Further GlenEagles development going back to council

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RESIDENTS CONCERNED ABOUT DRAINAGE AND SLOPE ISSUES

Residents concerned with the potential re-zoning and development of a four-acre parcel of land in GlenEagles – known as the Jones Estate – are growing tired of revisiting what has become an issue of contention in the community.

As now-title holder Hazkar Developments, with project manager Quantum Place Developments at the helm, readies to return to council “later this year … likely before summer ” residents are faced with new rounds of public engagement where concerns of years past continue to be rehashed.

“How many times do we have to keep dealing with this? ” said Rodger Grant, who built the last house on Glenvista Lane in 2004 – immediately adjacent to the Jones Estate land.

“Every single discussion always talks about slope stability and ground water problems and we get no answers as to how it’s going to be resolved. ”

Fellow Vistas neighbour Gary Kooistra joins Grant in his frustration at his kitchen table. The pair was among some 20 members of the community who attended an engagement session held by Quantum on Jan. 12.

Couns. Morgan Nagel, Alex Reed and Pat Wilson were also in attendance, but have advised it is too premature to comment on the matter before the formal application to develop is presented to council.

“Gleneagles is famous for its ground instability … nowhere in the GlenEagles Area Structure Plan does it say this is going to be developed in the future, ” said Kooistra, who has resided in the Vistas since 2005.

Kooistra showed the Cochrane Eagle a copy of a letter from the Town of Cochrane’s corporate services department dated Jan. 16, 2006 that acknowledged the community of GlenEagles was deemed to be “completely developed ” at its current 955 lots.

Adding to the chief concerns of slope stability and surface water drainage are traffic – namely that the original direct access to the Jones Estate land off Highway 1A was removed by Alberta Transportation and the foreseeable access would be off the now-quiet Glenvista Lane.

Concerns of heavy commercial and construction traffic for the build-out period have also been raised.

Standing on Grant’s back deck, he gestures to the slope where the developer is looking to build anywhere from 20 single-family to 26 multi-family homes – or some similar style of housing – and then to the Glenhaven community below the Vistas, where the surface water drains through.

Grant and Kooistra were adamant that they have yet to encounter Gleneagles residents from any of the subdivisions and their respective condominium boards, including bare land, in support of any development on the Jones Estate land and would all like to see the hilltop parcel kept as some sort of natural reserve or park space.

Chris Webster, a Haven resident who is also concerned with the potential development, is a trained engineer who spent most of his career working in construction and mining.

“If there is any added volume put into this water system it can’t handle it and will take some of the houses off its foundation, ” said Webster, who feels strongly that the drainage pathway running through his community is either approaching capacity or has surpassed it.

Webster said he has “grave concerns ” over any development, given the subsurface materials of glacial till (clay), which he fears could “become unstable and rupture ” with additional pressure.

He is concerned that a full geotechnical study must be conducted by the developer and has advised that he would be willing to present to town council in the future.

Chris Ollenberger is the managing principal of Quantum and confirmed that his team will be conducting their geotechnical studies over the next few weeks in order to assess key issues such as slope stability and surface water drainage capacity.

Ollenberger said he understands that residents feel exhausted with the public engagement surrounding previous applications, but that this element is key to their due diligence and is time well spent.

Quantum will look to further engage with the community ahead of their application to develop and the studies that lie in the weeks ahead will better shape what type of development is suitable for the Jones Estate.

“We are quite disappointed that they didn’t have any solutions to our concerns … what’s in all of this for us?, ” said Phil Lalonde, GlenEagles Estates resident who was also in attendance at the meeting.

Jones Estate History

The last council struck the matter down at first reading last April.

At that time, Marcia Johnston was titleholder on behalf of the nine charitable recipients of the late Muriel Evelyn Jones’ estate, who died in 2007.

The property was named after the sisters Eileen Grace and Muriel Evelyn Jones, who lived in the single home on the site until their respective deaths; Eileen predeceased her sister several years earlier. The home has since been torn down.

Johnston showed the Cochrane Eagle the series of maps contained in the GlenEagles Area Structure Plan (ASP) – where the first three maps clearly show that the Jones Land was not part of the ASP; subsequent maps appear to incorporate the land into the ASP, which appears to be an oversight.

Last spring, Johnston had applied with co-applicant Hazkar to build 16 single-family units with R-1 zoning.

Johnston is no longer on the title and has nothing to do with the application that will be submitted later this year.

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Lindsay Seewalt

Lindsay is a senior Eagle reporter who has transformed her penchant for storytelling into the craft of writing. She has a knack for getting the scoop on stories and is a strong interviewer. The U of C and MRU English/Journalism graduate is committed to telling every story through a new lens, from a fresh perspective. Currently, her focus is on news and politics reporting, including town hall. She has a passion for providing a platform for underdogs, grassroots movements and those who have the courage to put themselves out there. She bases the strength of her stories on the depth of her connection with her interviewee, which is best done over too much coffee.