Red Deer’s Vanier Wood neighbourhood to get commercial development

Residents favoured strip mall plans over another high-density apartment

A formerly contentious commercial development for the edge of Vanier Woods was approved by Red Deer City Council this week.

Developer Darryl Copeland received the rezoning he wanted, as well as the change needed to the area restructure plan to build a 38,000 square-foot, two-storey strip mall on a triangular lot in Vanier Woods at 19th Street (Delburne Road) and Vermont Avenue.

He intends to open a convenience store, medical clinic, liquor outlet, car wash, gas station and other services at the site.

On Monday, several city councillors praised Copeland, of C2C Site Developments Inc., for taking the time to have a thorough discussion with area residents about the project. The most recent round of letters from Vanier Woods residents were overwhelmingly in favour of the development.

This was not the case in March, 2016 when Copeland’s plans for the 1.17 acre lot were voted down by council after many area residents complained about potential noise, traffic and other disruptions to their neighbourhood.

Copeland said this time residents understood more fully that what he was proposing would be far less obtrusive than what could otherwise be built on the lot.

It was originally zoned for multi-family residential, so another four-storey apartment building could be constructed, when a high-density building already exists in the neighbourhood.

One citizen expressed concern the public hearing about liquor sales at the site. Counc. Tanya Handley tried to ban this, but was out-voted by councillors who felt it would be tying the developer’s hands. Liquor sales are allowed under commercial zoning.

Copeland agreed to keep the liquor store as far away from residents as possible. He was also required by Council to build the gas station and car wash on the edge of the property closest to 19th Street.

The Calgary-based developer also agreed to retain as many mature trees as possible along the northwest border of the lot. A fence and green belt will separate the development from the closest homes.

Construction is expected to begin this spring and to be completed, in stages, by the spring of 2018.

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