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News Review
City Council Highlights
Posted Date: 2/12/2018 11:45 PM

Amendments to the Arbour Hills Area Structure Plan, Arbour Hills 2 Outline Plan and Land Use Bylaw 

City Council approved Bylaw amendment C-1212E, the Arbour Hills Area Structure Plan, Bylaw Amendment C-1281-3, the Arbour Hills 2 Outline Plan, and Land Use Bylaw Amendment C-1260-33.

The amendments to the Arbour Hills Area Structure Plan, Arbour Hills 2 Outline Plan and the Land Use Bylaw will change the designation of several parcels from multi-family to single-family residential designations. The applicant is seeking to better meet current market demand for housing types.
Administration reported that because the change is from residential to another, similar residential use, there is not a risk of conflicting uses.
The City has a large supply of undeveloped multi-family sites. According to assessment data there are approximately 21 ha of vacant multi-family parcels in the City. The rate of development has decreased significantly in recent years.
Based on the current supply of multi-family sites and the slowed pace of development, Administration deemed that the reclassification is justifiable.

Super-size Billboards

Council voted in favour of Land Use Bylaw Amendment C-1260-85. This allows an oversized billboard to be located at 8707-108 St. (Wapiti Road). 

Administration agreed that including a new definition and regulations for super-size billboards in the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) is appropriate because more billboards of the size proposed will likely be proposed. However, concern was expressed that billboard of the proposed size at the requested location would create the potential for negative impacts on traffic safety and aesthetics.

Billboards can have a maximum sign area 3.1 m high and 6.1 m wide (18.1 m2). 

The amendment adds a new definition for Super-size Billboards that can have a sign area 4.27 m high by 14.63 m wide (62.47 m2) and allow a billboard of that size at this specific location only. The amendment permits super-size billboards to only have static displays. Electronic message displays are not be permitted.

This LUB amendment application will regulate the development of this and future super-size billboards by creating the new definition and establishing minimum standards, and also requires that every proposed super-size billboard would need a site-specific amendment to the LUB. 

This means each LUB amendment application will be considered based on the specific characteristics of that site.

Arm’s Length Housing Development Corporation

Council voted to table a vote on authorizing the use of the Public Housing Reserve up to $80,000 for the development of a business case analysis for an Arm’s length Housing Development Corporation. This allows discussion on the matter to occur at Council’s upcoming strategic planning session.

At the Jan. 30, Community Living Committee meeting, Administration stated that hiring an external consultant to complete an unbiased, comprehensive business case for an Arm’s-Length Housing Development Corporation will provide a solid foundation for the City of Grande Prairie to explore the next steps in the development of a Corporation, while maintaining fidelity to the Affordable Housing Master Plan (2011-2021) and Council’s strategic priorities.

The Federal and Provincial Governments have announced affordable housing strategies and the messaging from both levels of government is that strategies will include funding for affordable housing builds and operational supports in communities. 

The National Housing Strategy by the Government of Canada, released in November, puts significant emphasis on provincial and municipal government participation in the Affordable Housing sector. The City’s Affordable Housing Master Plan (2011-2021) outlines the need for the City of Grande Prairie to explore developing a Housing Corporation, which would help drive new affordable housing, builds within the municipality.

To further this exploration, a professional business case will need to be conducted on the development of a Housing Development Corporation and what that entails for the City. 

The current balance of the Housing Reserve is $590,950.

Subdivision Approval Time Extension Request Z14-0034

Council approved the request to extend the time period for subdivision endorsement for application Z14-0034 to Jan. 29, 2019.

This proposed 41-lot subdivision is located in the Cobblestone Phase 5B neighbourhood, east of 90 St. and south of 100 Ave., with a total land area of 3.58 hectares.

This is the third time extension request submitted by the applicant for subdivision endorsement. This request to extend is due to economic conditions and a slow housing market.

The Subdivision Authority Officer approved the subdivision with conditions on Jan. 29, 2015. A time extension was granted in 2016 to expire on January 29, 2017. Subsequently, Council approved a time extension in 2017 to expire on January 29, 2018.

Administration recirculated the approved subdivision to stakeholders to ensure the approval conditions remain valid and to confirm that the land is suitable for the proposed subdivision. Comments received with the recirculation indicate that there are no concerns with the time extension and that conditions of the subdivision approval remain the same.

