October 22nd, 2018

Landscaping condition could see seniors’ apartment go forward

By Collin Gallant on October 11, 2018.

Medicine Hat News

A $24-million planned seniors’ housing facility will be allowed to go ahead with a higher than usual roofline, if the developer agrees to plant a row of trees to protect the privacy of nearby residences.

The municipal planning commission on Wednesday approved a development permit for Canalta Real Estate to build a six-storey block of 131-units at 1712 Strachan Road.

That decision came with the landscaping condition after residents in the neighbouring Chartwell Garden community said privacy was a greater concern than the building’s potential to block morning sunlight.

The entire proposal involves a height variance of about 1.5 metres for most of the building, above the allowable standard of 18 metres, while a small portion at one end will be 21 metres above grade. That sparked some concern from residences about how the sunlight would fall, but those who attended focused on possible invasion of privacy.

“The privacy issue is more of a concern than the sunlight,” said Sherry Larter, a Chartwell resident.

The developer will have to provide landscaping to act as privacy screen along a city pathway that separates the commercial land from the community’s eastern portion, either on their own site or pay to have it done on the municipal right-of way.

Commission chair Coun. Brian Varga said the requirement for trees that will be written into a development agreement between the city and Canalta, won’t result in an immediate screen.

“It will take years for the trees to grow up,” he said. “It’s not a quick fix but it might suffice to move it forward.”

Canalta will also have to pay an additional $245 related to the height variance above standard fees.

“Overall we’re excited for the project to get going,” said Robert Visser, of Canalta Real Estate, whose firm hopes to get final permits in order and work underway possibly before freeze up this construction season.

Canalta will act as the general contractor on the project that will be operated by Points West Living and is the first of two phases on the southend lot that Canalta bought off the City of Medicine Hat recently.

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