The City of Estevan continues to look at options to fill the Glen Peterson Industrial Park in east Estevan.
A meeting was held with land owners in the area on Oct. 31. Richard Neufeld, the manager of land development services, said it was a good opportunity to bounce ideas around for the development of the subdivision.
“I’m putting it to paper now, and drawing up some maps, illustrating what they’re looking for,” said Neufeld.
Among the ideas tossed around at the meeting was to see how the commercial and industrial area can be integrated, and perhaps prevent businesses from developing there that don’t belong. Those at the meeting were concerned about a car crushing business or salvage yard opening there.
“Right now it could happen,” said Neufeld. “It would be an automatic approval. There’s nothing I could really do to stop it, because it’s a permitted use.”
He doesn’t believe it would be the best location to have such a facility, with the Southeast College, restaurants and commercial businesses nearby.
Also suggested was residential development in that area, which Neufeld said would be a major departure from what the city has done in the past.
“We don’t have any residential east of Kensington,” said Neufeld.
There was also a discussion about reducing the cost to purchase land in the area, or the cost of off-site development levies.
“That comes up every time I have a meeting with developers. It doesn’t matter where it is in the city. The cost of development is a concern for everybody in the city.”
The cost to purchase a lot in Glen Peterson has been cited in the past as a reason why several lots remain vacant nearly a decade after they went on the market.
Another issue, according to Neufeld, is a policy that requires hard surfaces for parking lots. Neufeld pointed out that until 2010, companies could have pavement or gravel with dust control. But pavement is now required, except for in low density residential areas.
“It’s required in certain areas but not throughout,” said Neufeld.
A three-acre industrial property would need to have a hard-surfaced parking lot, and Neufeld said that would be expensive. He wants to find a balance between the desires of the people that were expressed in the Our Estevan survey program, and the realities associated with the cost of achieving it.
He would hate to see a parking lot surfacing requirement turn away a business that would be beneficial for the community.
There is interest in the subdivision, he said, and some new developments might be coming in. He is optimistic the economic development incentives introduced by the city in the summer will pay off.
Neufeld said he wanted to have the meeting to discuss whether there are portions of the bylaws that are detrimental to business growth and sustainability in the city, and if there are ideas that aren’t included in the bylaws that could help the business community thrive.
The next step will be to draft a document and present it to the stakeholder group. He hopes to have a final version that he can bring to council in the next month or two.
From there, an open house or a community meeting will likely take place, and he expects that’s where they will get a lot of feedback about the future of the industrial park.