October 2017 Board of Directors Update
Hearts and Hands
On behalf of the Naramata Centre Board of Directors, I'd like to thank all the volunteers who came to the Centre this week to help prepare the site and buildings for winter. Whether you raked leaves, cleaned and/or winterized buildings, provided music support, or helped in the many other tasks on site, we sincerely appreciate each and every one of you for your generous spirit in giving back this way. Thank you!
Following the Naramata Centre Society annual general meeting and Board of Directors meeting in May, we let our members and supporters know that, as one of the steps to keep the Centre financially viable, the Board will sell some of the Centre's 23 acres of land. It's fair to say that no Board member came onto the Board with this thought in mind. But, we all realize that we no longer need this large a footprint to serve our mission, and that selling some land has become a financial necessity - and our current reality.
In our May Board Update, we let you know that the land we will sell includes:
- The lots where the Children's house and playground are located, across from McLaren Hall
- All the land below the chapel where the former lower orchard was located, as long as the future use is compatible with the Chapel and Sacred Garden
- The land and buildings in the area where the Maple Courts and Cottage Court are located.
Activities since the AGM and May Board meeting
The Board has actively pursued a course of action for land sales. We pledged to keep you informed as we go through the process and, to that end, provide the following information about our recent activities.
Feedback from summer participants
Over the summer we spoke to participants at the Centre about land sales and we received important feedback, which we are incorporating into our current plan. One thing we heard loud and clear is that we should keep the footprint contiguous, so that Centre land is all connected. People were very concerned about selling all the Maple and Cottage Court land with no path to the beach. We will ensure that the land we keep is connected as we make decisions about land sales.
We have had many discussions with professionals in real estate and development as to the best course forward. Much of our original plan was based on the need to retain the sewage pump station near McLaren Hall and the Loft.
We have learned that this may not be required, providing more flexibility for our decision making
- New considerations for which pieces of property to sell
Based on the feedback and infor
mation we received over the summer we decided to reconsider which pieces of land to sell and how we should sell it. While we were together at our August board meeting, we walked the Centre lands and had another look at which pieces of land we would consider selling. We removed lots we had planned to sell from consideration to protect the space around the chapel and create a connection between the beach and the rest of the land we will retain. These decisions were captured on a map.
Our intent is not to sell all of the identified pieces,
but to list the possibilities as we determine the best layout and usage for our new footprint. (
See the map
for the pieces of land (in red) that could be considered for sale.)
Discussion about a joint community building
We reached out to, and met with, the elected Naramata representative on the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) to discuss the possibility of sharing a building that would house offices, a large meeting area, and other spaces determined to be important to the village and the Centre.
e Centre's contribution would be the land on which this building would be built.
Change in direction
Based on the information we received from the RDOS and others
a key change in direction for the board was to partner with a developer to develop the land we sell as a package,
so what is built is compatible with our future use and with the village, rather than sell individual lots.
Meeting with local Naramata community
Last week, Centre Board members Jim Simpson and Glen Timbers met in Columbia Hall with the RDOS representative, the Naramata Citizens Association, and local Naramata residents to discuss the plan to sell some Centre land.
Our intent is to keep local Naramatians up-to-date and engaged in the process.
About 80 people attended and showed interest and support in the Centre's approach. Read more in this
Selection of developer
Rather than sell the land piece by piece, an expression of interest will be issued to the development community in the next few weeks.
We will select a developer with a strong track record in community consultation and one who shares our values, who would be a partner with the Centre. We will then carefully develop a plan to move forward.
We will keep you updated as our plans take shape. Please refer to the May and August Board Updates for further information about land sales.
Chair, Naramata Centre Board of Directors
Ways to Stay Connected
- If you haven't already done so, become a Naramata Centre member to support the work of the Board.
- Watch for our monthly emailed newsletter to stay informed about Centre activities and Board plans as they unfold.
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- Check out our blog posts for news about the Centre.
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