The Sun wrote about two separate, but fairly important developments last week that are among the city’s future plans — the North Gateway development and the so-called “South Brandon Village.”
The North Gateway Secondary Plan has laid out the framework for 160 acres between First and 18th streets, immediately south of the Trans-Canada Highway.
As we reported, the plan is a massive undertaking that includes a range of housing (multiple family, single-detached and semi-detached dwellings); green space; road networks and a school. It also calls for mixed use areas to integrate commercial areas, retail and office space.
The whole project is expected to take two or three decades to complete. Yet there remain many aspects to work out in the immediate term, such as how the infrastructure network will service the site, according to the city’s acting principal planner, Ryan Nickel.
This includes wastewater, drainage, sanitary pumping facilities and storm water management facilities, which are all needed for future development.
And then there are 50 acres on the outskirts of Brandon that have the potential to rival Brandon’s Corral Centre, as a large retail magnet for the south end. The site is located south of Patricia Avenue and west of Highway 10.
The real estate company Colliers International is currently advertising the area as the “South Brandon Village” on its website — essentially a proposed commercial development that could accommodate “two major anchors,” a number of mid-box retailers, as well as sites for restaurants, pubs and financial institutions together with a proposed hotel and convention centre.
The real estate company is working with local developer VBJ Developments. The wider plan encompasses a total of 170 acres, which includes residential areas and green space. Upon completion, the projected population for the development is 2,700.
It’s a massive potential development that would not only provide added service for the city, but likely draw in new revenue from neighbouring communities to the south, including shoppers and diners from the United States.
However, it seems the city and the real estate folks don’t see eye to eye on potential timelines. While the plan is expected to play out over several years, John Prall, vice-president at Colliers International says construction for the first phase could happen as early as 2016.
“A lot of it will depend on the approvals … that are necessary to get the city on board and all the services to the site that are necessary,” Prall said.
But the city isn’t on board for streamlining the process. In fact, from our vantage point it seems like the city is actually trying to stall the process. Nickel told the Sun on Friday that for the south development to move forward, the city’s development plan would need to be amended, a secondary plan needed, and an agreement would need to be made on either annexation or service sharing with the RM of Cornwallis.
Nickel said it could take years to get through this process — and then added that the city’s priorities include properties already within city limits, such as the North Gateway and southwest developments.
“Then once we have kind of a handle on how those are actually going to get growing, I think then we’ll be in a better position to maybe look at some of these other opportunities,” Nickel said.
That could be a decade or two from now.
Ironically, the south end of the city has already seen a significant amount of new housing growth and the Brandon School Division has identified the region as ripe for a new school.
RM of Cornwallis Reeve Reg Atkinson has already gone on record stating that his municipality will not stand in the way of such a large and lucrative development. And VBJ Developments and Colliers International think that Brandon’s south end will be where large commercial retailers will want to locate, due to the site’s close proximity to existing retail centres.
While we are certainly in favour of developing the North Hill region, doesn’t it seem rather odd that the city wouldn’t jump at the chance to grow the south end when opportunity knocks?