Residents in a Cold Lake neighborhood passionately appeal to the City Council to develop a usable green space.
The plea follows a rezoning decision in September that saw the reclassification of four residential lots to medium-density residential. Paving the way for a multiplex development despite strong objections from the residents.
During the public hearing for the rezoning on September 12, residents argued that multi-family units were unsuitable for their community. They contended that the privately owned land, located on 14th Ave, between 15th and 16th St, could serve a better purpose.
Last Tuesday, residents returned to the council chambers with a petition calling for creating playgrounds instead of four-plex housing units in their neighborhood. They asked the council to reconsider its prior decision. The delegation represents an area spanning an area spanning from 16th St. and 16 Ave To 12th St and 12th Ave, urged the council to explore the possibility of purchasing the lots and transforming them into a park area for the community.
Vanessa Shaver, who along with Thomas Fedoruk represented the residents’ concerns, pointed out that the initial plans for the neighborhood included a “significant green space.” However, this designated green space was later rezoned for stormwater management and never upgraded for residents’ use.
Shaver, displaying images of the overgrown and unused area, compared it to other parks and playgrounds in the city. She highlighted that children in the neighborhood currently face a substantial walk or bike ride, navigating multiple roads and intersections. She deemed it unacceptable and unsafe for the young residents who wished to play with their friends.
The community’s opposition to the rezoning of the four lots stems from the belief that there are better uses for this land. Shaver emphasized that this land represents one of the last opportunities to create a usable, safe, and accessible green space.
Fedoruk expressed the view that the council had pushed through the rezoning without considering residents’ concerns. He emphasized their collective effort to hold the city accountable for keeping multifamily dwellings out of their neighborhood.
In response to their presentation, Mayor Craig Copeland acknowledged the challenge of completing interests, nothing that the privately owned lots have been available for sale, with developers likely seeking rezoning to proceed.
While acknowledging the difficulty in reversing the rezoning decision, Copeland redirected the discussion to the originally designated green space, suggesting the city explore innovative solutions to meet the community’s needs while addressing stormwater management requirements.
“Has anyone approached the city to see if anyone can put playgrounds in that green space,” he asked.
Copeland recognized the challenges and neglect surrounding the area but also believed it had potential solutions.
“Let’s examine the entire property and see what we can do.”