Coun­cil con­sid­er­ing re­de­vel­op­ment plans for for­mer Swift Cur­rent school sites

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBEN­BERG mlieben­berg@prairiepos­

The City of Swift Cur­rent is tak­ing an­other step in the process to re­de­velop the for­mer Oman and Ash­ley Park school sites.

A pre­sen­ta­tion at a reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing on Nov. 19 pro­vided de­tails about re­de­vel­op­ment plans for these sites. Coun­cil­lors ap­proved a no­tice of mo­tion to ad­vise the pub­lic of their in­ten­tion to amend the City's of­fi­cial de­vel­op­ment plan to add the Oman and Ash­ley Park school site re­de­vel­op­ment plans.

Michael Ruus, the City's gen­eral man­ager for plan­ning and growth de­vel­op­ment, ex­plained that this no­tice of mo­tion will re­sult in a pub­lic hear­ing at a fu­ture coun­cil meet­ing.

“So the pub­lic has that op­por­tu­nity to give that last bit of feed­back to coun­cil and ad­min­is­tra­tion on ba­si­cally how well did we do and how well did we lis­ten through that four-stage process that we went through with con­sult­ing,” he said after the coun­cil meet­ing. “After that pub­lic hear­ing, if there’s ad­di­tional feed­back, we would take note of it and see if there is any­thing that needs to be ad­dressed in the draft plan, and then, if the com­mu­nity is happy with how we've done on this project, we will move for­ward with ap­proval through coun­cil.”

He noted that the re­de­vel­op­ment plans for the Oman and Ash­ley Park school sites were cre­ated after a ro­bust pub­lic en­gage­ment process, which was car­ried out dur­ing four dif­fer­ent phases.

Lo­cal res­i­dents in the area around the two sites were con­sulted dur­ing the first phase and con­cep­tual de­sign op­tions were cre­ated in three work­shops. These out­comes were then pre­sented to res­i­dents and the wider pub­lic dur­ing an on­line sur­vey. The third step was a pub­lic open house in Au­gust 2018 to present draft plans to par­tic­i­pants, and the fourth phase of the process was an ad­di­tional on­line sur­vey to en­sure that ev­ery­one had an op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide feed­back.

The con­sul­ta­tion process for these two school sites was more ex­ten­sive than the con­sul­ta­tion for the other two school sites. The City re­viewed the pro­ce­dure that was fol­lowed for the St. Pa­trick and St. Joseph school sites and de­cided to have an ad­di­tional on­line sur­vey dur­ing the con­sul­ta­tion process for the Oman and Ash­ley Park sites.

“We de­cided that for these projects we wanted to add that ex­tra step, be­cause some of the feed­back we have re­ceived was that some folks that weren't in the im­me­di­ate prox­im­ity of the site didn't have that op­por­tu­nity on the front end to of­fer any ideas and then re­ally didn’t have any op­por­tu­nity to give feed­back on the project un­til the open house,” he said.

Feed­back from the con­sul­ta­tion for both Oman and Ash­ley Park sites in­di­cated an ex­pec­ta­tion from par­tic­i­pants that the re­de­vel­op­ment will in­clude pub­lic ameni­ties and some el­e­ment of green space.

The re­de­vel­op­ment plans pre­sented at the Nov. 19 coun­cil meet­ing pro­posed that these sites are used as hous­ing in­fill sites, but it re­tains a por­tion of each site for green space. The Oman re­de­vel­op­ment plan in­cludes a park and open space area that will cover ap­prox­i­mately 38 per cent of the gross land area. It will in­cor­po­rate a com­mem­o­ra­tive mon­u­ment to rec­og­nize and cel­e­brate the orig­i­nal do­na­tion of the land to the City in 1914 for the con­struc­tion of a school. The re­main­ing land will be used for the de­vel­op­ment of 24 res­i­den­tial lots, which will con­sist of 15 larger lots and nine smaller lots for more af­ford­able hous­ing.

The re­de­vel­op­ment plan for the Ash­ley Park school site al­lo­cates 60 per cent of the gross de­vel­op­ment area to park and open space. The ex­ist­ing soc­cer pitch will be re­tained and the cur­rent out­door learn­ing cen­tre will be re­lo­cated to an area just north of the site, where it will be­come part of a new rest area next to the Swift Cur­rent Creek.

“That was one el­e­ment that the com­mu­nity had sug­gested to us that they wanted to see in­cor­po­rated into the over­all plan,” he said. “The op­tion that our team had to come up with was to make that con­nec­tion to the Chi­nook Park­way and then of­fer that out­door learn­ing cen­tre as part of that ex­ten­sion to the park­way so we would have more mem­bers of the pub­lic pass­ing through it and able to en­joy it, while also cre­at­ing that new ex­ten­sion to our great park­way sys­tem.”

The in­fill hous­ing on the Ash­ley Park site will con­sist of 13 sin­gle-unit res­i­den­tial lots along the north half of the site. These will be larger lots for the con­struc­tion of sin­gle de­tached dwellings.

Ruus felt the pro­posed re­de­vel­op­ment plans for both for­mer school sites are a good com­pro­mise that in­cor­po­rated pub­lic feed­back.

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