Councillors excited by ‘naturally exquisite’ neighbourhood taking shape in the northeast

Boasting natural areas, mixed land uses and connectivity, the city’s newest neighbourhood in northeast Red Deer is taking shape.

Boasting natural areas, mixed land uses and connectivity, the city’s newest neighbourhood in northeast Red Deer is taking shape.

City council gave first reading to the proposed Evergreen Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan, which is situated northeast of the 67th Street and 30th Avenue intersection on Tuesday.

This will be the first neighbourhood completely designed under city’s new neighbourhood planning and design standards, such as unique neighbourhood identity, integrated parks and community spaces. The guidelines were approved in September 2013.

Council heard the new community was dubbed “naturally exquisite” because the site embraces the natural water features, green spaces and mature woodlands.

Most councillors said they were excited about the variety in the space including natural playgrounds, different options for housing, and land uses.

Coun. Ken Johnston said he often hears about the need for Red Deer to be competitive in various aspects.

“The beauty of Evergreen is not just its natural features and its designs but that it is competitive across income levels, demographics and housing options,” said Johnston. “And it offers the very, very superior quality of life versus some of our neighbours around us . . . I am very, very excited here.”

Coun. Buck Buchanan said he is pleased the neighbourhood guidelines are being plugged into the new community.

Kim Fowler, the city’s director of planning, said the Evergreen development is also part of the city’s new section-based planning.

“You can see how well the trails, the natural areas and the roads are now connected as well as the community amenities that provide those larger connections,” said Fowler. “We’ve had a very good response from the development community from those quarter section owners.”

The plan was endorsed by the Municipal Planning Commission on Aug. 26.

A public hearing is set for Sept. 26 in council chambers.

In other council news:

The City Centre Stage building in downtown Red Deer is getting a new name and a new sign.

Council heard that Red Deer College is planning to re-name its building at 4922-49th Street.

Michael Donlevy, RDC’s vice-president of Enterprise and Community Relations, said RDC will be honouring a philanthropic gift from a family. It will be called the event centre with the family’s name associated with it. An announcement will be made in the coming weeks.

The issue came up during debate on the college’s request to upgrade its 45-year-old City Centre Stage sign. Donlevy told council that the old sign has reached its expiry date.

“This was a natural extension of the renovations that we have already done to that building,” said Donlevy.

“We are very committed to the downtown and our acquisition of what’s now known as the City Centre Stage was intended to become a teaching and learning space and to become cultural opportunities for the community.”

The college has spent about $1 million on the interior renovations to the old Uptown Theatre.

Council approved a land use bylaw site exception amendment to allow RDC to add two dynamic signs to the canopy.

The existing canopy sign will retain its “old marquee” style. Third party sponsorships will be allowed and there will be no video on the sign.

Donlevy said it will be an electronic sign that they will be able to manage from the college campus. The messages for events at the building would be displayed for a minimum of three seconds and there will be the ability to adjust the brightness level.

The site exception bylaw will now go to the Municipal Planning Commission because dynamic signs are not listed in the usages in the existing zoning.

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