few of the things proposed for Tranquille. We encourage you to read the Tranquille on the Lake Neighbourhood Plan on the City of Kamloops website for further detailed information about the Tranquille vision. Please keep in mind some aspects of this document will be updated as our public engagement process and engagement with the First Nations and provincial government moves forward.

If anyone has any question or concern we encourage you to check out the blogs on www.tranquille.ca or reach out on Face Book at https://www.facebook.com/liveattranquille.