Riverbank Landing gets green light

·2 min read

St. Albert city council approved the Riverbank Landing development with no amendments on Wednesday night.

The city council meeting went for 13 hours and 18 minutes before council decided to approve the project just before 10:30 p.m.

The development will see five buildings on the former Hole's Greenhouses site, two of which are 40 and 50 metres high, with 360 residential units and about 67,700 square feet of commercial space (for reference, the Botanica building next to the site is 37 metres tall).

The votes on the projects were almost unanimous, with Coun. Ken MacKay the only opposing vote of the night, and he voted against only one bylaw.

MacKay opposed the first bylaw in the three-bylaw package, which saw the re-designating of the lands from commercial and low-density residential to a mixed-use zoning, which would allow both residential and commercial on the same property.

Council voted unanimously to re-designate the land from direct control, to direct-control mixed-use, which would prevent the need for the developer to come to city council at multiple stages in the project, but rather would approve the proposed design currently before council.

The final bylaw, which approved the height and size of the buildings, was unanimously given the green light by council.

Throughout the night almost 80 speakers came out to speak at the hearing on the development.

St. Albert city council heard from more than 100 residents through written submissions and speakers on whether they should build the new project, which would be constructed over five to seven years on the site adjacent to the Shops at Boudreau.

Those opposing the development spoke overwhelmingly about traffic issues, along with concerns about the shadow and height. Residents also said the building will impact the character of the neighbourhood and wanted to see the development moved into a more fitting area of the city. Other residents were concerned about erecting a medium-density building where there is no public transit.

For those who supported the project, they were excited about its walkability, along with the social aspects of living in a condo. Many speakers said Riverbank Landing is a place for people of all ages to live and many residents plan on retiring there. Residents who live in the Botanica condos already in place came to speak in favour of the project, saying the location is already successful.

The public hearing was open for 11 hours and 45 minutes and council began debating the associated bylaws at 9 p.m., 12 hours after the meeting started. Debate lasted for more than one hour and 15 minutes.

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette

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