A partial area structure plan for Lakeview Business District could see a business park established west of Ray Gibbon Drive in mid-2019.
The 35-hectare area of land adjacent to Ray Gibbon Drive could be shovel-ready by next spring or summer and has already generated interested from businesses looking to move into the area, said Olga Lovatt from Lovatt Planning Consultants.
Lovatt presented the concept, dubbed the Lakeview East Business Park, to councillors and members of city administration on behalf of developer Dave Dyrbye, Kota Construction and land owner Terry Hodgson on Jan. 15 in the Douglas Cardinal Boardroom at St. Albert Place. The partial area structure plan would be paid for by the proponents.
Lovatt said it would take about six months to put together the area structure plan and submit it to the city.
“(We) prefer now within a year to have it adopted, if at all possible, because the developers have prospective purchasers now. They have people who are looking at purchasing land here, which is a big plus for the City of St. Albert,” Lovatt said, suggesting the optics of having development along Ray Gibbon Drive would also be good for the city.
“If we delay it, the opportunity of getting the purchasers to come here will be gone, because they will go somewhere else.”
A partial area structure plan would allow the land in question to be developed prior to the city completing its own area structure plan for the 250-hectare Lakeview Business District. In December, councillors approved $125,100 toward the $446,700 area structure plan, a pro-rated amount based on the fact the city owns 69.2 hectares of the business district. City staff plan to negotiate cost-sharing agreements with other landowners in the park.
City staff told councillors at the time they expect the plan to be developed over three years, and the land could be marketable within five years.
On Jan. 15, Lovatt proposed the zoning of the partial area structure plan to be commercial industrial service, so as not to require amendments to St. Albert’s municipal development plan.
She also suggested the city take land around Carrot Creek in lieu of taking 10 per cent of the area structure plan for municipal reserve.
“We could have some municipal reserve required, but our preference would be to dedicate that to the Carrot Creek greenway,” she said.
Councillors generally came down in favour of Lovatt’s proposal on Jan. 15, with Coun. Ray Watkins saying he is “fully supportive” of the partial area structure plan.
Watkins, who is also a land planner, said the fact that the land in question is all owned by one person means less complications than the plan the city is embarking on.
“I think it’s a great idea, and it’s going to allow us to get this land moving quicker than (otherwise),” he said.
Coun. Natalie Joly and Mayor Cathy Heron both said they were glad for a heads-up on the plan.
“It’s a priority for this council to get that land moving,” Heron said of the Lakeview Business District.
City manager Kevin Scoble said city administration would continue working with the proponents.