Carpere presented its concept plan to city council on Monday night for a 150-acre subdivision at the former Valley View Centre site.
The development will include a mixed use for large estate lots that are set back from Wakamow Valley, standard residential lots and seniors bungalow lots in the south of the development. Carpere is also looking at student housing opportunities, multi-family dwellings as well as non-residential uses such as commercial and institutional uses.
"So what people are going to see is they aren't going to see highrises, they are not going to see tall buildings or development even when they are in the valley. They'll see the top of the valley and they'll have to go up to the top to actually see development," said Alan Wallace of Wallace Insights, consulting lead for the project.
The setback from Wakamow Valley will be restored to naturalized green space that will include native trees, shrubs, and grass. An environmental study done by Carpere showed that there were no protected wildlife lands or eco-sensitive areas where the development will take place.
"The former use of the site by the province took away that natural environment. There is a considerable amount of planting that was done, a considerable amount of, I would say, urbanized forms of landscaping that was done," Wallance said.
Walkways will connect to existing pathways and at least three viewpoints will be added to overlook Wakamow Valley.
"We're resisting any temptation to put up fences or gates or walls or anything like that. We want people to be able to move freely and feel comfortable moving in this area," Wallace said.
The centrepiece of the development will be a market square surrounded by a collector roadway with roundabouts. Inside the market square will be commercial retail, residential employment and institutional land uses. Part of the plan is for a seasonal outdoor market. Educational opportunities as well as recreational and tourism uses will also be pursued.
"We hope that Valley View will become a regional destination, something that becomes well known within the province and especially within south-central Saskatchewan," Wallace said.
Carpere estimates the population to be about 1,500 residents and 1,400 employees once it is fully built out.
Initially, Carpere was looking at an infill development due to the existing infrastructure. After negotiations with the city, it was agreed that it would be a greenfield development as the infrastructure is over 65 years old and not up to code. Wallace said Carpere will pay to update the infrastructure before it is handed over to the city so that it will last for a decent warranty period. Carpere has also agreed to pay for any off-site infrastructure that is needed.
The concept report outlined the costs associated with repurposing some of the existing buildings on the site.
The administration-hospital building is the central-most building that Carpere would look to repurpose for commercial use, a post-secondary institution or a combination of both. The company estimates it will cost $6.158 million to bring the building up to code for short-term use.
The maintenance building houses the heating plant and power plant and has several workshops. Carpere estimates it can be repurposed for $4.644 million.
The residential complex that formerly housed residents of the Valley View Centre is estimated to cost $1.39 million for short-term use. Carpere's concept report says the low ceilings could make repurposing challenging and it is doubtful the entire complex can be repurposed.
The kitchen-dining area of the complex Carpere would look to repurpose for possible residential or institutional uses at an approximate cost of $2.986 million.
The concept report said the laundry building could be repurposed for the short term for about $412,000 as it offers a large space that can be used for utility or institutional purposes.
Finally, the workshop building was once used for woodworking, metalwork and other small manufacturing and assembly uses. Carpere said it could support further employment uses such as light industrial enterprises, craft breweries, antique restoration and refinishing or artist studios. The estimated cost to bring it back up to code is $873,000.
"We are dealing with buildings that are 65 years old, so there is a tremendous amount of investment that is required before anything gets done on the site," Wallace said.
Carpere held public engagement sessions during a three-week period earlier this year, where they saw the majority support the project, giving it 3.7 out of five stars. What the company heard most was the land use was most valued to residents.
Coun. Jamey Logan recommended that residents look at the study because the development could be a huge asset to the city.
"It's all online for everyone to look at. Look at the studies that have been done and you'll see the work that has gone into this," Logan said. "It's not a haphazard thing that's thrown up on the hill. They've spent countless hours, weeks, months working on this."
The concept plan was approved unanimously upon the condition that Carpere conduct all the required environmental site assessments and provides the city a report showing any remediation to the site and that it meets federal CCME standards. Carpere would need to obtain letters from the Wakamow Valley Authority as well as federal and provincial regulatory agencies for a proposed stormwater management system. Carpere would also have to provide further information about enhancements to the Seventh Avenue Bridge and the intersection of Highway 2 to accommodate the development.
Coun Heather Eby understood that the project is still a long way away, but she's looking forward to seeing the project progress.
"I know it will be a few years before it is built out, but when it is it will be a legacy development for generations to come and I think that's really exciting," she said.
The next step is Carpere will have to work with city administration for zoning changes and detailed engineering reports are needed.
Below you can hear Wallace's entire presentation to city council: