September 6, 2012

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City's Poorly Thought Out DARP Plan
Fraught With Major Snags, Problems?

Letter to Editor:

The by-law changes that would require key elements of $137 Million Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan for any new developments, hit a little snag at Council last night. The key change is that no new buildings can be under three to four stories high. But, the owners and developers of essentially the entire west side Perron street, as represented by Mr. Gaffney, one of those owners, suggested that DARP and the resultant by-law overlooked some key issues.

Although he brought up several issues, the most important of these is the soil and water table issues. These determine whether the height of the buildings required under the new by-law, can even be built economically, and thus is the DARP founded on quicksand! Mr. Gaffney said to build their 2 story building on Perron, 98 concrete piles (vs the 48 planned) down to bedrock were needed, basements couldn't be built let alone underground parking, and with the huge costs for a 2 story building, a 4 story building wouldn't be feasible. He pointed to St. Albert Place and the 3 story Professional building on St. Anne as other examples of high cost construction due to these problems.

High-Priced Consultants Didn't Consider Soil, Water Conditions

The high priced DARP consultant who recommended all these high story buildings and 3-4 story minimum heights, did not look at whether soil and water conditions could interfere with their bright ideas. Apparently only when an owner decided to build would he then have to do the studies to find out how bad the problems were on his site and how it might drastically increase his cost estimates. Seems to me that the height requirements in themselves will hinder, not help development. And, the entire DARP is predicated on these multi-story buildings resulting in a population of 7,000 downtown.

As pointed out by Councillor MacKay, if the DARP is put in place, the best case scenario for increased city revenue is $80 million. Contrast this to the $137 million potential costs. Even the $42 million “kick-start” projects brought “sticker shock” to the newly elected Council in the fall of 2010. They couldn't pay for themselves, rather would have to be financed by all taxpayers of St. Albert.

The Mayor clearly supports DARP, referring to the owner of the WineKitz building on Perron as an example of the private sector kick-starting DARP. With respect, the key elements of DARP as included in the by-law that the Mayor would like to see passed, would have prevented the construction of this building as it is one and one-half stories too short. This strong supporter of DARP, wisely built before he would have to conform to the expensive DARP amendments. Statements by Councillors Heron, Parker and Bracko also clearly indicate their support DARP.

You have another chance to let Council know your thoughts. As a result of the information requests made by Councillor MacKay, the By-law process has been postponed to October 1st.
Take a look at the Council debate and MacKay's presentation of the numbers.

Then, let Council know your thoughts. It may be your last chance to save your downtown and keep tax increases from further spiralling out of sight.

Lynda Flannery
Director, SATA

Maple Flag At Cold Lake - Photos By James

A St. Albert's Place regular reader was in Cold Lake to take in the annual Maple Flag event. He wishes to be know simply as 'James', but has an obvious skill with a camera and sent us a series of photographs of various aircraft. We are presenting them a couple at a time in an ongoing series. They should be of interest to many of our military family readers.

Canadian CC-150 Polaris set up for refuelling on approach (lower left) , C-130 Hercules (upper right) on approach on twin runway, three crows making a beeline to the trees (lower center).

Formation of US F-18D Superhornets on a fly over.


On a rainy July 23, 2012 at approximately 5:20 pm an accident occurred at the intersection of St. Albert Trail and Hebert Road. A silver Nissan travelling Eastbound crashed into the side of a Black Mazda.

There were many sets of eyes at this intersection at the time. If you or anyone you know have any recollection or can help with any information about this incident it would be greatly appreciated.

Please call Shelley at 780-991-5131. 

BBC News Feed:

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Welcome To St. Albert's Place Live Chat

Links To Other Stories In The News:

Human torso found in suitcase in Lake Ontario - CBC

Bermuda braces as Hurricane Leslie approaches - CNN

Marois pledges to toughen language laws, abolish tuition hikes - CTV

Clinton takes centre stage at Democratic convention - Edmonton Journal

Premier Alison Redford defends travel expenses - Edmonton Sun
The Things That People Send Us

Thanks to Alan Towey of St. Albert for this one. . .






Detroit Man Wins All The Toys

For everyone who thinks carnival games are rigged, meet Peter Drakos the ringer. he is undoubtedly the best player in the world. A number of midways have put a limit on the number of prizes you can win thanks to Peter who is arguably the best in the world at carnival games.


Playing Tonight At LB's Pub

Songwriters Showcase with Christan and Justin at 9:00 p.m.

Then an Open Stage hosted by "Shaved Posse" - Fred Larose, Charlie DeShane and Kenny Skoreyko.

MGD $4.25, great food, service and music.


Playing Tomorrow Night At LB's Pub
Sept 6 The Normals1

By Don Sinclair