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Proposed apartment complex will have grocery store to support college students

Council unanimously voted to authorize city administration to proceed with advertising the project and preparing a bylaw amendment to rezone the lots. 

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM — There are few grocery stores near the Saskatchewan Polytechnic campus, but a proposed housing development would give new students — and area residents — more options to acquire supplies within walking distance. 

Businessman JC Chhokar spoke to city council during its recent regular meeting about his proposed 24-suite multi-unit housing complex at 1345 Algoma Avenue, which would include two small commercial spaces on the ground floor. 

The property consists of five lots comprising roughly 1,391.503 square metres (14,978 square feet) and is a corner site at the intersection of Algoma Avenue and Laurier Street West.  

Chhokar — making his second-straight appearance before council — requested that city hall rezone the lots for the initiative. 

The properties are currently R3 high-density residential district, R3f1 high-density residential district and f1 flood fringe overlay, while the businessman wants them rezoned to R4 core mixed residential district, R4f1 core mixed residential district and f1 flood fringe overlay district.  

Council unanimously voted to authorize city administration to proceed with advertising the project and preparing a bylaw amendment to rezone the lots. 


“There is a pressing need for a convenience store in the surrounding area (of) Saskatchewan Polytechnic … as there is a lack of essential commercial facilities within walking distance,” Chhokar said.

Furthermore, the student population in that area is growing, new international youths lack transportation, and many don’t have much money, he continued. The proposed convenience store will benefit students, especially since it will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

As part of his presentation, Chhokar showed images of the proposed development, including the building and the site plan. That plan shows Laurier Street as the building’s front — where the retail stores would be — and Algoma Avenue at the side, while behind the structure is a baseball diamond on which students play cricket in the summer. 

The businessman added that he had submitted to city hall a petition with nearly 1,000 signatures from Sask. Polytech students and instructors and area residents supporting the proposed store.

“Thank you … for the faith in our community to get something like this going,” said Coun. Kim Robinson.

Continuing, Robinson said he recently attended a graduation event at Sask. Polytech and heard how people want more amenities in that area. Meanwhile, he has also heard that many international students play cricket in Moose Jaw, which means council may need to add a pitch in the future.

Coun. Doug Blanc also thought the project — and the convenience store — would be good for the community, especially since he’s seen students walking with bags in hand all the way from Main Street or Thatcher Drive because those are the only places to purchase their groceries.

Two lots are in a floodway, which technically means no new structures can be built there, but city hall and Chhokar have worked to overcome those challenges, said Coun. Heather Eby. While some residents will be concerned about flooding affecting that housing unit, the developer and designer have been working on flood-proofing measures.

The next regular council meeting is Monday, May 27. 

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