Cumberland’s council is wary about a new offer from Coal Valley Estates (CVE) to alter a park planned for the real estate development.
The developer wants to amend a covenant for the proposed Fan House Park in exchange for two pieces of multi-family land. The plan is to offer up two plots to the village. A traffic management and active transportation plan with traffic calming measures and a multi-use path are part of the arrangement. The developer would use part of the land from the Fan House park for the road through the area and has also offered to improve the park with public art and interpretive signs. The old fan house was part of the No. 5 Mine.
Members of council, however, had too many questions about stormwater management and environmental protection. At the same time, they felt the developer was offering land that could not really be developed anyway.
“He’s not giving up anything,” Coun. Vickey Brown.
Coun. Sean Sullivan agreed, adding, “He has to give up more, in my opinion.”
As well, members of council felt removing the sites undermined the village’s efforts to provide more affordable housing, at least based on current zoning, because they come from higher density areas planned for CVE.
“Both of these pieces would come out of the multi-family area,” senior planner Karin Albert told council.
By removing part of the site devoted to the Fan House park and adding it to the road plan, Penrith Avenue could be straightened out, which village staff pointed to as a step toward moving along the subdivision plans. Again, council had concerns about what this would mean for speed and road safety in the area.
“We’re just creating another Kendal Avenue,” Brown said.
Council also had questions about stormwater management and an environment protection plan. As at past meetings, they have expressed concerns over a range of issues including these and others such as blasting and the effects on a ravine.
The area has been part of a comprehensive development area (CDA) since 2008, but members of council said the issues the village was facing at that time provided a different context from those today, such as a need for affordable housing and environmental protection.
Coun. Jesse Ketler noted much of the current Coal Valley Estates subdivision has become a “heat island” because of a lack of trees and green space.
“Now is the time to be asking for additional park space,” she said.
The CVE area has been built in multiple phases, but the latest work has been stalled over several issues. For now, council wants the developer to consider re-routing the road. They voted to deny the covenant modification, as well as get legal advice or have a legal workshop about the CDA.