Over a year and a half ago, the owner of the Jasper Gates site started engaging with the surrounding communities to talk about the future of that site.
For those unfamiliar with the site, the area is at 149th Street and Stony Plain Road. The Jasper Gates site is currently a low density commercial area with essential daily services, retail, and ample surface parking. Surrounding land uses are primarily low/medium density residential, with commercial along Stony Plain Road.
The engagement plan included hosting a variety of stakeholder meetings with groups like the Stony Plain Road and Area Business Association, to drop-in community events spanning a variety of neighbourhoods such as Canora, Crestwood, Glenwood, Grovenor and West Jasper Place/Sherwood.
RioCan is in the process of redeveloping larger shopping centres like this across the country. As a company they see a future for more mixed developments beyond just solely commercial spaces. They worked with our City Administration and the local communities to prepare a Direct Control Zone in the Jasper Place Neighbourhood to accommodate the redevelopment of Jasper Gates Shopping Centre into a mixed use development adjacent to a future LRT Station.
On-site amenities are to include a programmed and flexible outdoor transit plaza and a separate park which add value for the surrounding community and establish a common character and community hub connecting all four of the unique adjacent neighbourhoods.
In addition to expanding the amount of commercial spaces they already have, they are looking to introduce up to 1000 units of residential development. While that sounds like a lot of new units, the redevelopment of this site will occur over a 20 year period.
The vision for the Jasper Gates Redevelopment aligns with the Jasper Place Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) vision in that it:
- Enhances Stony Plain Road into a vibrant and well-used commercial street by providing street oriented commercial development facing Stony Plain Road.
- Encourages incremental change to accommodate a variety of housing types
- Improves attractiveness and safety by providing at-grade activation of building frontages that frame the development and provide eyes-on-the-street
- Enhances connectivity and walkability by reconnecting the grid through the site and supporting movement of all modes to and through the site
- Support neighbourhood liveability by providing a range of commercial uses that continues to support the daily needs of surrounding residents.
The findings that they discovered as a result of public engagement were presented at the February 4th Public Hearing. With most larger projects that come to Public Hearing, the opinions that are portrayed are usually leaning more towards opposition, but the consensus from the public on this particular redevelopment was much more split and I would like to take this time to address some concerns that I previously heard.
Residents most affected would be residents of a property called Summit Village on the other side of 149th Street. While the board did offer general support for the proposal, they were most concerned with the potential sunshadow impact. During the Public Hearing, I was able to confirm that before any development occurs, RioCan will be sitting down with the residents of Summit Village to discuss ways of mitigating that specific impact. Components that play directly into this include, where the building will exactly be placed and what it will look like as it is integral that any sun shadow impact is lept to a minimum because of the important green space they have on their property.
The next concern is around whether that is too much development in one area. “Is that too many units? Does that potentially slow down development on the rest of Stony Plain Road?”
The Executive Director of the Stony Plain Road Business Improvement Area who represents the businesses along Stony Plain was in attendance and said that to spark the redevelopment that we are seeking, we need that large catalyst project to inspire change throughout the area. This project would serve as an example and can send the message that it is the time to invest the rest of Stony Plain Road.
I felt strongly about that perspective that was raised and it should also be realized that Stony Plain needs more people to become more vibrant. In comparison to the other main streets we have, most of what they have in common is that they have a lot of people living around or right on the street. What that does is bring a level of safety, security, and vibrancy to be able to support those businesses so they can thrive. This project has the opportunity to bring that kind of energy to Stony Plain Road. Throughout the last decade there has been a lot of great work done towards building proper infrastructure within the area, now we need the people to make it that space that we will help make up and define Stony Plain Road.
It is incredibly important to note that this proposal came forward because of the West Valley Line LRT has been confirmed. Following this redevelopment’s approval, I am excited to witness its progress and the legacy it will create on Stony Plain Road.