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Avondale land rezoned without plan for use

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A parcel of land on 105 Avenue has been rezoned, but there’s still no plan for what to do with it. Grande Prairie city council voted to rezone the area at Monday’s meeting, redesignating it as a Direct Control District.

“Which means city council is the ultimate final authority on any development that would get built there in the future,” explains Mayor Bill Given.

Initially, city council was mulling over a proposed 40-unit permanent supported housing development that would provide professional on-site care and supervision for residents needing it at 105 Avenue and 100 Street. However, Given says the final location for that is still also up for debate, with both the Gateway area as well as the Avondale site both up for consideration.

“To be clear, it doesn’t mean anything will be built there, just means that the zoning is in place for that to happen. In order for any development to get built on that site, it would have to go through a public process at city council, and it would also include a public notification.”

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Given says the rush to rezone is in large part due to a funding deadline set by the federal government. The money that would be used to build supportive housing must be applied for by December 31, 2020.

“In order to submit an application… the city needs to have an identified and appropriately zoned parcel of land. That’s so that’s why there was some urgency to ensuring we did have a piece of land zoned, even if that piece of land was not the ultimate site we might go forward with developing.”

Given adds that, regardless of what site is selected, it will be thoroughly thought through, and will be in line with the wants and needs of the community as a whole.

“There are a number of different considerations that were top of mind for council, and all of those were through the lens of the concerns we have heard from residents in the neighbourhood, and residents in the community with respect to managing homelessness and the impact we see of that on our community on a daily basis.”

Recently, city councillors approved the rezoning of the Helma Fletcher Building, which sits on the edge of Grande Prairie City Hall, to become 44-units of permanent supported housing within the existing 6-storey building.

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