March 26th, 2019

Canalta proposes 245-unit care facility

By Collin Gallant on July 12, 2018.

Heavy equipment moves earth Wednesday afternoon near the site of a proposed long-term care facility near Strachan Road. The project is latest in a number of large developments pitched or underway in the area.--NEWS PHOTO COLLIN GALLANT

A major continuing care facility is being proposed for south Medicine Hat, thereby extending a veritable run on developing a former city lot once considered unsellable as it was partitioned.

Canalta Real Estate presented a rezoning application to Wednesday’s meeting of the municipal planning commission, asking for a change to allow a six-storey, 245-unit “assisted living” facility on land it owns at 1763 Strachan Rd.

That’s part of a total of 18 acres the hotel chain bought off the city in two parts over the past two years for about $6 million. It will also be the site of planned hotel, commercial stripmall, two restaurants already in place and future gas bar.

The potential budget of the facility, which would back onto a storm pond, is $24 million. The company told the News that a schedule and overall plan could be made public this summer.

The application will now go to council, and a public hearing tentatively scheduled for Aug. 20.

Commission chair Coun. Brian Varga says the project is “very encouraging to see,” but that neighbours in the Chartwell Gardens might be surprised to learn of the scope of the project.

“It’s a fairly big building in that area,” he said, adding that with it, the parcel is now mostly built out. “It’s turned into quite a (development). I remember when we were afraid to break it up (into smaller parcels). It’s turned out fairly well.”

Planning department officials stated the current commercial zoning allows for six storeys, and that intensifying development on major arteries, such as Strachan Road, aligns with the city’s strategic priorities.

In fact, the proposed hotel would be of similar scale.

It’s the latest addition of a long list of substantial construction projects in Medicine Hat’s south end.

Masterpiece recently obtained a development permit for the third phase of the facility it owns across the drainage greenspace near the property.

Two multi-storey hotels are already under construction on Stober Bay, further to the east, as is a new gas bar and liquor store by South Country Co-op developed as a sub-division of the Canalta site.

Further into the Southlands community, construction on a 143-unit apartment complex got underway this spring.

The new Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education facility, Pope John Paul II School, is planned to open this coming fall.

It’s also the second major seniors’ condos or assisted living project discussed this month.

Last week it was revealed that Covenant Care, a company related to Covenant Health, had acquired the Riverside School site from the local school board. Long-term plans for the land, comprising a full city block, include developing an assisted living facility in the north-side community.

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