In the seventh instalment of our series Building Kamloops, we take a drive about 20 minutes west of the city to Tobiano. Since the golf course was built in 2007, a community has followed, and despite some economic uncertainty and changes in ownership, Tobiano is flourishing more than it ever has before.
Tobiano is a community west of Kamloops with beautiful views of Kamloops Lake, where water sports are an every day occurrence for some during the summer, while others opt to play the famous Tobiano golf course.
But it's quickly becoming more than a resort community with people calling it their permanent home.
"We've seen both an increase from Kamloops residents, some from the surrounding area, the Cariboo, the Okanagan, and certainly a large number of people coming out of the Lower Mainland, primarily the Surrey to Abbotsford area," says part-owner of Tobiano Mike Ternier, who bought the real estate development with four other partners in 2014 after Tobiano went into receivership under former owner Mike Grenier.
There are 15 houses currently under construction at Tobiano, and while it may not seem like a staggering number, builders working on the houses say the last year has really taken off.
"Last year we were building 6-7 houses out here. Some of those houses were actually completed in the earlier part of this year, so homeowners could move in," said one of the project managers with Absolute Homes John Murray. "This year we're looking at 10 houses in Tobiano alone, seven which are being right now and three that are in the permitting stage."
But building is happening in every corner of the community, including three custom homes by DW Builders, who are also constructing 10 condo units at the Summer's Landing development near the Tobiano golf pro shop.
The Ranchlands development, located on the east side of the community, is where the most building activity is going on.
"We're just seeing lots of stuff go on out here at Tobiano," said another project manager with Absolute Homes Randy Brown. "It seemed like Tobiano had a slow start at first, but now that a lot of people are seeing the development of all the houses going on out here, there's a desire to get in on what's going on out here."
It's taken a decade for Tobiano to take off. Launched 11 years ago , the community suffered a setback in 2011 with the development company and golf course going into receivership. Ternier now owns both entities and says things are starting to get heated up again.
"The first year [in 2014] was a little bit slow. I think people were just waiting to see what was happening," said Ternier. "Now that they see construction activity here, all the houses that are underway, new units being built at Summer's Landing, 21 new units proposed for The Fairways, about 15 new houses under construction. They're seeing that things are really starting to happen."
Lots at Tobiano are starting around $160,000, which Ternier says are cheaper than lots in the more luxurious neighbourhoods in Kamloops like Juniper and Aberdeen. Ternier feels it's why more people are moving out there.
"That's getting you a 12,000 sq. ft. lot that's totally usable, so compared to Kamloops where the average lot is maybe around 6,000 sq. ft.," he said. "We're almost twice the size and probably 20 per cent less money."
Ternier says much more is planned for the future, including a village that will feature a grocery store and other amenities. Plans on the project are expected wrap up by the end of the year and construction of the first phase to begin in 2019.
"We'll see small officers for professionals, artisans, a small grocery store, the community amenity building with a pool, hot tub, weight room, that type of facility," he noted.
By the end of the development, Ternier expects there to be up to 1,800 units.
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