At City Hall
Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 06:00 am
No council column in Gazette
A city council column will not be returning to the pages of the St. Albert Gazette.
The practice of placing a paid-for column with a writeup from a councillor was previously discontinued, but brought back to council’s attention thanks to an administrative report.
Council had delayed making a decision when an administrative report suggested the column be restarted on Dec. 16. On Monday, the issue returned and Mayor Nolan Crouse made a motion for the column to be discontinued and the terms of reference rescinded.
A unanimous vote passed that motion.
“Instead of talking at our residents I think we need to be talking with them,” Coun. Tim Osborne said. “I think we can find more effective channels and venues moving forward.”
Committee bylaws changed
Changes were passed to amend the environmental advisory committee bylaw and the community services advisory board bylaw Monday.
The environmental advisory committee board added an additional member of the public position, as well as clarified what counts as quorum.
The community services advisory board bylaw was amended to allow for more flexibility of the membership terms to avoid occasionally having several members leave at the same time because their terms were the same length.
“We felt that we were lacking continuity,” said Osborne, who presented the community services advisory board bylaw change.
The bylaw amendments for each board passed all three required readings unanimously.
Options for remnant lands to be examined
The mayor asked administration to look at potential options for the use of parcels owned by the city north and south of Leclair Way/137 Avenue near Sir Winston Churchill Avenue.
“There’s a wonderful piece of land sitting that I call a remnant that is a pretty substantial piece of property,” Crouse said. “Based on the backgrounder I certainly accept the fact that it’s got lots of potential uses.”
The backgrounder mentions the sites are being considered for future reservoirs.
Crouse’s motion asks for “consideration given to but not limited to public uses, at-market sale, selling to Habitat or a housing co-op. The report shall also include Edmonton’s considerations given its proximity to Edmonton.”
Council voted unanimously in favour of the motion.
Council motions disposition of land
City council voted in favour of the sale of a city-owned property at 150 Carleton Dr., acquired by the city after a developer failed to meet development conditions set on the land.
Paul Wong of PJSJ Holdings had received the land from the city in 2007 on terms that he would develop on the property within five years. When Wong failed to meet the conditions, administration took the land back.
In August 2013 Wong appeared before council stating that he was unable to develop on the property due to the economic recession in 2008 and the time it took to work with administration to get the property rezoned for direct control.
On Monday, Coun. Sheena Hughes said it was “unethical” to take the land back when Wong had already put money into it and was unable to develop it due to outlying circumstances.
“It seems completely unethical to me that we put these time frames on here considering that he bought it in 2007 and he bought it when St. Albert was not growing,” she said. “What kind of business-friendly community are we?”
Crouse responded that it was unwise for council to give Mr. Wong the land back after he failed to meet his conditions. He added that it was ethical to sell the land as the city had always owned it and had met its end of the bargain with Mr. Wong.
Council voted six to one in favour of selling the land, with Hughes voting against the motion.
Traffic study workshop Thursday
Residents will have a chance to participate in a second public consultation on the Erin Ridge traffic impact study next Thursday.
The meeting will run from 7 to 9 p.m. at King of Kings Lutheran Church on Jan. 30.
Unlike the meeting held in December, this will be a more hands-on event for participants.
“It’s going to be a bit more of a workshop,” said Carol Bergum, the city’s director of planning and development.
This is the promised followup to December’s meeting, where residents got the chance to give their opinions on the draft study’s conclusions. Suggestions from residents at that meeting included doing new traffic counts now that the Costco is open.