By Heather Cameron
For Westwind Weekly News
Prior to Raymond’s regular council meeting on Tuesday , a public hearing was held to discuss the proposed Bridge Crossing subdivision. Mark Hasegawa of Hasegawa Engineering participated via teleconferencing while Troy Leavitt, who has worked with Hasegawa through the process, was present. Approximately 20 members of the community were also present at the hearing and with their many concerns brought forward, Council thought it best to call a recess on the issue with the promise of another public hearing being held once more detailed information is gathered.
Bridge Crossing subdivision’s proposal includes 42 single family lots with seven being half acre lots while others being quarter acre lots or larger and 10 lots set aside for affordable housing duplexes with access from 100 north at intersection of 300 west. Four different phases are included in the development.
The purpose of the hearing, according to Hasegawa, was to provide information regarding the proposed subdivision and receive feedback from everyone involved. Hasegawa also added that it was thought as an ideal place for development in Raymond with services being included in the proposed development.
“We have had lots of interest with people thinking it’s a great idea and great location to live,” Leavitt said.
Once the floor was open for questions, local resident Kevin Dudley expressed concern about drainage issues and Hasegawa responded by stating that Alberta Environment regulations require some sort of stoppage facility.
Other residents also expressed concerns about drainage issues and if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the area would need to take some responsibility. Hasegawa stated that the Church is responsible to attenuate their flow rate and create storage, but that the developer could take some of the flow. There were also concerns about a facility being built to assist with drainage.
Dudley also stated the fact that his land is zoned for horses and if the new subdivision would cause the zoning law to change because there was never an opportunity to buy land near his home and Dudley said he did not come forward to express interest because he was told by a Town employee that it was that there was no point, but Mayor Bohne said more clarity was needed and it is amiss for the Town to not work with people as much as they can.
Fencing was also a major issue with Dudley in that he was concerned that residents of the new subdivision would not like his horses trying to go into their yards. He asked if fencing would be built to keep the subdivision yards separate from the existing properties. Counc. Wolsey responded that anyone who wished to put up a fence to separate their property from the subdivision was free to do so.
Maryann Kiddle, another resident, asked who now owned the subdivision land and Ethan Gorner said that it was now owned by Mark Hasegawa and Troy Leavitt. Gorner added town land isn’t sold for anything but development and that if the town is ever letting go of land below market value, they are required to make it public, but they do not have to publicly auction it.
Another local resident, Bob Stewart, expressed concern about where all the traffic from the new subdivision would go, the potential safety issues that the increased traffic would create, and if the Town would be held liable for anything that might happen as a result.
“Why do the people on 300 West have to put up with that traffic volume?” Dudley asked. “We live in a small town and I want to see the questions answered before it goes any further.”
Access was also another major issue and local resident Pam Stewart asked if there was only one way in and out of the development to which Hasegawa answered that Bridge Crossing was a generally small subdivision and does not generate enough traffic to justify more access points as dictated by Alberta Transport regulations.
Several residents also expressed concern about speeding vehicles along the 100 North road and how the lack of sidewalks would create a dangerous situation for children who walk and play along that road once an increase of traffic comes as a result of the Bridge Crossing subdivision.
“Is Council prepared to pay for funerals of children due to the safety problems that are caused by speeding trucks along that road?” Carol Bettger, another local resident asked.
Local resident Celia Tyler asked if that road could be designated as a play street with a set speed limit.
Gorner stated that Council is given power to regulate speed in various areas of town and that the Town did a master plan in 2008 that identified traffic as being well below acceptable limits, but various members of the public commented that the town has grown since 2008.
“This is merely an Area Structure Plan that create
a vision of the future,” Gorner said. “Development always brings change and disruption. The Municipal Development Act allows for development and says growth is good for Alberta and valid reasons are needed to stop it. The purpose of this hearing is to flush out specifics.”
After Hasegawa’s presentation, Bonnie Brunner, the Planning Advisor for the Town of Raymond, presented a report that summarized the concerns already discussed and included concerns over design consistency, the possibility of changing the design layout of the second cul-de-sac, and also mentioned that there was a proposed central parking area, but that overall, more information was required.
“There is a tremendous amount of development potential in this subdivision,” Brunner said.
“However, comments do identify areas of concern and there is much recommendation for clarification.”
Mayor Bohne responded by saying that there are issues that need to be addressed and there needs to be more talking about the overall vision and if this concept is worthy of furthering, as both he and Council were very aware that more information was needed before a decision could be made. The hearing was dismissed to a recess with the promise of another public hearing at a later date, one that would have more information available to address all concerns.
“We need more information about drainage, traffic, roadway liabilities, and fencing issues that need to be addressed.” Bohne said. “I am not prepared to adjourn until an opportunity has been given to gather information and how to address the issues also needs to be figured out.”