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Province seeks to rezone Erin Ridge park

Amendment would open up all of Eldorado Park as potential school site

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Friday, Jan 03, 2014 02:15 pm

CHANGES AFOOT – The province is seeking to rezone park space on this site to allow more flexibility for the placement of a school site.
CHANGES AFOOT – The province is seeking to rezone park space on this site to allow more flexibility for the placement of a school site.
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

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An application for an amendment to the Erin Ridge area structure plan would rezone all of Eldorado Park so a new francophone high school could be placed anywhere on that space.

Currently, the northeast corner is the only part of the park zoned to allow a school. But a letter from the city sent out to nearby residents dated Dec. 30 says Alberta Infrastructure has applied for the redistricting of two other parcels that make up the remainder of the park space. The application seeks to rezone the two parcels from park zone to public and private service.

“Basically what the application will do is create the flexibility to locate the school on the most appropriate site within the overall park site as opposed to forcing it to go to the northeast corner,” said Carol Bergum, the city’s director of planning and development.

The move comes after the draft Erin Ridge traffic impact analysis and parking study completed by Bunt and Associates Engineering suggested that, in terms of traffic impact, the school might be better off on the west side of the park.

Bergum said that’s what inspired the application from Alberta Infrastructure, which jointly sponsored the study along with the city and Alberta Health Services. Alberta Infrastructure also is in charge of building the schools.

Tracy Larsen, a spokesperson for Alberta Infrastructure, echoed Bergum’s comments that the application is just so there are options on where to put the school to best address traffic impact.

“There’s no plans to change the size of the school,” Larsen said.

A public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 27. Written comments on the application can be submitted to the city until Jan. 13, Bergum said.

The public hearing will likely be opened Jan. 27 and then continued in February if council follows city staff’s suggestion.

“We’re actually proposing that we just do first reading and open the public hearing that day,” Bergum said.

That’s in part because the city is planning on holding the second public engagement session regarding the traffic impact study around that time, she said.

The first session was held in early December and the consultants received a wide-range of feedback to consider in their next draft.

Murray Lambert, a spokesperson for the resident group Erin Ridge Residents’ Action Committee, provided a response to the application by e-mail. He was concerned about the potential for an increase in school footprint size if the whole park becomes designated as public and private service.

“Although this latest development was not unexpected, it is the tacit denial of the same by the city administration when directly questioned on several occasions that is particularly upsetting,” Lambert wrote.

“The fact that the application by Alberta Infrastructure requests well in excess of the original 2.99 acres is of concern as it appears to allow the entire parcel of land being available for development, leaving severely limited or no park space.”


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