Public Hearing: Bylaw 1243
Council performed its first public hearing since the municipal elections in Octover 2017. The hearing took place to garner feedback regarding a proposed rezoning of Lots 1 and 2, Block 25, Plan 791HW (4801 48 Ave.) from a medium density residential district to a highway commercial district. The suggested rezoning comes following a proposed business venture by St. Paul residents Kenneth and Paulette Ralstin.
The Ralstins are proposing to open a small bakery and coffee shop, meant to seat around 20 people. The property located at 4801 48 Ave. (which the Ralstins own and is currently a vacant rental property) sits directly west of St. Therese Hospital, on the southwest corner of the intersection at 48 Ave. and 48 St.
“We’re looking at this as a way to serve staff from the hospital, maybe some people from the [Dr. Amil Shapka’s] Dental Clinic as well,” Kenneth Ralstin said.
Several weeks ago, notice of the potential rezoning was sent to property and homeowners adjacent 4801 48 Ave., and Council asked for feedback. Council received a total of nine written responses; four in favour of the rezoning and five opposed. Of the five opposed, three attended the hearing to ensure that their voices were heard.
Ian Brousseau, an adjacent landowner, expressed a variety of concerns:
“I’m worried that [the proposed business] will lower the surrounding properties’ market values, that parking in front of our own houses will be a challenge, that foot traffic will increase, and that it may affect our yearly property taxes negatively.”
Brousseau, and others opposed to the potential business, also expressed concerns about what would happen with the property if the bakery business venture doesn’t succeed. This could lead to a situation where an entirely different business could establish itself on the 4801 lot; a business for which none of the surrounding residents would be able to provide input or feedback prior to its establishment. Other concerns including child safety, privacy, and theft were mentioned.
Council will review the remarks made by the Ralstins and those in opposition and the matter will be revisited at the next Council Meeting.
Junior Golf Course Memberships
Council moved to reduce the cost of Junior Memberships at the St. Paul Golf Course. Effective immediately, memberships for youth 12 and under will be free, and memberships for youth aged 13-17 will be $100 annually.
Councillor Nathan Taylor was not opposed to the change in membership cost, though in the future, he would like to examine a different pricing model that also supports more affordable single-round play for those new to the sport. He also suggested changing the pricing model of golf club rentals rather than green fees.
“I fully support the goal of getting more young people golfing,” Councillor Taylor said, “I just don’t know if cheaper yearly memberships are the way to do it. But let’s try this out and look at the results at the end of the golf season.”
Bylaw 1244: Borrowing for Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades
A new bylaw underwent first reading on Monday. Council has closely examined multiple options for borrowing the $5.5 million necessary for the upcoming upgrades the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The bylaw stated that the Town would receive a loan from the Alberta Capital Finance Authority, which would be subject to an interest rate of 3.304% over a payment period of 25 years. CAO Kim Heyman recommended instead that the town pursue a faster payment period resulting in higher bi-annual payments with less interest over a shorter period of time. Therefore, they will pursue a loan of $5.5 million with an interest rate of 3.216% paid over the course of 20 years.
Anonymous Complaint Policy
A new policy has been drafted regarding anonymous complaints, following a letter received that contained no name or contact information. The new policy states that formal complaints submitted to the town must contain a name, address, and phone number. Complaints submitted without these criteria will be received and considered by Town staff but will not be acknowledged or discussed by Council.