Mark Brett/Western News Realtors Brian (left) and Joni Cutler look over plans with construction manager Martin Lemoine Tuesday at the Sendero Canyon residential development in the Upper Carmi area. A broken water main resulted in a year-long delay however work has begun on one house with four others expected to start soon.

Mark Brett/Western News Realtors Brian (left) and Joni Cutler look over plans with construction manager Martin Lemoine Tuesday at the Sendero Canyon residential development in the Upper Carmi area. A broken water main resulted in a year-long delay however work has begun on one house with four others expected to start soon.

Construction finally underway in new Penticton subdivision

Broken water main stalled work on 230-lot subdivision for a year, but first home is now rising up with four more on the way soon

After a year-long delay that resulted from a broken water main, the first house is finally going up in a new Penticton subdivision.

Construction began this summer on the home in Sendero Canyon, with work on four more expected to get underway later this fall.

The initial push to get the 230-lot subdivision in the Upper Carmi area on the market was derailed when a new waterline between a city-owned reservoir and one built by the developer ruptured in July 2012.

“It couldn’t have come at a worse time,” said Gordon Cameron, vice-president of Canadian Horizons Development Group.

Prior to the break, his firm had been preparing to turn over the new public works to the City of Penticton in order to gain the necessary approvals to register the subdivision, which was already outfitted with paved roads, traffic signs and street lights.

Cameron said the 1,600-metre water line was quickly replaced, but identifying the cause of the failure and assuring the city it wouldn’t happen again took much longer.

“The city’s position was: If we have to take over all these works, we don’t want a repeat of this where we will have the liability for it,” Cameron explained.

He said a consultant later determined “there might have been the over-insertion of some pipe as it was put together” the first time.

With that issue resolved and hammers now swinging, the local listing agent is eager to get to work.

Realtor Brian Cutler said four spec homes that will go up in the coming months will support sales in the new subdivision.

“People need to physically be able to walk into the house, look at it, touch it, feel it, and go, ‘Hey, this could be mine,” said Cutler, who has partnered with his mother, Joni, to sell Sendero Canyon.

He noted the development is the only new, non-strata subdivision under construction in Penticton. So far, 127 lots are serviced, and about half of those are on the market, with prices ranging from $135,000 to $250,000.

The master plan for the community calls for a mix of two-level homes with in-ground basements suitable for young families who want secondary suites, and single-storey ranchers that should appeal to more mature buyers, said Cameron, who expects Sendero Canyon’s appeal to reach beyond the region.

“Penticton has everything, but it still has some of that smaller-town charm, and we just see it as very appealing to the Albertan that wants to retire into the Okanagan Valley, or the person from the Lower Mainland that wants to retire into the area,” he explained.

“We really like the long-term potential of Penticton.”

Mayor Garry Litke is also optimistic.

“The long-term prospect for Penticton is fairly positive because of the anticipated hospital construction and construction of the remand centre, and the good-paying jobs that will then be attracted to those facilities,” he said.

“I expect that there will be an increase in demand for housing in Penticton, so if Sendero is in a position to satisfy that demand, I’ll be very pleased.”

Sendero Canyon was also in the headlines in late 2010 when city council moved to borrow $1.7 million to finance improvements to its water system necessary to support growth in the Upper Carmi area.

However, a strong negative response during the early stage of the alternate approval process caused council to abandon that idea and instead withdraw the required funds from its water reserve.