Planning for East Olds redevelopment underway
East Olds is set to retain its heritage feel but could lose some of the traffic problems plaguing the neighbourhood under a draft plan strategy to guide the future redevelopment of the community.
Planners presented the latest work on the plan strategy at an open house in late July.
“From the people I’ve talked to, it seems like generally we’re on the right track,” said Jolene Tejkl, a planner with Parkland Community Planning Services. “It appears at this point we’re going in the right direction.”
The draft plan strategy includes a vision for what the historic heart and soul of the town lying between Uptowne Olds and Olds College could be in the year 2035.
The draft plan strategy foresees the community as being:
• Liveable and aesthetically pleasing, unified by architectural controls that enhance its diverse residential and commercial area;
• Inclusive and family orientated, providing a safe and active environment for citizens of all ages;
• Sustainable, to meld the beauty and values of yesteryear with the ecoconscience elements of the future; and
• A place with great neighbourhood spirit and pride.
The East Olds area is generally bounded by 46th Avenue (Highway 2A) in the east to the lane behind 49th Avenue in the west; 46th Street (Highway 27) in the north to 56th Street in the south.
This area largely encompasses an older residential neighbourhood and commercial businesses along 46th Avenue and is bordered by Olds College on the east and the Uptowne area on the west.
The draft plan strategy states that this vibrant traditional prairie neighbourhood offers mature trees, spacious lots and heritage homes surrounded by local shops and amenities that provide gathering spots where convenience goods can be purchased and where residents and visitors alike can mingle.
Throughout the public consultation component of the planning process, the draft plan strategy notes participants identified the retention of mature trees, and the protection and enhancement of the two existing parks as some of the most valued attributes they wish to see articulated in the plan.
“There’s some concern that has been expressed about the town pursuing zeroscaping. People are saying we shouldn’t do that here so the mature landscaping can be protected,” Tejkl said.
The historical ambience of East Olds is also an important attribute people have said needs to be preserved and enhanced, she said.
The East Olds area contains five properties that are already identified in the Town of Olds Municipal Heritage Inventory as a Heritage Inventory Site.
Many sites in the neighbourhood are zoned R2 which means the bigger lots with older homes on them could be desirable for redevelopment into multi-family housing, said Tejkl.
It’s a trend that has already started, and one many residents say should be stopped.
“We’re looking at how to do that,” she said.
Calming traffic and deterring heavy traffic from using the neighbourhood as a through route to other destinations is also a priority for many residents, she said.
The development of a traffic circle at 50 Street and 48 Avenue has been proposed as one way of allaying those conerns, she said.
Comments on the draft plan strategy will be taken until Aug. 22, at which time planners and the steering committee will begin the process of developing the actual draft plan.
The planning process began in 2010.