Carpere Canada will officially proceed with the development of the Valley View Centre property, even though very few of the conditions it wanted fulfilled in the agreement were met.
The Vancouver-based company takes possession of the property on Friday, Sept. 25, which includes 23 buildings and structures on parcels 78.37 acres, 50.85 acres, 30 acres and 39 acres in size. The 39 acres are deemed ecologically and archaeologically sensitive.
In its proposal for the property, Carpere listed 22 terms and conditions it wanted the provincial government and the City of Moose Jaw to satisfy before it moved ahead.
Some conditions included the city approving the concept plan, including the rezoning application (mixed-use residential) and the plan of the proposed subdivision; the city confirming that all Valley View lands are exempt (in-fill development) from development levies, and; the city confirming that it assumed all responsibility for the existing water and sewer infrastructure to the property line, including the lift station.
Carpere Canada has worked closely with the Ministry of Central Services on this project and recently indicated it was giving itself the green light to start developing the area, even though few of the conditions had been met, explained company representative Deb Thorn.
“There are lots of unknowns with Valley View, and no surprise. We don’t know what will happen with infrastructure because we were not able to have any constructive conclusion on infrastructure that services the Valley View property,” she said.
“We don’t have any confirmation on zoning, so you proceed on your best knowledge and belief that it’s a good project, and if we do it right, we’ll get the support of the city to get approval for zoning for development to proceed.”
The ministry explained in an email that Carpere modified its proposal to purchase all the land and buildings when it became evident that the project could not be legally subdivided. The subdivision process would have required approval of the city having jurisdiction and development of physical road access to each parcel to be surveyed.
“The revised purchase proposal from Carpere Canada was acceptable to the province,” the ministry added.
An email from the City of Moose Jaw: “For now … any agreement must be authorized and approved by City Council at a public meeting. Also, any change to development levies would require a change to our Bylaw.” The email added, "As the City has stated previously, we are open to further discussions with Carpere, but will not negotiate in public."
Similar to many businesses, Carpere decided to proceed with the project even though not everything was in line, Thorn said. The company has a vision to develop a residential neighbourhood; it looked at developing an extra 64 acres beside the Southeast Industrial Park, but that proved to be difficult since an overhead power line ran through the middle of the property.
The ministry issued a request for proposals around that time, which created the opportunity to create a residential development exclusively. Carpere’s proposal won, which allowed it to create this new project, she said.
“There is a lot of work ahead. (However), it is one of the most beautiful places in Moose Jaw … ,” added Thorn. “It is really, truly, an exciting project for Moose Jaw.”
The company is working on concept plans for the area, and once completed, will seek public feedback either later this fall or early in the new year, she said. Some of the preliminary drawings could include the reuse or repurpose of the existing buildings for commercial development; buildings won’t be demolished until experts provide advice about whether they are still usable.
Carpere is working with Wakamow Valley Authority to handle the parcel that contains the ecological zone. There is an agreement in place so that, once the land is officially subdivided, the province — via Carpere — will donate the land to the authority.