Development is going strong in the City of Weyburn for commercial, industrial and residential properties, according to an extensive update on development provided by City manager Bob Smith to city council on Monday night, and to the SEREDA board recently.
There are six areas of the city under development for commercial and industrial projects, and six areas where residential is or will be soon under development, with something like 250 dwelling units coming from the projetcts started or soon to get underway.
For commercial and industrial projects, River Park is one of those under development, located between Highways 13 and 39, east of Queen Street. Of the lots the city had available there, four lots are still for sale on the south side of Regina Avenue, and eight have been sold for development. Some commercial developments have already set up shop in the area. There is also land available on Coteau Avenue West, and additional land has been sold for development there, along with new development at Tangen Point.
On Ebel Road, just off 16th Street, nine lots have been sold to date which are in various stages of development, and there is interest in four larger lots which are still available.
"We've developed a future concept plan, so if we need to develop additional land, we can use the land to the south along 16th Street and to the southeast," said Smith.
Among the developments on Ebel Road are a large car-truck wash, commercial offices and a large new building for SaskPower.
On Highway 13 east, commercial development has started in the last couple of years, and there are still a couple of lots available between the day care and a shop building, plus one lot on the north side of First Avenue.
On East Avenue, east of 18th Street, new office buildings have been developed there, said Smith, along with some infill development which has been taking place in the area. Some land is still available here, including some land Nexans is currently leasing to store wooden reels on.
An area which has seen some development is the Grand Trunk area behind where Tim Horton's and Wal-Mart are located; a 90-room hotel is proposed for this area, with lots available for potentially a couple more restaurants in the area. Lastly are some lots available south and east of the ethanol plant. A concept has been developed here, but as Smith said, it can be altered or changed as needed or wanted by developers.
For residential development, the largest area under development is in the area of Assiniboia Park School. The part developed so far, including the school and the residential streets across from it, is only a small fraction of the 250-acre parcel which the city wants to see developed into further residential neighbourhoods, including Veterans Way and Veterans Road. The city has developed 32 new lots here, and of those seven have been sold, with houses begun on some of those lots.
Multi-family dwellings is the theme up Fifth Avenue from there at Fifth Street, with plans for several developments in place and some construction already started, including a row of 14 townhouses built there now.
"Land levelling has been started for future development; we decided to do land levelling for the whole 250 acres so it's ready when a developer is ready for land," said Smith, pointing to a very short window of good weather available for this kind of land work.
The street from 16th Street over to Veterans Way will be paved this year as part of that development.
At Fifth Street and Fifth Avenue, Trimount plans to build two 39-unit apartment buildings for rent and a 30-unit townhouse. When complete, they will have 108 units available, and construction has started on the first 39-unit building.
Another company Glencoe, will develop a two-storey 39-unit townhouse with 1,200 square feet of space in each, with several types of townhouses available.
Rhamani Developments will be building 40 townhouse units, as the company was just approved by the Development Appeal Board to permit a higher density of homes in that area.
Stony Creek will build a four-storey 24-unit apartment building for rentals, and a four-storey condo for a total of 48 units.
The city is in the process of annexing land east of Assiniboia Park, and a concept plan is being developed, added Smith.
Nicor's Riverwood development on the Souris Valley grounds is in the midst of land levelling and preparation, with 17 small lots and 29 larger ones to be developed, along with a multi-family building.
Another area the city is annexing is the land east of Eaglesham Road and Dieppe Drive, where "The Creeks" is planning to develop 160 acres of land for residential purposes.
"There will be a buffer zone between that development and the rest of the city, and that will be maintained for pathway development," said Smith, referring to a line of trees along the back yards of properties on Dieppe Drive currently.
In addition, in Douglas Heights south of Confederation Drive along Signal Hill, the development was sold by Rise Developments to a new developer, who plans to have services in the ground before the winter.
Over by the Co-op Food Store, Weyburn Security has begun development there of a 24-unit condominium building.
Meantime, land next to the Elgin Mall is being looked at by the developer to see what would be best suited for that neighbourhood and for the community, said Smith.
"You know we're working on all these things, but it really hammers everything home to see it all come together; it's very exciting," commented Mayor Debra Button.
"When you look at the development that's coming, you can't even fathom the amount of money that's being invested into our community," said Coun. Winston Bailey.
The city has issued 120 building permits as of the end of August, worth $25.2 million; this includes 144 dwelling units worth $20.02 million. A year ago there were 132 permits worth $63.65 million, with 58 dwelling units created.
The changes to traffic lanes at some of the city's major intersections were defended by manager Smith as an outgrowth of the extensive traffic study carried out to help address traffic problems around the city.
Acknowledging the many phone calls the City has been receiving since arrows and lanes have been painted at various intersections, Smith pointed out that when the traffic began to get heavier a couple years ago, council commissioned the traffic study, carried out by Stantec engineers, and a number of recommendations were made which would address the traffic flow concerns which have arisen.
Smith noted there were two open houses held for residents to come and provide their views on how to fix the traffic problems, but only about 16 people attended.
"I think it's just that people have to get used to the changes. It does look odd after you've been going through an intersection for the last 30 years. Hopefully the community will bear with us as people get to know the changes made, and it will get better, and the traffic flows will get better," said Smith.
Mayor Button noted the traffic lights at Government Road and First Avenue North don't have the left-turn signs on them as the lights do at Fifth Street.
She also suggested some of the white lines and arrows will need to be repainted after they're already smudged or made dirty by the traffic.
One of the many comments she said she's been hearing from residents is that the roads aren't wide enough to accommodate the lane changes.
"We are under the minimum width but just barely," answered Smith. "In order to accommodate the traffic flows, you have to do something. We wouldn't have been able to put the changes in if it wasn't the appropriate width for a highway intersection."
He added that some of the public may feel like the city is trying to confuse everybody, but said, "We're trying to solve the problems. People now say 'I can't turn right where I used to be able to' … We understand it's a change, there's no question, but we really don't have any alternative. We were getting many complaints about how bad the traffic was getting."
He added the hope that residents will have patience and learn to get used to the changes that have been made.
"We are working on it, and it's going to take some time. I can't stress that enough," said Smith.
City council heard from the Parks Board that much work on the extension of the Boardwalk from Third Street over towards the Soo Line Museum will take place this fall, including an 18-foot by 18-foot gazebo seating structure with shading.
The trail has been roughed in and lights have been ordered, with paving, railings, benches and flag poles to all be installed in September.
The gazebo was approved separately by council at a cost of $25,400; made of metal, Coun. Nancy Styles said they wanted a structure that would withstand attempts to vandalize it.
Also, River Park and Nickle Lake Regional Park will both close on Sept. 15; in the case of River Park, extensive repairs will then be made in the park, particularly to the roads and pathways which were heavily damaged by the flooding last year.
The city's Centennial Celebration Committee has a new website on the way, and chose a composition by Jean Fahlman as the winner of the Centennial song-writing contest.
Coun. Rob Stephanson said there will be a fireworks display that will surpass the one seen in 2005 for the province's centennial. The city received a federal grant of $9,100, and is working on getting a provincial grant.