DESERT: Ex-ranch

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Re­cre­ation & In­vest­ment Prop­er­ties -

The Cot­tages on Osoy­oos Lake f it the bill.

The project is on the north­east end of Osoy­oos Lake, billed as the warm­est lake in Canada in the only true desert area of the coun­try.

De­vel­oper Eric Van Maren of the Chilli­wack-based Van Maren Group is de­vel­op­ing the cot­tages in part­ner­ship with the Stelkia fam­ily, which has op­er­ated a ranch on the site for four gen­er­a­tions.

The Cot­tages project will have 280 sites at com­ple­tion, in three ar­eas: meadow, lake­front and hill­side.

Prices range from $295,000 to $968,900 and there is no Har­mo­nized Sales Tax (HST) or prop­erty trans­fer tax be­cause the land is leased (for 99 years) from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

The cot­tages range from 935 to 2,249 square feet and phase one oc­cu­pancy is es­ti­mated for spring 2012.

There is an em­pha­sis on out­door liv­ing and each cot­tage has screened porches.

The meadow sites will start at $295,000 for the smallest cot­tages, while the hill­side cot­tages are $350,000 to $450,000 at 1,700 to 2,000 square feet with base­ments and garages.

The lake­front homes start at 1,600 square feet and are priced at $720,000 and up.

Van Maren says he wanted to build some­thing that was fam­i­ly­ori­ented and was im­pressed by the cot­tage de­vel­op­ment at the Ve­randa Beach project in Oroville, Wash., just across the bor­der from Osoy­oos.

“The ad­van­tage for our project is, we are in Canada and we have the am­bi­ence of Osoy­oos and all its winer­ies — and we don’t have

MVisit our web­site un­der the head­ing, ‘Rec Prop­er­ties,’ for more sto­ries and photo gal­leries. any bor­der or tax­a­tion is­sues.”

The de­vel­oper ex­pects 20 per cent of his buy­ers will come from Al­berta, with the ma­jor­ity from the lower main­land of B.C. and the rest from the Okana­gan.

“These will be peo­ple in their 50s or 60s who are look­ing for some­where they can con­nect with their kids and grand­kids in a cot­tage ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Be­sides the 1,500 feet of lake­front and 500 feet of full sandy beach of Lake Osoy­oos, other ameni­ties for the project will in­clude a 7,000-square-foot club­house with full f it­ness cen­tre.

It will also have two pools, two hot tubs and a full out­door kitchen as part of a grand pool deck.

Other at­trac­tions in­clude boat slips and dock, along with two play­grounds and a mul­ti­tude of open green spa­ces.

The nos­tal­gia for the cot­tage ex­pe­ri­ence of the boomer gen­er­a­tion is re­flected in the “sales site” the project is tak­ing to po­ten­tial mar­kets.

Pulled by a 1973 Sub­ur­ban, the Airstream trailer harkens back to a child­hood where “the airstream would drive by the fruit stand and you thought: ‘Wow, those peo­ple have money’,” says Van Maren, who was born in the Okana­gan.

“It brings a smile to your face … it is nos­tal­gia. We see it when we drive down the high­way.”

Van Maren says hav­ing a mo­bile sales cen­tre al­lows it to be parked in dif­fer­ent places, as well as pro­vid­ing a good way of “start­ing a con­ver­sa­tion.”

As for the Bous­quets, the plan is to see their son grad­u­ate univer­sity and get on his feet while the cou­ple uses the Osoy­oos cot­tage as a sec­ond home.

After that, “in a heart­beat we’ll be out there” full time, says Toni.

The Bous­quets’ hill­side cot­tage will have a view of the moun­tains, the lake and “the big sky.”

The project is “on a lake, there are moun­tains, winer­ies and a small­town at­mos­phere. We wanted to stay in Canada so ev­ery­thing fell into our laps,” says Toni.

For a cou­ple that loves to hike, Jet Ski, and ski

Barb Livingstone, Cal­gary Her­ald

De­vel­oper Eric Van Maren at the Airstream trailer used as a sales cen­tre.

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