A controversial Pine Lake housing development will take another step in the planning process despite area opposition.
Aspen Shores Estates has been proposed as a 44-lot resort residential development on 44 acres at the southwest corner of Pine Lake. The lakeshore would be protected by a reserve with natural areas and wetlands connected by trails.
Council unanimously approved second reading to adopt an area structure plan for the development. Final reading will not be considered until Alberta Environment has reviewed and commented on the developers’ plans.
About half a dozen residents expressed their concerns to council in a public hearing on Tuesday afternoon.
Common concerns were that the lake and surrounding area was already busy and not able to sustain more development. The additional homes would add traffic to local roads and boat traffic.
A number of those who wrote letters were worried about the impact of a new development and how residents could be sure the project would not add to blue-green algae problems.
There are enough homes for sale in the area that a new development is not needed, several people said.
Lloyd Brown, a member of the group developing the property, told council that they will be working with the county to ensure that any water and sewer concerns are addressed and the lake remains protected.
“We want to have a quality development that everybody here in this room can be proud of and not afraid of,” he said.
Coun. Philip Massier, whose division includes Pine Lake, said “there’s lot of good things happening with this area structure plan.”
Many of the issues residents were concerned about will be dealt with in later stages of the planning process. Tuesday’s decision was only whether a different use for the land was appropriate, he said.
Mayor Jim Wood said the 44 lots proposed will not add many more residents on the roughly 2,000 who live around the lake now. It is also a much smaller than other proposals for the area including a 150-home project turned down by council in the fall of 2014.
Two years earlier, an even larger, 380-lot proposal was rejected.
“I see something totally different than what was proposed before,” said Wood.
The project won’t be approved though until council has the “expert advice” it needs to ensure the lake remains protected, he said.