Council considering redevelopment plans for former Swift Current school sites
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.