Written by Noel Edey Thursday, Jul 15 2021, 4:00 PM
Cochrane town council has accepted the Cochrane Corridor Plan that will help future planning and development decision-making for four major downtown corridors.
The plan outlines specific directions for Griffin Rd, River Ave., Railway St., and 5th Ave.
Council debated whether it should delay approval of the plan and instead seek further input. Instead, it accepted the plan and slated it for review in two years.
One of the deciding factors in moving forward immediately is the imminent development along the corridors.
“My sense of it is the wheels are turning, the economy is shifting, and we’re going to see a lot of redevelopment in those sectors and along those corridors in a short period,” said Councillor Tara McFadden. “If we don’t bring this into play now, we’re going to be a year out, and there’s going to be a lot of development happening that won’t be able to feed into this process.”
Randy Mabbott, president of Grand Central Properties, was the lone member of the public participating in the July 13 public hearing. He expressed particular concern with what’s proposed for the Griffin Road corridor, where his company has significant property holdings.
He said the plan conflicts with the land-use bylaw and won’t have the impact the town desires.
“I think a little more work has to be completed, and time is taken to make sure this plan integrates better with the land-use bylaw. I think some good groundwork has been done. There’s some motherhood and apple pie stuff that sounds good and nice, but I don’t think we’ve delved deep enough yet into some of the other issues from a practical side that you’re going to run into in trying to implement these plans.”
Councillor Marni Fedeyko was particularly concerned with the concept proposed for north River Ave., which is largely a commercial/industrial area. She strongly believes further discussion needs to take place with the property owners because of the impact it will have upon their businesses.
She also lead the charge for the review after two years so as not to defer its acceptance, building upon a somewhat similar idea of Councillor Morgan Nagel.
Work on the $100,000 plan started in 2019 but was stalled by the pandemic. It was re-launched in May 2021 with the completion of the draft corridor plan and re-engaging the public and stakeholders.
The time of the approval originally concerned Mayor Jeff Genung. He believes the community simply wasn’t fully engaged in the plan, largely because we just came out of the pandemic and had other priorities.
He came around and voted in favour of its adoption.
The plan provides direction for redevelopment and would not be at the expense of the town.