Subdivision Approval Time Extension Request – Z14-0035

Council approved the request to extend the period for subdivision endorsement for application Z14-0035 to Jan. 29, 2019.
The proposed subdivision of 32 lots is known as Stoneridge Phase 5A. The subdivision is located east of Stoneridge Way and South of 64th Avenue, with a total land area of 3.20 hectares.

The Subdivision Authority Officer approved a time extension in 2016 to expire on Jan. 29, 2017. Subsequently, Council granted a time extension in 2017 to expire on January 29, 2018.

The reason provided by the applicant for the request is because of economic conditions and slow housing market.

Administration recirculated the approved subdivision to stakeholders to ensure the approval conditions remain valid and to confirm that the land is suitable for the proposed subdivision. Comments received with the recirculation indicate that there are no concerns with the time extension and that conditions of the subdivision approval remain the same.

Subdivision Approval Time Extension Request Z15-0018

Council approved the request to extend the period for subdivision endorsement for Z15-0018 to November 25, 2018.

The proposed subdivision of one lot is known as Trumpeter Village and is zoned Manufactured Home Community. It is located east of the exiting Trumpeter Village development at 88 St. and 108 Ave., with a total land area of 7.76 hectares.

The Subdivision Authority Officer approved the subdivision with conditions on Nov. 25, 2015 and granted a time extension in 2016 to expire on November 25, 2017.

The reason provided by the applicant for the time extension request is to allow for additional time to meet the conditions of approval.

Administration made the decision to recirculate the approved subdivision to stakeholders to ensure the conditions are still valid, and the land still suitable for the proposed subdivision. Comments received with the recirculation indicate that there are no concerns with the time extension and that conditions of the subdivision approval remain the same.

Downtown Incentive Program

Council approved the proposed amendments to Policy 316, the Downtown Incentive Program.

The proposed changes to Policy 316 are meant to provide additional clarity to the Downtown Incentives Program by
1) Removing the Retroactive Façade Improvement Grant
a. There are no outstanding permits eligible under the Retroactive Façade Improvement Grant, therefore it was removed for clarity.

2) Adding definitions for Inspection Services, Engineering and Planning & Development Fees
a. The additional definitions reduce confusion and broaden the description to include all fees eligible under the Fee Waiver Incentive.

3) Identifying exclusions to the Fee Waiver incentive
a. Exclusions are more clearly identified in order to reduce confusion and highlight ineligible fees.

4) Adding a Proof of Means requirement to the Urban Residential Grant
a. A Proof of Means requirement was added to ensure that funding is awarded to projects that are financially capable of moving forward The Downtown Incentives Program launched in February 2016 and includes three grant opportunities for downtown businesses: the Façade Improvement Grant, the Urban Residential Grant and the Patio Grant.

To date, the program has awarded $2.04 million to downtown businesses. $929,072 has been awarded to 26 businesses under the Façade Improvement Grant and $1.11 million has been granted under the Urban Residential Development Grant to a 64 unit mixed-use project.

The Downtown Incentives Program has budgeted $500,000 for the 2018 funding intake.

2018 Traffic Signals Program

Council approved the following changes to the 2018 Capital Budget:
1. Change Traffic Signal Funding: From: 108 St & 132 Ave To: 89 Ave & 116 St Maintain same funding amount and source.
2. Change Traffic Signal and Geometric Upgrades Funding: From: 92 St & 72 Ave To: 132 Ave and 97 B St Maintain same funding amount and source.
3. Delete Traffic Signal Funding for 92 St and 132 Ave.
Management recommends that the 2018 capital budget be revised to allow for the signalization of intersections that are currently unidentified in the Capital Budget. The intersection improvements are scheduled for this year.

During the capital budget deliberation in the fall of 2014, Administrated identified and recommended locations for new traffic signals to Council. At the time of recommendation, the intersections of 108 St and 132 Ave, 92 St and 132 Ave, and 92 St and 72 Ave were expected to meet requirements for signalization based on projected development growth and traffic patterns.

Police Service Fees and Charges

Council approved Bylaw Amendment C-1267A, Police Service Fees and Charges

The current Bylaw C-1267 Police Service Fees and Charges was approved May 28, 2012. At that time the fee for electronic fingerprinting was set at $50 of which $25 was sent to the Receiver General and the other $25 was retained by the City of Grande Prairie for providing the service.

