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Sound planning must come from city

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  |  Posted: Saturday, May 24, 2014 06:00 am

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Concerns voiced by a former city manager and former city councillor about development on the north side of the city have validity. However, the onus must be on St. Albert city council to look ahead and plan when it comes to commercial development.

Itís no surprise that private developers appear to prefer residential over commercial, as commercial developments demand more serious infrastructure investments, such as roads capable of handling 18-wheeled traffic or power grids that cater to demand far outstripping what a residential neighbourhood would require. Plus, space set aside for parking lots could make a lot more money if sold as condos.

But itís not up to developers to look at what St. Albert needs, not just now, but 10, 20 or 50 years in the future. That responsibility lies with elected officials and development officers. What could be proper or simply convenient for developers now could be a problem for residents in the future.

New neighbourhoods must contain proper commercial services, and if they donít, the effects of that mistake not only affect residents in that area, but residents in other parts of the city.

If, for example, proper commercial developments such as grocery stores or gas bars arenít available, residents in the new neighbourhoods will still demand those services but theyíll have to travel to different parts of the city to access them. St. Albertís road grid is already heavily used, contributing to gridlock, pollution and wear and tear on the infrastructure itself.

The City of St. Albert must remain vigilant when planning new neighbourhoods and take into account factors other than the current real estate report from Edmonton.

Local man wants to be premier

Former deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk announced Thursday he wants the top job in Alberta, leader of the PC party which, in effect, means premier of Alberta. He feels he has the skills, experience and attitude to lead the greatest province in Canada.

Some readers may be surprised to learn that Lukaszuk is a resident of St. Albert, despite the fact he doesnít speak out about school sites, the traffic on St. Albert Trail or city council. He keeps a low profile.

Despite Lukaszukís drive to be the top politician in the province, pundits were wondering what chance the former deputy premier, well known for his foot-in-mouth disease, has of getting into the premierís office.

As of Friday morning, dozens of sitting PC MLAs had already committed to Jim Prentice, former federal MP, known to be in tight with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Despite a very close connection to former premier Alison Redford, Lukaszuk lost his deputy premiership in December 2013 after visibly struggling in the position. He was in charge of Advanced Education when controversial university funding cuts were announced.

Many in the PC party have already said the new leader, and hence premier, must break from the past and have a clean slate. Being Redfordís right-hand man hardly signifies a fresh start.


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