Southfork residents want to see their traffic-related concerns addressed before any changes are made to the community’s Area Structure Plan.
During a Public Hearing to amend/consolidate Sourthfork’s Area Structure Plan Feb. 9, several residents told Leduc City Council that the neighbourhood roads are already too congested, that alternate entrances need to be put in and traffic needs to be slowed down before the developer continues with plans to add medium density housing to the neighbourhood.
“Southfork Drive is already very busy,” said resident Nathasha Wice. Wice said her family moved from Edmonton to Leduc to get away from crowded neighbourhoods and what she was seeing happening in Southfork is exactly what they were trying to avoid.
Coun. Dave Mackenzie agreed that with only one entrance into the subdivision and the high growth in the popular neighbourhood there is, ‘a bottle neck at times.’
Speaking for the developer, Cam Hart said plans for medium density housing are many years down the road and there are plans to bring a second entrance online this year when the first portion of Highway 2A is realigned by the fall of 2015. There are also plans for a third and four entrance in the future.
“The way it sits now, it will get better,” he said.
Mayor Greg Krischke pointed out to residents that denser neighbourhoods will be a reality all over the city as the Provincial Government has mandated 20-35 housing units per hectare in cities. “Our challenge is we do it in a responsible way.”
Capital Region Board Chair Nolan Krause was at the meeting to present later in the evening and he pointed out under the Provincial government’s proposal, the higher density will save 15 hectares of farmland. “In five years, that’s a lot of farmland,” he said. Under the current proposal, there could be a maximum number of 850 new units built in Southfork in the coming years. However, Hart said it is likely to be less than that.
“We want to make sure we provide a safe, healthy community with all types of housing, whether you are just starting out or are looking at estate housing,” said Krischke. “This plan will make it possible for people to move as their circumstances change without leaving a neighbourhood they love.”
Following the public hearing, council gave first reading to the amendment. Coun. Terry Lasowski noted the Area Structure Plan was originally put together in 1993 and that residents should expect in 20 years it would need to be looked at again. “Things change, markets change. We need to look at these.”
While Mackenzie wanted to hold off on the first reading until a traffic study could be done in Southfork, Coun. Bob Young said there will be future opportunities as development permits come forth and that the City’s Traffic Committee can look at a traffic calming measure or lights at crosswalks. “Southfork is a great community now. We need to go in and make it better.”