(Update: Adding video, comments from developer, conservation group)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregon conservation groups are still pushing back against long-delayed plans for a 2,400-acre destination resort west of Redmond near Cline Falls.
The first phase of developing the Thornburgh Resort, which was first proposed about 15 years ago, would include 192 single-family homes, 37 overnight lodging units, private roads and other resort amenities.
The resort also has plans for artificial lakes.
Thornburgh Resort proposes to use on-site groundwater to satisfy its water needs. The proposal says the aquifers that will provide that groundwater are hydrologically connected to Alder Springs, which feeds into Whychus Creek.
Some area residents told NewsChannel 21 Thursday this could potentially raise water temperatures and lead to a loss of fish and wildlife.
“The middle Deschutes River, from spring to the summer, is reduced to 65 cubic feet per second,” said Yancy Lind, who runs the blog Central Oregon Informed Angler. “Thornburgh is asking just for phase one for 9 cfs of groundwater -- that’s 14 percent of the flow in the middle Deschutes for a golf course. And that’s just Phase 1.”
Kameron DeLashmutt, the proposed resort’s founder and developer, said the site plan's water usage would roughly be about 0.48 CFS, not 9 CFS.
DeLashmutt said he had consulted with a team of experts, including hydrologists, geologists, and botanists, back in 2004 as part of the initially permitting process.
“We’ve gone over and above what is required or provided far greater mitigation than we needed to provide,” DeLashmutt said. “But it doesn’t matter what we do. It’s not enough. Our main opponent is an ideological battle.”
He said the land that will be used for the resort has belonged to his family since 1953, frequently used as cow pastures.
At a meeting last week of Deschutes County commissioners, administrative approval of a site plan review for the Phase A golf course at the Thornburgh Resort was appealed by Central Oregon LandWatch and county resident Nunzie Gould.
When completed, Thornburgh is expected to have about 1,000 homes, 475 overnight lodging units and three golf courses.
“We’re very good stewards of the land and what we’re doing,” DeLashmutt said. “It’s deeply personal to us. ”
Ben Gordon, the executive director for the Central Oregon LandWatch, said his organization wants to see proof of that.
“It’s one thing to say he’s working with experts to come up with a good plan, but it is another to have it be iron-clad,” Gordon said. “It’s always important to ask ourselves what’s the intent here and what implications it has for the quality of life we as Central Oregonians have come to appreciate.”
DeLashmutt said the addition of another destination resort would bring an estimated 1,400 jobs to the region and boost the economy.
He did not give a date as to when the first phase of construction on the resort would begin, but said it would be “soon.”
Central Oregon already has nine resorts -- Black Butte Ranch, Brasada Ranch, Eagle Crest, Mount Bachelor Village, Pronghorn, Riverhouse on the Deschutes, Seventh Mountain, Sunriver and Tetherow.