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Council wants input on proposed upscale residential subdivision in Wakamow Valley

The proposed upscale subdivision would be east of Seventh Avenue Southwest

Residents will soon be asked to provide input on a potential upscale residential development in the river valley that would add 100 housing units that overlook the Moose Jaw River.

Businessman Charles Vanden Broek has approached city council about amending the Official Community Plan (OCP) to change the designation of property he owns to future residential from community service/parks/river valley conservation, so he can construct the proposed River Pointe Park subdivision.

The property is 25.68 acres and is zoned River Valley Conservation District. It is also affected by the S1 (slump hazard) overlay and F1 (flood fringe) overlay districts. The proposed upscale subdivision — 29 single-family units of houses and duplexes, and 81 multi-family unit apartments, on roughly 10 acres of developed land — would be east of Seventh Avenue Southwest and south of Keith Crescent and would sit near the river.

The property has been privately owned for years, but is part of the Wakamow Valley Authority (WVA) advisory area, which means the authority must be consulted when city hall receives new development proposals outside of standard permitted uses, a city council report explained. WVA received the project application and proposed concept plan, and after reviewing it, submitted a letter with concerns.

Vanden Broek has worked with city administration on this project for 18 months. Several studies, reports, analyses and assessments about the property were attached to the Sept. 21 regular council meeting agenda, an indication of how long the project has been in development.

During the meeting, council voted 5-2 to have city administration proceed with public engagement on this issue and prepare a bylaw to amend the OCP. Councillors Heather Eby and Brian Swanson were opposed.

The Express will provide a follow-up story about the discussion council had.

According to the council report, the Water Security Agency is updating information about the flood plain area, while Vanden Broek is aware of this and has committed to adding the new data into the project. Also, the hydrological assessment report recommended that a more detailed analysis be completed once the new flood hazard data is available.

Alvin Fritz, the project architect, gave a presentation about the proposed development. His PowerPoint report looked at views of the area from different streets; how far the development would be from places such as grocery stores, schools, walking paths and trails, and parks and play areas; where the residential units would be situated, and; maps of the flood zones.

Further, he discussed engineering, geotechnical, environmental, archaeological, and traffic impact reports; similar developments in Calgary and Banff, and; how the housing units would be built to withstand one-in-500-year floods.

Fritz also played a 3D video showing what the proposed development would look like.

“We are excited about the prospects of this, as it has huge upside and potential. This is wonderful parcel along the river,” he said.

Fritz spent time addressing some of the concerns the WVA board submitted, noting an interpretive site could be built to display any artifacts; 63 per cent of the property would be kept in a natural state; no construction would occur in the flood or slump zones, and; the river would not be affected since the development is situated away from the edge.

The council report indicated the next steps of the project could include a long-term designation change to the future land use map, an application approval for rezoning in accordance with the approved concept plan, and application approval for the subdivision in accordance with the approved concept plan.

Public consultation would be sought with the first two steps, while council would have to approve the third step.

Vanden Broek would be responsible for all costs associated with extending services to the property and providing internal services on the property. He has also agreed to pay all development levies at the time of subdivision, the report added.

The next regular council meeting is Monday, Oct. 5.