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Old hospital site moves closer to development

Posted on November 24, 2015 by Sunny South News

By Kathy Bly
For the Sunny South News

Council approves vault file system
In an effort to make better use of its vault and bring more of the town’s official documents into the vault, a new storage system has been approved by Picture Butte town council.
The $8,500 expenditure to purchase the filing system was approved in the 2016 budget, with work slated to begin in mid-January.
Larry Davidson, chief administrative officer, said the system will dramatically increase the file storage and allow the town to move legal files into the vault, which protects them against fire damage.
Community support
Picture Butte council has agreed to waive the rental fee for the community centre for the Friends of the Picture Butte Municipal Library Society for the hosting of their annual Crafters Showcase, Nov. 7. Funds from the event help support the local library.
Council also approved a motion to donate a family swim pass to the 15th Annual ATB Financial Silent Auction during Picture Butte’s Late Night Madness. Funds raised go to the local food bank and to the Alberta Children’s Health Foundation.
Land-use bylaw approved
A new land-use bylaw for the Town of Picture Butte was given final approval at a recent council meeting following a public hearing.
Council had previously approved first reading of Land-Use Bylaw 841-15 on Oct. 13 and presented it at an open house Oct. 15.
Steve Harty, senior planner with the Oldman River Regional Services Commission, said overall the feedback at the open house was positive but some minor amendments were proposed to be included in the bylaw.
He reviewed these amendments and following the hearing the bylaw was given final reading.
Chinook tourism dropped
Picture Butte will withdraw from the Chinook Country Tourism Association for at least the coming year.
Jaci Zalesak, director of client relations for the association, made a presentation to council on the benefits of continuing its membership at the meeting but council voted against a motion to renew the membership for 2016.
A number of council members were not in support of staying with the association, as means of promoting Picture Butte.
Top soil pile to go
With no company stepping forward with an interest in purchasing the left over top soil at the new residential development in Picture Butte, council has decided to give local residents first chance at a load before allowing a local business to remove the pile.
Much of the top soil came from the deconstruction of the former town water reservoirs.
Local residents will have until Dec. 1 to take a load or two before the town has the pile completely removed.
Regional waterline study
Picture Butte council has agreed to spend $8,500 to determine how much, if any, use the town gets out of a water pump house in Diamond City.
The town receives its water from the City of Lethbridge via the Lethbridge Regional Services Commission, which is asking the town to contribute over $27,000 a year towards maintenance, which includes the pump house.
Davidson said the history of the agreement over use of the regional waterline is unclear and the town is seeking to clarify whether the pump house is solely for the benefit of Diamond City and therefore not a requirement to provide Picture Butte with water.
The town believes pumping from Lethbridge and gravity provide enough flow to serve the town.
Donation request denied
Town council has voted against a motion to donate funds to the Coyote Flats Pioneer Village operated by the Prairie Tractor and Engine Society.
The society requested $1,500 to assist with marketing and advertising to bring more people to the village and to Picture Butte.
In defeating the motion, council noted the town already supports the village financially, as it allows the society each year to grow a crop for cash on town-owned land adjacent to the society’s land.
Old hospital site moves closure to new development
A new residential development is in the early planning stages for the former hospital site in Picture Butte.
In a recent presentation to town council Leighton Kolk, Mike Van Rootselaar and Rick Casson, who make up LMR Developments, outlined very preliminary plans to build a 55+ community on the site with barrier free living in 14 units.
Casson said the company has purchased the old hospital site and is looking to build quality housing for a segment of the community that often moves away from Picture Butte as they get older.
“We want to talk about another option(s) for housing,” said Casson.
He said the three partners felt there was a need for this type of housing in Picture Butte and the old hospital property, adjacent to the Piyami Lodge and Piyami Manor and just a two blocks from downtown, was ideally located.
With individual titles, maintenance-free living and wheelchair accessibility the development hopes to attract residents who want to remain in Picture Butte, as they grow older and retire.
Calling the development Autumn Estates, Casson said the group is looking to build seven duplexes with a total of 14 units. They are trying to plan around the current trees on the site in order to leave as many in place as possible.
“We’d like to get going as soon as possible,” noted Casson.
He said they were seeking some initial feedback from council, as to whether it would support the concept before moving ahead with final plans.
Kolk said they understand there are approvals that need to be in place before the development begins but they wanted to see if the town supported the idea in its concept stage before they moved forward.
All of council spoke in support of the concept with Mayor Wendy Jones noting it is needed in the community.
Coun. Teresa Feist also said it was a great idea and suggested there are people currently living in the community with plans to move who might stay if this type of development was available to them.
“We’ve had some interest for sure,” said Casson.
The three partners agreed to meet with Davidson to work out some of the finer details before they proceeded with their plans for the development.

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