Pine Lake housing project rejected
A proposed 380-lot housing development on Pine Lake has been rejected by Red Deer County council.
Mayor Jim Wood said on Tuesday he’s not opposed to development around the lake but the project was just too big and would have a negative effect on the Pine Lake community.
“I think we need to be very mindful of what density and what size of development we’re going to have,” said Wood, shortly before council unanimously voted against an area structure plan necessary for the project to go ahead.
Coun. Dave Hoar also had problems with the scale of the development.
“It is my belief that 300 or 400 houses on 100 or so acres will definitely change the character of the community,” said Hoar.
He encouraged the group of landowners behind the project to consider a smaller project with fewer homes and more land preserved in its natural state.
“I think there is room for some development. Is there room for a development of this intensity? In my mind, it gives me lots of difficulty.”
The developers’ proposed 110 cottage, 95 single-family, 92 multi-family and 83 mixed-use lots on 126 acres at the south end of the lake.
Amenities would have included a manufactured pond with its own beach, a lakeside trail with viewpoints and a boat launch for non-motorized craft.
Coun. Philip Massier called the proposal a “little over-intensification” and noted development heightens the risk of pollution problems.
About half a dozen residents urged council to turn down the project, citing the impact on the lake, natural areas and the community by introducing so many homes to the area. “Once the damage is done, (the lake) can’t be returned to a pre-development state,” lake resident Don Nielsen told council.
More residents also means more boats, which will increase safety risks on a lake already seeing too much traffic on many summer weekends.
Nielsen said after the meeting that many residents around the lake will be pleased with council’s decision.
The project would have plunked a population twice the size of Delburne’s on the south end of the lake, he said.
“It’s too much.”
Area farmer David Pope told council he was not opposed to development but wondered how many other projects would follow if this one was approved.
“Where does it ever end?”
Randy Gibson, a consultant for the development group, said after the meeting the densities proposed in the development were taken straight from the county’s Pine Lake Area Concept Plan, which was approved earlier this year and acts as a guide for future development around the lake.
“We’re not looking for more density,” said Gibson, a principal with RGA Designs of Bragg Creek.
The developers have spent six years on the project and done much work ensuring the environment was protected through setbacks and the creation of reserves to protect wildlife habitats.
Those behind the project also stressed to council they were not building a gated resort, but a community that would lure young families to the area and provide an economic boost.
Coun. Penny Archibald was absent on Tuesday.