COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Coun. Jeff Fawcett (Assiniboine) explains plans for North Hill development to citizens during an open house at city hall on Tuesday evening.
A lack of greenspace seemed to be a common criticism of the city’s vision for the North Hill at the North Gateway Secondary Plan open house on Tuesday.
Residents were invited to take a look at the proposed plans, drafted by design firm planningAlliance, for approximately 160 acres of city-owned land between First and 18th streets.
Millie and Jay Boschman are residents of Monterey Estates and are concerned about the major changes that will happen in the area. Residential, commercial and greenspace areas are included in the proposed plan. Land is also set aside for a future elementary school, when there is adequate demand.
"I think it’s going to make a quiet place, where we live now, into a very busy place," Jay said. "We’re going to have lots of traffic going on the east side and the north side, whereas now we have a golf course on one side and a farmer’s field on the other. A big change."
Millie said the development will take away the "serenity" they have now.
"We’re concerned, but we definitely can’t stop it. I mean, it is progress and they do have to develop," she said.
The one comment the couple left with the city planners was to add more greenspace as a "buffer" between Monterey Estates and the proposed development.
Margaret Stewart, another area resident who lives in the Northern Pines condo development, said she has concerns about losing the beautiful view out of her window, as well as drainage issues.
"The water naturally flows to the west into a holding pond … I’m worried about the flooding," she said.
Several Brandon residents said it will be a shame to see Northern Pines Golf Course close to make way for development.
"We hate to lose it," Stewart said. "It’s affordable to golf for a lot of people who can’t afford the rec centre and some of the other facilities. It’s a family course, there’s three and four generations out there golfing and it’s wonderful. From that point of view, I hate to see it go."
Stewart said she would like to see more greenspace in the plans.
"There are beautiful trees, mature spruce trees. It’s a shame, but I mean it’s life, it’s reality, it’s progress — for better or for worse."
Meanwhile, Rod Graham, also a Monterey Estates resident, agreed that he would prefer not to see the trees cut down, but said it would be "a shame not to develop the property."
"It’s sitting there just growing weeds," he said.
Louisa Garbo, the city’s director of planning and building safety, said they will take the residents’ comments and concerns and fine-tune the plan before it goes to city council.
"I just heard someone talk about the greenspace area, why it’s not stretched to (their) backyard … that might be a policy section that we can address, and we might be able to relook at the plan," she said.
Any changes would be minor, Garbo said, because of the extensive effort the team has put into it.
"We’ve got a lot of input already. So when people look at these, they’re commenting on the feedback that they gave us," she said.
The next step will be to bring the plan to city council, which Garbo says should happen this fall.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 18, 2013