Subdivision of 27 acres around River Glen School has been delayed — at least temporarily — by the existence of a former landfill nearby.
Red Deer’s municipal planning commission voted on Wednesday to reject a plan of subdivision for the property at 4210 59th St. It is owned by Chinook’s Edge Regional School Division.
City planner Orlando Toews told commission members that they were compelled to refuse the application because the province’s subdivision and development regulations require a 300-metre setback from former landfills for schools and certain other developments.
Toews said the city’s Environmental Services Department has concluded that the risk for buildings more than 100 metres from the landfill site would be “negligible.” His department has asked Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development to reduce the required setback to 100 metres, he said, but a reply has not yet been received.
River Glen, which opened in 1960, is scheduled to close at the end of this school year. Red Deer Public School Division plans to upgrade the building and relocate its Gateway Christian School there.
The proposed subdivision would create a separate lot for the school site, as well as four other lots: one to the west that would be zoned for public service use, one to the east that would be used as a playground/sports field, one to the north that Parkland Community Living and Supports Society (CLASS) wants to acquire so that it can expand its existing property, and a treed area to the northeast that would be designated municipal reserve land.
City administration told the commission that its rejection of the subdivision application would likely trigger an appeal to the Municipal Government Board, which has the authority to relax the 300-metre setback requirement and approve the subdivision.
“The applicant is quite interested in getting this in front of MGB for a determination,” said city solicitor Michelle Baer.
The commission compiled a list of conditions that it would like the Municipal Government Board to consider if it approves the subdivision. These included recognition of the environmental sensitivity of the land to the east and west, protection of the city trail system, protection of the Red Deer River escarpment, and recognition of existing land use zoning for the property.
Phillip Stephan, CEO of Parkland CLASS, said his organization — which provides support to disabled children and adults — wants to expand its offices and gain title to the adjacent land that it leases from Chinook’s Edge. A handicapped-accessible playground, which Parkland CLASS developed five years ago at a cost of $300,000, is located there.
If Parkland CLASS purchases the land, said Stephan, members of the public will be able to continue to use the playground and the city trail that passes through the property.
“Parkland CLASS has absolutely no intention of prohibiting in any way, shape or form access to that trail system.”