Council tables Riverlands decision

  • Oct. 25, 2016 5:24 p.m.

City council tabled the Riverlands Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) for up to three months during the regular meeting earlier this week.

The move was made to allow administration the chance to work on and clear up a number of issues that surfaced during a public hearing on the ARP that was held Monday evening as well.

The vision for the Riverlands area is a vibrant, mixed use neighbourhood that capitalizes on the river as a major public amenity. Council reminisced that it was first presented in 2000.

Since then, development concepts including design elements, land use and zoning have been further refined in the proposed 2016 Riverlands Area Structure Plan.

Meanwhile, the tabling motion included such aspects as further clarifying any change in uses between the current and proposed plans identifying where ‘use losses’ have occurred; clarifying the green space allocation adequacy within the plan, and providing council with a map of all green spaces in the plan; reviewing the pedestrian link (green spine) as it pertains to existing businesses plus examining the parking availability on the Riverwalk and Alexander Way.

The move to table came up after two amendments had passed, but it was clear that there was further work to be done in the ARP’s development.

Several concerns were raised by residents and business owners near or located within the ARP, including the effective and appropriate use of green spaces on the site, whether or not the green spaces were, in some cases, even useful for development; zoning issues, access to certain facilities and businesses that may be affected by development, building heights and the idea of creating areas of higher density in general, among others.

The motion to table was passed unanimously.

Part of the discussion revolved around what the public had perceived as a loss of uses – such as traffic access – in the area with the onset of development.

“It’s giving direction for administration to go back (regarding) about specific concerns in this whole area; to address them,” said Mayor Tara Veer.

“By tabling, we are trying to identify what were some of those key issues in a general sense, and what are some of those options around them?

“That’s also why we are trying to be specific in our tabling resolution,” she said.

Last month, City council passed first reading of the Riverlands Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP).

Currently, the Riverlands area is primarily a light industrial/commercial area with minimal residential in the southwestern sector of the Greater Downtown vicinity.

It includes the former City public works yards, Cronquist Business Park, Inland Cement, Carnival Cinemas, the Quarry and the Old Brew Plaza, as well as several other commercial businesses.

These areas encompass professional, commercial and residential districts balanced with parks and mixed use buildings.

Key changes in the updated ARP as of the September meeting where first reading was passed also include, but are not limited to, the realignment of roadways, changes to building heights, the creation of edge zones that are intended to serve as a connection between buildings and public spaces, the incorporation of public squares, the development of movement that runs through the development, according to a release.