City council briefs – August 11

Two years after controversy ended over the Bower Natural Area, developers are looking for municipal support to build on the land south of the college.

Council debates junction

Two years after controversy ended over the Bower Natural Area, developers are looking for municipal support to build on the land south of the college.

City council was presented on Monday with the Southpointe Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan for a 157-acre triangular piece between Hwy 2 and Taylor Drive, north of 19th Street.

Councillors were told the area could accommodate up to 1,655 residents, have office and commercial space, plus a lot of natural and wetland space.

“It will have 30 per cent open space, which is above a typical (neighbourhood area structure plan),” said Ron Zazelenchuk, planning consultant for Qualico Developments West Ltd.

The development is slated to have 17 acres of the treed Bower Natural Area, a proposed constructed wetland, a public utility lot that runs along the existing transmission line, and additional municipal reserve parcels near Waskasoo Creek.

In August 2007, council reluctantly approved preserving 17 acres of the Bower woods and grassy fields after they heard more than three hours of community pleas to save the entire 21-acre stretch.

Originally, Qualico Developments wanted to save only 9.5 acres of the natural area but a compromise was reached between the developer, the city and land owner Jim Bower. The city ended up buying most of the 17 acres for $2.2 million, while a few acres were sold the city for $1. A smaller portion became municipal reserve.

The area structure plan was submitted to the city on behalf of Qualico, the college and the Bower family. Council gave first reading to the plan. A public hearing will be held on Monday Sept. 8 in council chambers prior to final readings.

“I like the fact that approximately a third of the area is devoted to municipal reserve and natural area,” said Mayor Morris Flewwelling later.

Flewwelling also believes the plan will be a good complement for the college.

The college owns much of the land along Hwy 2 where an eco-innovation park is proposed. This park would house green businesses in buildings showcasing environmental protection and energy efficiency.

The east and south portion of the area structure plan, known as Southpointe Junction, would see the construction of townhouses and multifamily developments, plus office and retail space that keeps pedestrians in mind.

Councillor Larry Pimm said he hoped developers won’t forget about what the public has lost.

When drivers pass by, they see a long line of spruce trees. But once development goes in, that view will be obliterated, Pimm said.

Brent MacKay, a commercial manager with Qualico in Calgary, said the treeline is high.

“I don’t think the trees will totally disappear (from road view),” MacKay said.

Landscaping is also a top priority, he said.

Promotion shot down

Red Deer won’t be officially on the Canadian Badlands promotional ticket.

City council narrowly defeated a motion on Monday to join the Badlands tourism initiative which has 57 community shareholders banding together to promote Southern and Eastern Alberta.

The city has looked at joining for the past two years. Earlier this year, the city withdrew plans to buy in after the membership fee shot to $25,000 from $8,000 due to a new funding formula.

Council was told the fee would be pro-rated if the city joined in mid year.

The Canadian Badlands organization promotes everything from driving routes and attractions to events in the region.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling and councillors Lynne Mulder, Cindy Jefferies and Gail Parks supported the membership.

Pimm and councillors Buck Buchanan, Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer, Tara Veer and Frank Wong voted against.

Other decisions made Monday:

• Council acknowledges the Minister of Veteran Affairs commendation given to Red Deer historian Michael Dawe for his work at preserving war history

• Council gives land use approval to a Red Deer County fire station in Burnt Lake Business Park so it can store fire trucks and firefighting equipment

• SPCA gets new loan agreement