Public hearing in new year on Pine Lake Area Structure plan

A plan to guide future development around Pine Lake will go to a public hearing in the new year.

A plan to guide future development around Pine Lake will go to a public hearing in the new year.

The Pine Lake Area Structure Plan covers 7,309 acres, including the 1,000-acre lake itself. The plan was prepared by B.C.-based Dillon Consultants, which has an office in Calgary, to provide a blueprint for future growth around the lake, which has become an increasingly popular destination for those looking for a recreational or full-time property.

Five potential “nodes,” which would accommodate about 3,700 people, are identified in the plan for future community development.

“Efforts were made to locate development nodes to sections of previously disturbed land, adjacent to existing subdivisions, or areas where the cumulative impacts to the natural environment are minimized,” says the 70-page plan.

Two potential commercial areas, for businesses such as small grocery stores or gas stations, were identified on the west and south sides of the lake.

The plan also calls for public access points for non-motorized boats.

Protections are to be in place for riparian and environmentally significant areas around the lake. A 30-metre buffer zone would be established between residential and commercial development and the lake.

There are nearly 700 residential lots, 1,350 seasonal campsites, and 80 seasonal lodges within the plan area, which was taken to the public for comment in March.

Some residents have expressed concerns in the past that the lake is already too crowded on prime weekends and future development must be strictly controlled.

Statistics included in the plan provide a picture of its growing attraction.

In March, the average residential assessment was $366,990 around the lake, up 173 per cent from 2003. Lakefront homes and cottages start at $675,000 and lakefront RV lots at $250,000.

The public hearing will take place Jan. 24 at Red Deer County Centre.