A new country residential community catering to seniors is in the works for the Springbank-area, as Rocky View County (RVC) council approved a conceptual scheme and associated land redesignation at a regular meeting July 23.
“There is a need for housing to suit an aging population,” said Ken Venner, on behalf of applicant B&A Planning Group. “We did some quick statistic analysis from  census information…and it was interesting to note Springbank, in comparison to the City of Calgary [and] to the province of Alberta, has quite a higher overall population of seniors.”
According to RVC planner Jessica Anderson, the conceptual scheme will guide the development of Pradera Springs – a 56-lot, villa-style condominium community for residents aged 55 or older. Located within the Central Springbank Area Structure Plan (ASP) at the intersection of Township Road 245 and Range Road 33, west of Calgary, the area covers 126.79 acres.
The development is estimated to accommodate 189 people, she said. According to the ASP, “the composition and diversity of the community can be enriched by providing housing options for older persons and persons with disabilities to live an independent, healthy lifestyle in Central Springbank.”
The new community will be located within one kilometre of the Springbank Park for All Seasons and adjacent to the Springbank Heritage Club, Anderson said, providing access to community facilities. Dwelling units will be designed to a “barrier free” standard, Venner noted, and design components include wider doorways, accessible showers and elevators.
During the public hearing, neighbouring residents voiced a number of concerns with the proposal, primarily that the development would negatively impact groundwater in the area and could result in overland flooding.
“This is a risk that the subject lands will not be able to absorb the huge volume of water that the developer is proposing to import,” resident Barry Johnson said. “The stormwater ponds will ultimately collect all this water, both from the paved areas and planned flows through the sewage disposal fields. Ultimately, our lands are at risk of turning into swamps.”
Other concerns included the risk of contaminated drinking water due to the location of a stormwater pond.
Venner suggested many of the concerns may have stemmed from an original proposal of the development, which had an in-ground, subsurface treated wastewater disposal area located in a central portion of the site. After hearing concerns from neighbouring residents, the applicant recognized the potential of water migrating towards southern properties that have experienced issues with historical wetness, and the application was revised to place the disposal area in the northwest corner of the site and increase its size.
“As well, we designed the drainage to purposefully direct the water, if it were to come off that site…[to pick] up the drainage through the storm ponds, with extra capacity in those storm ponds,” Venner said. “We also agreed to line the stormwater facilities, mitigating [and acknowledging] that risk we heard loud and clear.”
With those modifications, Venner said, he was confident the risk of contamination and flooding had been addressed.
After unanimously approving several amendments to the conceptual scheme – directing the applicant to work with neighbours on the design of a proposed berm along the developments south edge; and modifying policies regarding wastewater management, wastewater infrastructure, stormwater management and fire suppression – council granted three unanimous readings to both the conceptual scheme and the redesignation.
“I do think this developer has done an amazing amount of work to try to mitigate the risks and make a development that is long overdue in our community,” Area. Coun. Kim McKylor said.