Sage Hills For Sale signs up, but financing not finalized yet

The public might be surprised to see For Sale signs at the site of the proposed Sage Hills development, but the project proponent nevertheless hopes financing will be in place next month thanks to an overseas funder.

Liberty Mortgage, a Calgary-based firm that has been providing the mortgage, has a court order to sell the Royston property.

"They've listed the property to protect themselves," Sage Hills Development president David Russell said. "Ideally we didn't want it to happen but it did and we're just carrying on. We'll get it done. We have a financing commitment from an overseas funder. We're working to get that closed."

The Victoria-based company plans to build a state-of-the-art, sustainable community at a 2,083-acre parcel at the northwest side of Royston. It would be anchored by a private sports academy and K to 12 school, and would include specialized university programs with ties to North Island College.

A proposed ice sheet would be available to the public at night and selected weekends. The plan also calls for the creation of a regional park where the parcel borders the Trent River.

"It will be the same project," said Russell, dispelling rumours the company only plans to build houses or golf courses. "All our partners are still in place, everybody's keen to go ahead."

The Sage Hills team includes David Strong, a former University of Victoria president who helped found University Canada West.

Once financing is in place, the company can apply for permitting, which Russell estimates would be about a two-year process that includes zoning and "infrastructure arrangements." The highway interchange is a provincial matter.

"There's quite a bit of work there," he said. "There's lots of activity."

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