Lake community gets go ahead
Council consents to third reading of Jensen Lakes area structure plan
By: Viola Pruss
| Posted: Wednesday, May 07, 2014 06:00 am
After giving the project some more consideration, city council unanimously approved the area structure plan for Jensen Lakes on Monday.
The new neighbourhood, located north of Villeneuve Road and northwest of Walmart, is expected to feature a mix of residential housing and some commercial.
Following a public meeting two weeks prior, council members continued to commend the project put forward by developer Melcor, albeit some concerns remain.
“The notion of the private lake is a problematic one,” said Coun. Tim Osborne.
The “private lake” aspect of the plan, which would be paid for and maintained by a homeowners’ association, includes two beaches and some private walking paths.
Osborne had previously noted that the lake could work in favour of an “elitist label” sometimes associated with St. Albert.
On Monday, he said some people are in favour of the lake, while others think it may impact the “feel of the community.” He hopes the lake will be used to build a strong neighbourhood.
“I hope that the community will open up that resource to the rest of their neighbours at some point,” he said.
The homeowners’ association and up-keep of the lake also raised questions with other councillors.
Coun. Cam MacKay asked that administration clarify how the homeowners’ association works, where its funds are coming from, and what it will take to repair assets in the neighbourhood in the future.
He also applauded Melcor for turning their site into a desirable location for residential development.
“I think this is a very good development for our community,” he said.
Administration also re-affirmed to Coun. Wes Brodhead that the lake would be the responsibility of the homeowners’ association and not the city.
Mayor Nolan Crouse raised a number of points on the proposed development before giving it his stamp of approval.
Among them, he stressed that Melcor should be commended for its commercial plans along St. Albert Trail and was very professional in their planning for the site.
He also said the naming of streets in the neighbourhood, all of which will begin with a J, could be used to celebrate the past, such as influential Métis, settlers or farmers.
While he was pleased with the proposed density of the site, he was concerned about the future of Villeneuve Road and traffic on Fowler Way.
“I do worry about the Fowler noise 20 years from now,” he said.
In closing, Coun. Cathy Heron said the development incorporates a lot of the traditional St. Albert feel and some newer ideas, such as the lake and roundabouts, and she is excited about it moving ahead.
“I think everyone has done their due diligence in reviewing this plan and taken the appropriate steps to make sure it is the right plan for our community,” she said.
The area structure plan first came before council for a public hearing on April 22 where council passed first and second reading of the plan and a land use bylaw amendment.
A third reading was moved to this Monday to give councillors more time to consider the area structure plan, a first for many council members.