A public hearing on the area structure plan is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22 in city council chambers at St. Albert Place.
Residents of a new neighbourhood proposed for St. Albert’s north end will have access to a freshwater lake with two beaches, based on a proposed area structure plan going before city council on Tuesday.
Jensen Lakes is expected to house about 5,070 people one day. Melcor Developments is planning the neighbourhood to be “safe, friendly, attractive, and well-serviced.”
“Although we are proposing to add to St. Albert, our proposed area structure plan is to still make use of the things that the people in St. Albert love and the kind of things that make St. Albert what it is,” said regional manager Susan Monson.
The 150-hectare site (370 acres) is located north and west of Walmart and is bounded by Villeneuve Road to the south, Sturgeon County to the north and Range Road 255 to the west.
The proposed plan shows that Melcor expects to use the land for commercial, residential and some institutional development. This includes a school site, a church, public parks, trails and a community lake with two beaches.
The lake would offer a wide range of recreational opportunities, such as non-motorized boating, fishing, skating and swimming. The homeowners’ association of Jensen Lakes would maintain the beaches and the lake, said Monson.
“This is something that we are seeing in other communities,” she said. “We think it’s unique and it’s a great thing for the community to bring people together and use the outdoors without having to get into your car and go very far.”
She added that Melcor plans to create an extensive network of paved trails, many park spaces and tree-lined streets and boulevards to make the neighbourhood fit in with the rest of St. Albert.
The school site would be located on the east end of the lands. The St. Albert Alliance Church will remain in its location on Villeneuve Road.
Housing options in Jensen Lakes are expected to include single family, apartment buildings, duplexes, townhomes and estate homes.
About 70.5 hectares of land would be designated residential, with the majority being used for single-family homes, semi-detached houses and duplexes. About 12 to 15 houses are planned for an island in the lake.
Monson said Jensen Lakes is not a gated community.
“It’s just a regular community and the people who live there will be able to use that facility,” she said. “The facility, the lake itself, the beach, will have a secure entry.”
The development also plans for some townhouses and apartment buildings to a maximum height of 13 metres. Some higher apartment buildings, up to 25 metres, are proposed to go near the commercial development in the east and west.
The proposed area structure plan adds that Melcor looks to provide housing for different income levels, age and social groups. The total number of units proposed is 2,119.
“We are planning to develop a community that has a really vast variety of housing products,” said Monson. “There will be a very wide price range.”
While the majority of the development would consist of housing, the plan shows that about 10.9 hectares (27 acres) would be set aside for commercial development.
Seven acres of commercial land would be located adjacent to St. Albert Trail and are expected to serve the community and region.
“We don’t have anything in place for what we’ll be developing there. We don’t have any deals in place, any tenants yet,” said Monson. “But that site would expand on what’s already there.”
A second, smaller commercial site would be located at the corner of Hogan Road and Fowler Way.
“We sized it for the size of a grocery store,” she said.
Jensen Lakes is expected to include a number of new roadways and trails, including Fowler Way.
The arterial roadway is planned to connect at the intersection of Ray Gibbon Drive and Villeneuve Road and cross through the neighbourhood.
“I can’t speak directly to what that’s going to look like,” said Monson. “Those roads are there in concept but the actual detail of exactly where they are meeting up with other roads is not defined.”
At this time, the road alignment could still change, pending assessment of the city’s transportation master plan.
A natural site assessment has shown that the area is home to some wetlands.
Monson said Alberta Environment inspected the site and the developer received approval to drain the water from the wetlands. In return, Melcor paid Alberta Environment and Ducks Unlimited to recreate wetland somewhere else, she said.
“And then we are creating new wetlands and stormwater management facilities which would create new ecosystems and opportunities for lifecycles and nesting birds,” she said.
Based on the area structure plan, the site would house two stormwater management facilities. Trails would be located around a portion of each facility and connect to sidewalks and parks.
A noise attenuation study showed that the highest noise factor would occur along Fowler Way, and noise mitigation would be required for homes along that road. This could include a fence, landscaping or berms.
Jensen Lakes is expected to be developed over a 10 to 15-year period, pending market demand and servicing capabilities, said Monson.