Chestermere City Council carried a motion to direct administration and developers to work towards a comprehensive Municipal Development Plan (MDP) for the Clearwater Park Area during the April 20 Regular Meeting of Council.
IBI Group, on behalf of Clear Water Park Inc., applied to amend the MDP with the purpose of following with a subsequent proposed Clearwater Park Area Structure Plan (ASP).
The amendments to the MDP included policy provisions that reflect a rural to urban interface transition, interim non-commercial uses within a designated mixed-use commercial centre area, employment lands area accommodating business park and light industrial uses, and a bicycle and pedestrian access pathway that connects the Clearwater Park ASP with trails on the west side of Highway 1.
“While administration wants to acknowledge the amount of work that has been done, we want to identify the gaps that we see in this process going forward that need to be addressed,” said RPP MCIP Community Growth and Infrastructure, Elizabeth Armitage.
“One of the important ones is the employment lands reduction, the applicant has estimated that 11.3 per cent of employment land will be reduced through this process, and an approximate reduction of 1.9 per cent of mixed-use commercial lands within the city,” she said.
The MDP amendment proposes a reduction to the employment lands identified in the MDP land use map.
“The MDP amendment should at a minimum address the rationale for the amendment, the economic impacts, the financial impacts, and the implications of the interim use on the reduction calculations in addition to the long-term commercial use,” Armitage said.
“The inclusion of interim uses in mixed-use commercial is a significant change to the MDP. The proposed MDP amendment should address mechanisms to control, and eventual conversion of interim uses should be addressed in the MDP,” she said.
The Clearwater ASP does not address design guidelines specific to entranceways and should include developing policies regarding private recreation facilities.
“I find this extremely exciting, especially to have it on the east side of Chestermere, that’s much needed,” said City Councillor Cathy Burness.
“It sounds very homey, the pedestrian-friendly aspect, the adjoining paths, the diversity in housing it all sounds exciting, she added. “It also sounds like a huge undertaking, and it does sound like there is some more work to do, I think it will end up being a really valuable contribution to the city.”
President and Chief Operating Officer of Centron, Cole Harris said Chestermere is ideal for anyone looking for a small-town feel, family values, and amenities.
“We love the small-town feel, we love everything about Chestermere, the family values, the amenities, the beautiful lake, and the real family feel that’s been a trademark of the city. There’s a big opportunity to take those values and build them into a new community,” Harris said.
The developer’s vision is to create a community of houses and gathering spaces where families want to raise children.
“There will be a clubhouse, retail centres, school sites, pathways, parks, dog parks, and diversity housing including seniors, multi-family, and a lot of outdoor sports, we believe we’ve done that in Clearwater Park,” Harris said.
“This is so exciting. You’ve listened to what our community said they need, the schools, greenspace, the diversity in housing, any recreation possibilities, and the senior’s aspect,” said Michelle Young.
Through the first reading of the Clearwater Park ASP, Armitage identified areas of concern, such as policy alignment including the MDP and infrastructure policies, incorporation of supplementary reports into the body of the ASP, diversity of residential land use districts, reduction of employment lands, implications for Chestermere utilities and finance, and connectivity and open spaces.
“Because of areas of concern, we’re recommending the ASP be tabled until such time the concerns are addressed,” Armitage said.
Due to the areas of concern, council carried a resolution where the applicant and administration are to work towards a revised Clearwater Park ASP submission that addresses policy alignment including the MDP and infrastructure policies, incorporation of supplementary reports into the body of the ASP, diversity of land use districts, reduction of employment lands, financial implications for Chestermere Utility Company and city, connectivity and open spaces.
“It appears there’s a little more work to do before we move to the next stage. We have evidence in this community about lasting legacy issues where the planning wasn’t done to the standard that people expect today. This council wants to make sure we get it right, so we don’t have that lasting legacy,” said Mayor Marshall Chalmers.
“What I see is your team has done a tremendous amount of work, we know you’re excited to get the shovel in the ground, but we also want to get it right. It looks like we’re at the 90-yard line, we have a little more work to do,” he said.