Jeff Heuchert firstname.lastname@example.org
Improved vehicular access to the Rotary Complex from the west end turned out be a primary focus for council when discussing the future development of the old fairgrounds land earlier this week.
On Monday, council passed a recommendation initially brought forward by engineering staff for an Official Plan amendment that more clearly establishes for a potential developer the desired type, form, pattern, intensity, and character of any future residential development on the 18-acre site. At the pressing of several councillors, a provision was included that a public road be included to the recreational facility directly to the north in any plans.
While noting congestion around the complex will improve once McCarthy Road is extended west and Foreman Avenue north, Coun. Kerry McManus said a new road would provide relief for residents in the Waddell Street and Greenwood Drive area "who have dealt with for the last number of years a lot more traffic in their neighbourhood."
As previously reported, a request for proposal issued by the city in May of last year for the surplus fairgrounds land failed to attract any bidders. City staff met with some of the developers who had shown an interest and were able to identify some obstacles with the site, including its unknown servicing costs.
According to director of infrastructure and development services, Ed Dujlovic, staff have completed more work related to the sanitary and water servicing on the site and now have more information to share with an interested party. However, an engineering consultant is still needed to determine the size of storm water pond that's required for the site.
While a motion was passed to that effect, council was not all in agreement it was necessary.
Coun. Howard Famme said the property should be put up for sale publicly immediately, and noted that to spend more money on a consultant "could just tie the hands of some developers."
He said the time spent with a consultant could be used talking with builders.
"I think it's time we put this out to tender and didn't spend any more money," he added.
A motion by Famme to proceed with a request for proposal and not retain a consultant was defeated.
Coun. Frank Mark said he understood people's wishes to get moving on the site, but noted there are still too many engineering questions that need to be answered first.
"Once we get that in place we can share that information with the possible bidders. Then we're in a much better position," he added.
The city plans to present several concept plans for the site to solicit public input. Dujlovic said the public process will take up to three months and the intent it that the consultant's work is carried out at the same time so that a full package is ready to go out to developers with a request for proposal.