It looks as if the soon-to-be demolished Kinsmen Aquatic Centre will be making way for a 94-unit enhanced seniors’ condominium and apartment complex.
Caleb Group of Saskatoon has proposed a purchase and sale proposal for the approximately 2.85 acres of land at the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre site.
The centre and adjoining tennis courts would be impacted at the intersection of 18th Avenue, Diefenbaker Drive and 106th Street. The plan would be for the tennis courts to move to a new location.
The offer came together quickly, according to Mayor Ian Hamilton.
“This group, the Caleb Group out of Saskatoon, approached the City recently (about) their desire to identify locations in the city that would be adequate and appropriate for their proposed development,” said Hamilton.
The group indicated they had many calls from North Battleford residents looking to establish such a site in the city.
“Yes, we’re very excited about the potential of attracting that investment to the community,” said Hamilton.
The proposed deal would accomplish a goal of providing additional seniors housing. The Caleb Group proposal is for an assisted living environment, as opposed to the Level 3 and 4 offered by the new Harwood Manor in the city’s north end.
The location was appealing as well, due to the proximity to Centennial Park and to the track and lawn bowling nearby.
“It’s just a really nice area that would be amenable to such a development,” said Hamilton.
The proposed deal would also resolve issues surrounding the site in the wake of the recent decision to demolish the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre after it closes later this year.
“The City had been struggling with some of the issues around the Kinsmen pool site,” noted Tim LaFreniere, city planner, in his presentation to council. Among other things, the proposal presents an opportunity to offset some of the costs from demolition as well as attract an important senior citizens’ complex that would be close to the amenities at the park.
The process under the Planning and Development Act calls for a public hearing to happen on the same night that second and third reading takes place on the two bylaws. One bylaw would authorize the sale of the park land while the second bylaw rezones the land from I Institutional to R4 Residential.
There will be two public notices placed in the newspaper to alert the public before the public hearing, in respect to the sale and the rezoning.
The memorandum of understanding regarding the purchase and sale agreement with the Caleb Group for the seniors’ condo/apartment was approved in a resolution by council. According to the resolution, the following steps are to be undertaken: that the proposed sale of land be considered in accordance with the principles of the Planning and Development Act, 2007, the net proceed from the sale of land be used for parks purposes, and a bylaw be undertaken to consider the proposed sale of land and a bylaw to rezone the site be prepared for first reading prior to advertising.
While council did vote to approve the memorandum of understanding and the bylaws authorizing the sale and rezoning received first reading, the second and third reading have been put off to a later date to allow the City to schedule the public hearing and obtain feedback and input.
According to a non-binding letter of intent from LaFreniere dated April 16, the price for the land amounts to $288,650 per acre with the final price to be determined by survey. Payment is to occur on closing.
The closing date is to occur 90 days after the purchaser receives a development permit. According to the terms of the deal the purchaser will apply for the development permit on or before June 15, with confirmation that the purchaser has obtained a development permit suitable to city bylaws on or before June 26.
The fate of Kinsmen Aquatic Centre was sealed in April when council accepted a Parks and Recreation Department recommendation to demolish the building. The recommendation to demolish came after consultants reported the mechanical system was in poor shape and upgrades to the building would cost in the millions of dollars.
A date has not yet been scheduled for the demolition, which will not take place until after the new Co-op Aquatic Centre opens.
Also still to be determined is what to do about the tennis courts. The relocation of the tennis courts is likely to be the big issue, particularly in terms of how quickly those can be replaced.
“Once we finalize this process, the faster we can determine the new location for the tennis courts,” said Hamilton.