City Council Briefs: Street renaming approved

Maple Drive, the roadway leading into Burman University (formerly known as Canadian University College)

Maple Drive, the roadway leading into Burman University (formerly known as Canadian University College), will now be known as University Drive.

City council approved the street name change at their regular council meeting on Jan. 26th.

The name change was sparked by the CUC’s recent announcement to change its name to Burman University.

Board trustees voted to change the name this past December, with the change effective on May 1st.

Burman University officials noted they requested the street name change as it was appealing and very symbolic to have College Avenue intersect with the now renamed University Drive, which will provide an ongoing reminder of the long history of the institution.

“There is definitely some historic significance that would favour this change,” said City of Lacombe CAO Norma MacQuarrie.

Officials with Burman University also requested that the fees normally collected by the City to cover the costs associated with the name change, a $1,000 fee, be waived.

According to policy, the waiver of the fee can be granted to non-profit groups who wish to refl ect the historical context of the area.

The only affected property owner is the University itself, as no other residences or dwellings are in the area along Maple Drive, simplifying the matter, said MacQuarrie.

“It’s not that we are without costs even though it does impact only one landowner,” she said.

The costs associated from the name change for the City of Lacombe include a change in mapping, property files and emergency services.

Councillor Bill McQuesten noted that he would consider not charging the $1,000 fee due to the former Canadian University College’s significance to the community.

He made the motion for the name change with the addition of the waiving of the required fee.

“I understand the impact that the University has on our community and how important of a role they play, but I don’t know if that should preclude them from paying fees that everyone else would pay,” said Councillor Grant Harder.

Council denied the request after a close vote.

Burman University will still have to pay the $1,000 fee as well as the $180 cost to change out street signage.

MLA ROD FOX VISITS COUNCIL

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Rod Fox visited council to provide an update on the province’s fiscal situation.

“We have to adjust to a new reality,” he told council. “This is not business as usual in our province.”

Fox said the provincial government has made some fiscal decisions to reduce spending such as only hiring frontline services, reducing expenses and limiting travel and training, and restricting expenditures on goods and services.

The government plans to borrow funds for capital projects only, like schools, which are a “must have” with the current increase in the student population.

“We have created a solid fiscal policy,” said Fox. “Albertans should expect a no-frills budget during this time of transition.”

PHASE 2 MARKET SQUARE REZONING

A future shopping centre is one more step towards realization.

Council approved first reading to amend a bylaw that will rezone lands along Wolf Creek Drive from Future Designation District (FD) to various commercial zonings to allow Phase 2 development to occur.

A public hearing will be held on Feb. 23rd before council can proceed to second and third reading.

DEVELOPMENT GETS GREEN LIGHT

In an unprecedented move, council approved a subdivision application, without a required signed development agreement.

Glenn Fraser, of GS Communities, came to council to request a variance in regards to his application for a 122-acre subdivision, adjacent to the Lacombe Market Square Development.

“It has been done in other communities and I still agree to pay the off-site levies,” said Fraser.

GS Communities requested the variance, as they had reached a critical point to secure financing for the development and wanted to be able to move forward with the project.

“We need to get the ball rolling for these types of projects and get these houses built in the community,” said Councillor Reuben Konnik.

City council cautiously approved the variance.

The rezoning application for the lands must still be approved for a third reading by council.

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT SYMPOSIUM FEEDBACK

The City hosted a development symposium last November, as an opportunity for builders, developers and landowners to voice their feedback regarding the City’s Planning and Development department.

Lyla Peter, manager of planning and development, stated the average time it takes to process a development process has been reduced.

“Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) permits are taking on average 50 days to be issued,” she said. In 2011, an all-time high of 62 days was recorded.

Development office issued permits are taking on average eight days to be issued, which is also down from a 17-day average in 2010.

Peter anticipates that there will be an increase in housing activity in 2015, with an estimated 300 lots available for development in the year, in comparison to the City average of 100 units per year.

Mayor Steve Christie said that Municipal Planning Commission permits and development permits with such a low average sends a clear message.

“We are open to business,” he said.