A glimpse into current and future development plans for the City of Estevan was provided at the Sept. 24 regular meeting of city council.
Acting upon a request from council, city manager Jim Puffalt provided a development update at the meeting.
In the report, it was noted the City had issued $22 million in building permits through August and Puffalt anticipated total construction values for the year will be in the $35 million range. If the city permits do hit that total, it would give them an impressive five year average of almost $40 million. Puffalt said the figures include 586 housing units which have been constructed in just under five years as well as 200 hotel rooms.
The report also provided an update into what is happening in the industrial, commercial and residential sectors development wise.
On the industrial side, the report noted that the Glen Peterson Industrial Park, which opened in 2009, has seen relatively strong interest. Currently the park is home to the Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute as well as a handful of businesses. Puffalt said there are still six lots available in the park and the City is getting daily inquiries about available property.
The report said the City sold 18 acres of land directly north of the industrial park to an Edmonton-based developer in 2011. The mixed industrial/commercial development will also see the start of the extension of King Street to Nesbitt Drive. It was also noted that the City’s official community plan reserves land north of King Street and east of Kensington Avenue for highway commercial and industrial uses with the remainder of Kensington to be upgraded to four-lane paved undivided status. As well, land that was transferred by the RM of Estevan to the City east and south of Devonian Street has been reserved for industrial uses.
On the commercial side, the report focused on the city’s northeast commercial area. The City has sold land in the area to developers for two more hotels and construction is expected to begin later this year or in early 2013. It’s expected the area will be completed in early 2013 with an office building, strip mall and restaurant. There are also plans for a strip mall/residential complex in the area that will provide 24 much needed rental units for Estevan.
With housing an ongoing issue in Estevan, the bulk of the report centred on residential development.
The Trojan area of the city is now basically complete with respect to the construction of homes on Sereggela Bay, Ross Court, and Wahba Court as well as the condominium development in the area. There are still 18 available acres for future development in that area however.
The Kensington Greens Park remains under development with the addition of lights, which Puffalt said is currently underway. The area north of the drainage pond next to Kensington Avenue will also be developed with pathways and green spaces.
In the Dominion Heights area, Phase 2 was completed in 2011 with all 26 lots sold. However, the City recently announced four lots in that development are going back on the market and a lottery would be held to ensure fairness.
The remaining City owned land in that area was sold to Trimount Developments for what will become Phase 3 and Phase 4 of Dominion Heights. The development includes 37 single-family lots as well as duplexes, townhouses and apartment buildings, highway commercial and land for a new firehouse which will apparently be needed in the near future. The report added there is another 64 acres for future residential development which could provide another 230 single family lots.
The project is the first private residential development in Estevan in years, and the City says it has been excited to work with Trimount. It was also noted that pathways will be constructed in that area, which will connect to the City’s overall system.
The other development in the north of Estevan, the Meadows of Estevan project by Essex Developments, is still in the works as well.
Essex owns 118 acres in the area north of St. Joseph’s Hospital. However it was learned in 2011 that the current infrastructure only has the capacity to service 33 acres which delayed the project.
The 33 acres will have space for single-family, duplexes, townhouses and multi-family dwellings and could have room for 3,000 people when fully completed.
The City and Essex are working towards a development/servicing agreement, which is expected to happen in the near future.
Although the City has been working to attract private developers in Estevan, they are still working on a 21 lot subdivision on Wellock Road that is currently known only as Parcel F. The report added that the City hopes it is the last residential project they will need to undertake for some time.
Along with the large projects, the City has also been encouraging in-fill housing and secondary suites.
Looking long-term, the report noted the City owns land north of Queen Street and east of Highway 47 bounded by the Cemetery Road north that has been reserved for future residential homes. The City is also holding joint planning meetings with the RM of Estevan who are currently developing their official community plan. The area north of the city limits and south of the heavy truck bypass will become a joint management area where both groups will outline “preferred development options.”