Affordable housing plan to get open house

Residents living in a new east-side development are expected to learn more about the Red Deer Native Friendship Centre Society’s affordable housing plans before a public hearing comes up in six weeks’ time.

Residents living in a new east-side development are expected to learn more about the Red Deer Native Friendship Centre Society’s affordable housing plans before a public hearing comes up in six weeks’ time.

City council decided on Monday that an open house will be held before the matter of the four-acre parcel in Clearview Ridge would be considered on Oct. 1.

The site along Caribou Crescent is located in the most northwesterly corner of the neighbourhood, south of 67th Street and east of the Gaetz Lakes sanctuary. The city acquired the land from the provincial government on the condition that the lands be used for affordable housing for at least 15 years.

Scott Cameron, Social Planning Department manager, said the city is working with the friendship centre society on its affordable housing plans.

There are no concrete numbers as to how many units would be on the site, he added.

Cameron told council that the maximum number that could be placed on a lot of that size is 100 housing units. And that is certainly not the intent here, he said.

Cameron added the friendship centre plans to engage the community in the building design stage as well.

The city is working with the friendship centre on a cultural component and which will support well-being, Cameron said. Council gave first reading to amend the Clearview North Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan and it also gave first reading to amend the land use bylaw.

Coun. Chris Stephan didn’t support first reading because the area had been identified within the area structure plan for single family, plus multi-family. Now it’s designated as multi-family residential/place of worship.

Coun. Dianne Wyntjes said it’s important that these affordable housing plans be readily known to the public before they buy into the community.

Coun. Cindy Jefferies said that housing developments to the west of this lot haven’t yet begun, which is good.

“We have to get this zoning and create some certainty for those who may purchase close to this area,” said Jefferies.

“It’s always unfortunate when we end up in a bit of a conundrum where we have created some questions and some misunderstandings.”

When the city begins talking about affordable housing and a place of worship on a lot that had been eyed as single family and multi-family under the area structure plan, there will be some tension, Jefferies said.

At last week’s open house on the four-acre parcel, more than 60 people attended.

Residents raised concerns that the affordable housing would decrease property values, cause safety issues and increase traffic.

Orlando Toews, senior planner with the City of Red Deer, said it’s not immediately next door to residences.

There are existing properties to the east along Carrington Drive.

In other council news:

l Council supports Coun. Paul Harris’s motion regarding long term infrastructure needs of municipalities. The City of Red Deer will offer support to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Target 2014:Building our Future plan. The city will send a letter of support to both the FCM and Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen.

l Harris will receive city financial backing to sit on Environmental Issues and Sustainable Development, Increasing Women’s Participation in Municipal Government, and Social-Economic Development committees with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Council assumes all costs associated with Harris attending these meetings from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012 to the tune of $2,500. Administration will submit a budget request later to cover costs in 2013 of $7,500. Coun. Chris Stephan was opposed, saying he’s disappointed by the advocacy of the FCM and he tends to align himself more with the federal government’s views.

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