The city's next subdivision came closer to reality Thursday night, when council voted to close Coal Mine Road and rezone pockets of land for Erin Ridge North.
The zoning changes allow Landrex Developers to begin the first two stages of Erin Ridge North, which includes about 159 low-density homes and a park north of along the northern edge of Coal Mine Road west of Everitt Drive.
"This is good for the city," said Patrick Shaver, project manager for Landrex. "We're glad the bylaws went through."
To facilitate the new subdivision and deep underground services, council agreed to close Coal Mine Road between Everitt Drive and Eastgate Way.
Eastgate Way resident Colin Bergstrom said he was concerned about the amount of traffic that would come down his road once Coal Mine Road closes. He said his street would likely become busier with traffic from Sturgeon County, since it is the easiest route to get to from Range Road 253.
"It's not a question of if there will be shortcutting, there will be shortcutting," he told council on Monday. "In the short term, I guess that is the question. When will the Villeneuve Road realignment happen? Is that 10 years? Is it 20 years? Or is that two years away?"
Mayor Nolan Crouse asked Bergstrom if he would be satisfied with the city collecting traffic data for the neighbourhood. If the data shows a need, another road or traffic controls might be brought in to help deal with the influx of vehicles, he said.
"That would be a good start, to quantify what is already starting to happen," responded Bergstrom.
With respect to the Villeneuve Road realignment, Crouse conceded that might not be completed for another 10 years.
While the road was legally closed with council's vote, the physical closure won't happen right away, said Neil Jamieson, general manager of planning and engineeering. However, he warned residents to start finding a new route within the area.
"I believe Landrex will keep the road open to the last minute," he said. "There's a small amount of time left."
During Thursday night's hearing, Crouse asked Shaver if there were any other issues council would need to deal with about the subdivision, adding that he wanted to make sure everything was in order before development begins.
"I don't want this coming back next week," Crouse added.
"We are very optimistic at this point in time that, once we get these approvals, we're all done," said Shaver.
Council made no decisions about selling Coal Mine Road to Landrex, an issue that was raised at the start of the public hearing on Monday night. Administration suggested selling the land at $160,000 an acre, an idea that did not sit well with Landrex officials who said they would gain nothing from owning the land outright since the city would be in charge of the land and utilities underneath.
Council's reluctance to take staff advice means Landrex will be allowed to construct services underneath but the city will continue to own the land, said Jamieson.
Shaver later said the company hopes to start servicing construction by the end of the month, and complete servicing by the end of 2010. Weather is the main variable in the company's timetable, he said.