More Consultations Needed on West St Albert Plans: Open House Attendees – St Albert TODAY | NutSocia

Real estate professionals and land development consultants representing landowners in the region made up the majority of the Open House attendees.

Attendees at a recent open house said further deliberation was needed on land plans for west St. Albert from Ray Gibbon Drive to Carrot Creek.

The open house took place on the evening of October 19 via Zoom, where Stantec city planners and consultants engaged in a discussion of the St. Albert West Area Structure Plan (ASP). The majority of people at the sparsely attended open house were real estate professionals and land development consultants representing landowners in the area.

Many of these development partners expressed concerns about the draft plan’s focus on industrial and office development rather than commercial development.

“We have a long list of well-known company names that are familiar to all of you who have submitted expressions of interest to us and want to move forward,” said Michael Keating, vice president of commercial real estate service Colliers. “That leads to the assumption that the highest and best use of this land is definitely more on the commercial side.”

“If we really want to be flexible … we should make sure we put together a document that will allow us to take advantage of those opportunities in a timely manner.”

The St. Albert West Area Structure Plan (ASP) will extend from Carrot Creek on the west to Ray Gibbon Drive on the east, and run from the city’s southern border to the former northern border (before the annexation of Sturgeon County).

“The vision for St. Albert West is to become a strategically important area…that will help achieve a sustainable tax base and be a significant employment generator for the city,” said Kyle Witiw, city planner at Stantec.

“It aims to be a place that drives innovation and is home to the city’s focus areas of advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, clean technology, construction, life sciences, and transportation and logistics,” Witiw said.

Witiw walked attendees through the current plans for the country, including the Cherot and Avenir neighborhoods, which he says together will have around 3,000 homes, representing around 8,000 residents.

North of Cherot is an employment zone earmarked for light industrial and office buildings that includes the city-owned Badger Lands. Another employment area is the city’s proposed Lakeview Business District, which is south of Cherot and stretches just below Meadowview Drive.

City planner Tracy Tsui said the employment areas will house light industrial development and professional office buildings.

Above the railroad tracks and between Cherot is a mixed-use development area earmarked for commercial buildings to service the business district, as well as additional light industrial and office buildings, Witiw said.

Further south, the land is mapped as large open spaces – a category that defines the city as areas that, due to their natural features, need to be enhanced and protected as the city grows.

“These areas will help protect the areas around Carrot Creek, Big Lake and the Sturgeon River from development,” Witiw said, noting that smaller, more community-based park structures will be added as more detail is envisaged for specific neighborhood plans will.

Setback requirements must hold: Resident

Resident Ken Crutchfield asked a question about setback requirements for environmentally sensitive areas.

The St. Albert’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP), a high-level planning document providing guidelines for the city’s development, states that the city requires 50-meter setbacks along areas such as Carrot Creek and the Sturgeon River.

“This area is particularly close to my heart and that of many residents, and I would like to believe that … the setbacks would be honored and no abuse would take place,” Crutchfield said. “I have real concerns here that the best intentions are wasted in this MDP.”

Scott Cole, a professional planner at Stantec, said if enough studies were done, there could be “slight delineations” from the standard 50-meter setback requirements.

Although Crutchfield continued to voice his concerns, host Michele Perret reiterated Cole’s point.

“I’m not sure if anything can be added,” Perret said. “We heard you and I appreciate it.”

More commercial needed: development partners

Like Keating, other participants who work with area landowners expressed concerns about the uses outlined in the ASP draft.

Constance Gourley, a manager at ISL Engineering and Land Services, expressed similar concerns about the property she is supporting in development between Ray Gibbon Drive and Range Road 260, from Giroux Road on the north to McKenney Avenue on the south.

“I can’t imagine 58 acres in one employment area…when the commercial opportunity is there today to be realized and realized,” Gourley said. “If that isn’t recognized … with this broader promotional offering, we would have to speak out against this plan.”

Gourley said she would like the city to provide another opportunity for engagement at the open house to provide feedback.

Similarly, Tony Druett, a member of the Big Lake Environment Support Society (BLESS), said he would like to see a “proper open house” where the public can come and look at the final plan before it goes on to the council goes.

Tsui said the feedback is helpful to the city.

“We will compile any feedback we receive into a What We Heard report, which will be posted on our website once it’s ready,” Tsui said, emphasizing that the city’s residents can provide feedback to maintain the Conversation website through October 28.

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