A development proposed for the eastern edge of Dead Man’s Flats cleared a significant hurdle before the Christmas holidays with approval of a subdivision application after nearly a quarter century and numerous changes of scope.
The MD of Bighorn’s five-person Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) approved the subdivision application for the proposed River’s Bend and Limestone Valley development on Dec. 19, creating 74 single-family residential lots, one lot for a multi-family project and 15 light industrial lots, in keeping with the 2010 River’s Bend/Limestone Valley Conceptual Scheme.
Subdivision approval also created one public utility lot and six municipal reserve lots.
As part of its approval, the MPC, as recommended by Bighorn administration, included 62 conditions, such as replacement of the bridge over Pigeon Creek and decommissioning of the existing sewage lagoons, over four phases of development.
BHB Canmore Ltd. first proposed building a golf course, RV park and campground in 1988 on a 70-acre parcel of land owned by the MD and a 120-acre parcel of provincial land. Those plans, however, changed following a round of studies that showed the provincial land was an important wildlife corridor.
BHB Canmore scaled back its proposal by shrinking the golf course and RV park and changing the campground to a lodge, all on the MD’s 70 acres. The company later removed the golf course, RV park and lodge from its proposal, changing its plans to include residential and light-industrial components.
A subdivision application was approved for the residential and light industrial components in 2006, however, that application lapsed and was not renewed.
River’s Bend Developments Inc. – comprised of Frank Kernick, Wade Downer and Shane Jonker – recently bought the parcel of land from BHB and moved forward with the residential and industrial plans, bringing a new subdivision application to the MD in December.
The MD is still working with the Province on a land swap to trade 75 acres of land at Dead Man’s Flats to protect a wildlife corridor and habitat patches for a parcel of equal size owned by the Province located elsewhere in the MD.
With the subdivision application approved, Jonker said it opens the door for the developers, River’s Bend Development Inc. to begin working with the municipality on the development agreement.
“It has been developing concurrently with the work we have been doing on the subdivision. It’s not like we’ve started from ground zero on that. That dialogue has been ongoing for almost a year now. That part has to get accomplished. Before we can get over there and put the first shovel in the ground,” Jonker said.
He added the developers are planning to begin excavating in March, but that is dependent on servicing the hamlet with water and wastewater.
The request for proposals process to design-build water and wastewater lines from Canmore to the hamlet has closed, and the MD is reviewing the RFPs it received, said Robert Ellis, the MD’s planning and development officer.
Regional lines are seen as more cost effective than developing the deep-water well drilled near the hamlet, according to community planner Tracy Woitenko.
Jonker said based on work accomplished to date, the developers are confident they will begin work on the site in early spring.
The developers are planning to have the base infrastructure – roads and pipes – in place so that when the municipal infrastructure reaches Dead Man’s Flats, Rivers Bend is prepared to connect to it directly.
Ellis said administration and the developers would begin negotiating the development agreement, based on the 62 conditions, early in the new year.