A new Community Recreation Facility and Nursery School, and the proposed new home for The Family Place, received a discretionary use in a residential area approved by City Council, in a 6-1 vote in Chambers on Monday night.
The permit is for a building at 744 McLelland Street, just south of Fifth Avenue North, which used to house a dance studio.
The approval of the development permit was made subject to the following conditions: a minimum of seven off-street parking spaces shall be provided on site for the Community Recreation Facility and Nursery School, in accordance with Second 4.6 of Zoning Bylaw 2020-3412; parking areas must be maintained as a dust-free, graveled or hard surfaced area; the development shall comply with Section 4.5 of Zoning Bylaw for indoor and indoor play space standards’ a building permit shall be required; public health and Fire Department inspections and approval shall be required prior to operations; and the owner shall comply with all provincial acts and regulations regarding child care facilities.
In the presentation of the development permit, Janine Fletcher, development officer and planning and development coordinator, explained that the recommendation from city staff was to approve the development permit, as it meets the requirements of the Zoning Bylaw in terms of parking and nursery school regulations, and the use in compatible with the surrounding neighbourhood.
It was also noted that a few letters of concerns were received from addressing both potential noise complaints, and parking issues that had occurred in the past. With the new school zones being put in place due to Legacy Park Elementary School, the proposed location is close to a new 30-km speed zone. The concerns from local residents regarding speeding, parking in front of a fire hydrant, or parking at the end of driveways were all noted as violations of the current driving bylaws, and city staff noted that they will be working with Weyburn Police Members to ensure enforcement of the driving bylaws were made.
Dawn Gutzke, executive director of the Family Place, explained that the hours of operation of the new Community Recreation Facility would remain at their current hours of Monday to Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., so there would be no programs held after work hours. “We feel very confident that our hours would be very accommodating to that neighbourhood,” said Gutzke. “The most the community would hear in that area would be children laughing and playing in our space, and I feel that it would be a nice cheerful sound.”
She also explained that families would use parking spaces on the property as drop-off zones for their children, and that Family Place staff would help direct user groups to avoid parking on the street.
Coun. Dick Michel, who opposed the motion, also noted that his concern was for the safety and well being of the children who would be attending the new location.
“The comments that I am about to make are not about The Family Place, as they are a great organization in the city. What I am struggling with is the safety of the people in a residential area. When the dance studio got permission from council at that time, there were no other things that were happening out there like the new Legacy Park School, or the new location for the hospital.”
“Things have changed. McLelland Street is going to be very active during different times of the day, coming and going. The safety of everyone in this city is a major concern of mine. I am concerned for the people who live in that residential area, and I am concerned for the safety of your families,” added Michel.
Mayor Marcel Roy requested of city staff to look into placing up different signs in the neighbourhood, and to work with Weyburn Police members to ensure that parking concerns around the proposed location were addressed.
Coun. Laura Morrissette, in her approval of the motion, noted to Coun. Michel that at the current location of The Family Place, “crossing the street at Fourth Street can be dangerous, especially when you are trying to handle both a toddler and a car seat. I believe that a quieter neighbourhood for this new facility will be much more beneficial, and I think it is a great location.”
There is no projected start date at this time. Gutzke noted that The Family Place is planning a fundraising project for an expansion of the back of the McLelland Street property before moving their programs and services.
“The Family Place is very thankful and also very excited to have had the zoning approved for 744 McLelland Street property at City Council,” said Gutzke. “Currently The Family Place is operating on 24 Fourth Street, located on a very busy street in downtown Weyburn. We have a three-level building with numerous stairs and no wheelchair accessibility for the public. We have been looking for a better space to house our programming for many years and have finally found a property that will meet our needs for what our services we provide to this community.”
“We will be in a much quieter location in the community, it is a newer building to maintain and will have wheelchair accessibility, and a very large property to offer green space for the children to have lots of outdoor safe playtime.”
“The current building at 744 McLelland Street is not quite big enough so we do need to add an expansion on the property. We are putting together a business plan to raise some funds so that we can start building the expansion in reasonable time,” said Gutzke. “This has been a long-thought about plan for many years now for The Family Place and it’s just really exciting to see it become a reality. We are confident this new space will allow us to continue to fulfill our mission for the families and children of this community and surrounding area.”