Riverlands redevelopment plan unanimously approved

Red Deer’s new downtown, riverfront community

City council proudly put its final stamp of approval on the redevelopment plan for Riverlands on Monday.

A particular point of pride was that 42 per cent of public and private land in Riverlands is allotted for green space.

Mayor Tara Veer said the public consultation on the Riverlands redevelopment plan started in 2009 to create a vision for the area.

“It’s been a long time coming. The Riverlands vision was first contemplated over 20 years ago, which commenced with the railway relocation. We’ve seen progress over the years in terms of roadway access to the area, servicing in order to facilitate development and the burial of power lines to maximize the community’s investment here,” Veer said on Monday after council unanimously approved second and third readings of the Riverlands plan.

She said council recognizes redevelopment of the area is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Red Deer.

“There are very few cities in the world that have the opportunity to redevelop their riverfront where the municipality owns most of the lands on behalf of the public.”

Riverlands area is almost 15 hectares, located directly west of the downtown commercial core on the bank of the Red Deer River. It includes the former city public works yards, Cronquist Business Park, Carnival Cinemas, the Old Brew Plaza, and other commercial businesses and residential buildings.

The vision for Riverlands is a mixed-use urban neighbourhood in the downtown area with lively commercial streets, a variety of medium and high-density housing and public spaces that will draw people year round. The city owns more than nine hectares of developable land in Riverlands valued at about $30 million.

Veer said this redevelopment plan has more green or public space than previous plans for the area.

“Given Red Deer’s strong identity as a green city, and because of our much loved linear park system, there was strong sentiment throughout public consultation and formal public hearings that we protect public space as much as possible.”

She said the city’s next step will be to bring the lands to market and to spur on private sector development.

Public hearings still need to be held on two outstanding land use changes proposed by landowners. More commercial options were requested for 5589 47th Street, located beside the Quarry, a residential building. Multi-family residential uses above ground-floor commercial will be also be considered in Riverlands Commercial District.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com