In October, the Receiver General’s portion of the fingerprinting fees increased from $25 to $50. As a result of that change, the entire amount collected for fingerprinting has been going to the Receiver General. To compensate, the bylaw will be adjusted so $45 will be charged for Police Information Checks.

In December, Administration reviewed the Police Fees of similar sized municipalities. Strathcona, St. Albert, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat were included in the review. The lowest fee for electronic fingerprints was $65 and the highest fee was $95.

Development Permit PL 160252 – CAIRN Building

Council voted to issue a $250 fine for the current non-compliance for Development Permit PL 160252.
Development Permit PL160252 was issued by City Council on May 30, 2016 to regularize the uses within the CAIRN building and most specifically, the main floor commercial uses (Community Outreach Facility, Health Facilities-Minor and Retail Store-Convenience).

The permit also approved additional on-site parking at 10127- and 10131-105 Ave., as proposed by the Applicant. Council’s conditions of approval required the landscaping works to be completed by no later than October 31, 2016 and paving, curbing and line painting to be completed by no later than September 30, 2016. 

In October 2016, the Development Permit was amended by Council to extend the deadlines for the completion of the required paving (as well as curbing and line painting) to September 30, 2017 and landscaping improvements by October 31, 2017.

The time extensions were requested by the Applicant since none of the expected work had been undertaken. At the Regular Council meeting held on December 4, the Applicant informed Council that he cannot meet the obligations and commitments he agreed to in his Development Permit and subsequently requested a second extension for the completion of the paving and landscaping improvements by no later than September 30, 2022, as well as a reduction of four parking stalls from the site plan previously approved by Council.

Roller Derby Request

The Grande Prairie Roller Derby Association, represented by Kristina MacNeil, Kerry Skarberg and Jen Greentree, made a request for affordable space to set up a regulation track to host sanctioned bouts, scrimmages and boot camps.

Council voted to direct Administration to determine the space requirements for a game and potential options for City facilities and report back to the Community Living Committee.

The league has been challenged in efforts to grow over the past eight years by having to commute to Wembley, Sexsmith and Clairmont.

Northern Alberta Development Council

Cody Beairsto, Grande Prairie member of the Northern Alberta Development Council provided an update on the agencies activities. His report was received for information.

The NADC champions the cause of Alberta's northern economies and communities by exploring opportunities for growth, and developing programs and services to facilitate this growth. 

Goals and Key Strategies
• Encourage economic growth and community development by:
• Build partnerships among key stakeholders to establish priorities and pursue northern opportunities
• Foster economic strength and diversity by supporting development in transportation, value-added agriculture, tourism, health and other areas
• Support initiatives to increase northern skill levels, in partnership with northern communities, business, industry, learning providers and students
• Increase awareness about Northern Alberta’s employment and lifestyle opportunities

The Council is made up of 10 public members and the Chair is a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Alberta. Council membership reflects the geographic, cultural and vocational diversity of northern communities. 

All are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. A small staff support the directions set by Council.
The NADC head office is in Peace River and there are small offices in Bonnyville, Fort McMurray and Edmonton.

Weyerhaeuser Caribou Range Planning

Wendy Crosina, Manager of Forest Stewardship, and Terry Jean, General Manager, Lumber, at Weyerhaeuser presented to Council on the company’s efforts to work with stakeholders and government to implement a solution that ensures access to a sustainable and adequate long-term supply of fibre that satisfies the requirements set out in the Federal Recovery Strategy and maintains caribou habitat across the Forest Management Area. 

Council members were encouraged to attend a March 8 open house presented by the provincial government. Discussion will be focused on the Draft Provincial Woodland Caribou Range Plan.

It seeks to find a balance between achieving self-sustaining caribou populations, meeting federal requirements under the Species at Risk Act and addressing economic and environmental realities in Alberta.

The plan presents a combination of habitat and population management actions, intended to address the goals and objectives of Alberta's Woodland Caribou Recovery Plan and policy, and the Federal Recovery Strategies for both the boreal and southern mountain woodland caribou populations.

The open house will be held at the Elk’s Hall, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.