Residents give mixed reviews on Greystone development

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An open house held June 15 on the proposed Greystone development drew a turnout of around 100 people and mixed reviews.

While many Riverview residents remain concerned about a perceived lack of green space, the overall density of 9.0 units per acre (upa) and increased traffic in their adjacent community – Mike Smith is one Riverview resident who thinks the development could have more pluses than minuses.

“There comes a breaking point for families,” said the family man, explaining that his property taxes have nearly doubled over the last six years – with no commercial development to help offset the increasingly high taxation in Riverview.

Smith added that the gravel pit has been a blight on the landscape and as long as the Greystone development is well-scheduled to coincide with bridge construction and environmental considerations are integrated into the community planning – he thinks the developer is off to a good start.

Not everyone is in agreement.

“I’m not against growth – I’m against reckless growth,” said Terri White, who has lived in Riverview for eight years with husband, Terry.

The Whites are concerned that the highest density, multi-family units are too concentrated in the northeast area of the site and are without enough green space. They are also concerned the density could exceed the 9.0 upa.

“Density can be done well and we are very cognizant that we don’t want density to negatively impact any existing communities,” said Drew Hyndman, senior manager of development services for the town.

He added that it all comes down to the future land use designations, but that a development could potentially maximize all the regulations (height of building, number of units) in a specific land use designation within their development proposal – which could bump the overall density above 9.0 upa.

With respect to doing density well, Hyndman said one of the more favourable changes to the plan has been transitioning the density – with lower densities in the area closest to Riverview.

“The community, at a minimum, is going to be at least double the density of some of the other communities in town,” said Riverview Community Association president Gerry Ertel, confirming the density of his community is 4.6 upa.

“Our concern is that the people in Cochrane are not going to have that opportunity to move up … if people want that density they are better off to stay in Calgary,” added Deborah Ertel, adding that she is wary of Cochrane communities building to densities between 8-10 upa (as mandated by the Calgary Regional Partnership).

Major changes made to the site plan include a reduction of single and semi-detached homes (R-2) to 25 per cent from 50 per cent; an increase of single detached homes (R-1) to 46 per cent from 19 per cent; an overall density in District 2 within the west half of the site to 4.8 upa from 6.1; an additional parking lot, an additional park and pathway; larger ball diamonds and removal of the northwest commercial corner.

District One (east) contains multi-family housing with densities ranging from 20 to 40 upa, commercial uses and a public plaza. District Two (west) is the lower density area of the site, with both single, semi-detached dwellings and townhouses with an overall density of 4.8 upa. The Riverview Community Association maintains that while it appreciates some of the changes made – especially the zoning changes – they still have significant concerns.

The Transportation Impact Assessment conducted by the developer is based on peak hours and post-development conditions, analyzed at the 2020 and 2030 traffic horizons. Improvements include two roundabouts, which will provide the major entry/exits to the community from Griffin Road/James Walker Trail on the east side of the plan. Griffin Road/James Walker Trail which will link up to the bridge. Additionally, one major intersection off River Ave. will provide a west entry/exit to the community.

The Ertels and Whites are concerned about the future traffic pressures on Riverview.

The future mixed-use community that would house upwards of 2,000 residents and is located off Griffin Road, in between the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre and the community of Riverview; it’s owned by gravel pit operator Burnco.

The developer held its first open house last September and submitted its Area Structure Plan/Neighbourhood Plan to the town for internal circulation in April. The plans are now in external review until mid-July and posted on the town’s website for further review.

Should the development move forward, construction could begin next year and phased community build-out could take upwards of 10 years.

Rocky View County owns a portion of the lands contained in the Greystone ASP, as does Spray Lake Sawmills.

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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.