The City of Red Deer will move forward with development to the north after approval from council at this week’s meeting.
The area is about 22 quarter sections of land and was annexed from Red Deer County in 2009.
Within the area there is a country residential area in Central Park, agricultural uses, three former landfills, Hazlett Lake, which is the largest lake in Red Deer, existing large industrial uses, the Chiles Industrial Park and the Red Deer River which bounds the south and east.
As for development in the area, there will be a mix of land uses throughout the north of Hwy. 11A including residential, commercial, light industrial, parks and mixed residential/commercial.
All development within the plan area must be preceded by an adopted multi-neighbourhood plan and a neighbourhood or industrial area structure plan. Residential areas within the plan will have a minimum density of 17 dwelling units per net developable hectare.
Phase 1 of the area is expected to be ready for development in 2017. The phases to follow will be demand driven in terms of time lines.
About 50 people attended the public hearing for the North of 11A Major Area Structure Plan on Monday night. Concerns included setbacks, development around Hazlett Lake, increased traffic, dwelling density and there was discussion around the proposed multi-neighbourhood community centre.
Councillor Lynne Mulder said she was in favour of the development.
“I’m excited to see this area developed and I can’t wait to see where we get to. We have an opportunity here and I feel like we’re going to make the most of it,” she said.
Councillor Dianne Wyntjes agreed. “For me, I really appreciate when we do a plan like this, that we recognize those who already have their footprint on the land.”
Mayor Tara Veer spoke in favour of the plan as well.
“I think this is a high-level, conceptual plan that allows us to develop north of 11A but it still keeps some options open for the future. There are few areas in Red Deer’s boundary that present as much potential and as much challenge within close proximity,” said Veer. “When I look at this plan, this is a longstanding vision for Red Deer to move north of Hwy. 11A and while we are certainly in a deeper recession than what we were faced with in 2008 and 2009, we have a responsibility to be ready when we return to a growth cycle. Red Deer has been caught short historically where we ran out of prime industrial land and we are still suffering from the consequences of that.
“Even though it doesn’t seem intuitive to move forward with a growth-driven plan right now, we must be ready for our future.”