By Kathy Bly
For the Sunny South News
For the first time in almost a decade, work will begin this month on a new subdivision in Picture Butte.
Town council approved the awarding of contract for just under $1.3 million to open up the new development on the west side of Picture Butte, between the LDS Church and the town’s decommissioned water reservoirs. The tender approval will mean work can begin as early as this month, weather permitting. The new subdivision, dubbed Sunset Park is the first such development undertaken by the town. Residential developments in the community have previously been done by private developers — the last one being North Ridge.
Mayor Wendy Jones said with the last lot reportedly sold in North Ridge at the beginning of the year, the town needed to move ahead on a new development so new home construction could begin in 2015. “We have no lots in Picture Butte left,” she noted. “We have people calling every other day or so, interested in a lot in Picture Butte.”
She admits she is both excited and challenged by the town’s venture into the residential development market.
“It will be very good for the Town of Picture Butte, growing is always good for a municipality.”
Jones said it has been nine years since the last residential development opened up in Picture Butte and Sunset Park will feature 27 lots in the first phase. Once most of those lots have been sold the town will look at opening up the second phase of the development. The cost of developing the lots will also include the bill for filling in the two water reservoirs no longer used by the town.
They were decommissioned after the town installed a regional pipeline and hooked into City of Lethbridge water. The mayor said the cost of filling in the reservoirs, reclaiming the land and preparing it for development will be shared between the first and second phases of the new residential development.
Even if the town had not decided to develop the land for residential expansion, Jones said the town would still have been required, by Alberta Environment, to fill in the old reservoirs. By combining the work with the development of a new residential subdivision, the cost can be recouped through the selling of the lots. “Developing the lots ourselves gives us the opportunity to ensure quality infrastructure is going in. We know what we’ve got because we’re doing it.”
She said Picture Butte has everything a small town can offer and being able to open up a new residential subdivision, with large lots, is a great thing for the community.