Thursday, 10 September 2015 06:22

Elmwood Golf Course improvement not fun for letter writer

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Firstly, I wish to make it very clear that I am not a golfer, but we have been residents and taxpayers on Hillcrest Drive, across the street from the rapidly developing  Elmwood Community and Golf Course renovations for 40 years.
From the perspective of living in the affected neighbourhood, I have a number of comments and questions to which I would like the City Council and Administration to provide answers.
1. Prior to any work being done on this development, the first step should have been to advise affected residents of the proposed development and to review the concept plan in a sincere and forthright manner. 
I am sorry to say that this was not done.
The Elmwood Golf and Country Club had extensive discussions on the golf course rebuild and the whole development.
The membership was even given a vote as to proceed or not to proceed with the golf course rebuild, even though they were not contributing a single dollar of cash up front, just an IOU, toward their part of the development.
Meanwhile the neighbours and taxpayers of Swift Current had zero input into the grand plan. This could only happen “where life makes sense”!!
2. The city has continued construction on earth work and services for the development before the property, presently zoned parkway, is rezoned to multi residential. 
This action simply ignored the zoning bylaws. How can the city council ignore their own bylaws? 
It is my understanding that the city must advertise the intent to rezone the area. 
When and how was it advertised?  It is not long ago that an application to establish a day care operation on Reid Crescent was refused by council as it did not meet zoning bylaws. 
The mayor stated  “So always be very wary of zoning, whether it’s looking for development or where you’re living, because in this case, that’s something that the people of Reid Crescent have done”. 
Well stated, Mr. Mayor, but you ignored the zoning requirement for the Elmwood Community Development.  How can this happen “where life makes sense”?
3. Did the city carry out a study to review the impact the new Elmwood Community will have on traffic safety in the area?
Hillcrest Drive has developed into a major traffic artery causing congestion at the intersection with Memorial Drive.  In addition it is becoming more difficult to safely back out of a driveway in the area of the intersection of Hillcrest Drive and Nancy Moen Drive.  Nancy Moen Drive has only a Yield sign entering Hillcrest Drive, which makes it even more “exciting”. Now there is going to be a major increase in traffic from the Elmwood Community at the intersection of Heaven Lane and Hillcrest Drive. 
Just for a matter of comparison there are 58 living units on Hillcrest Drive versus 80 planned units for the Elmwood Community or a meager 43% increase over Hillcrest Drive. And… just to make it worse, there is considerable unchecked
speeding on Hillcrest Drive!  Did the city do a traffic count on Hillcrest Drive and study the impact of the increased traffic created by the Elmwood Community development?
4. What thought and study has the city put into the existing storm and sanitary sewer systems to absorb the increased demands?
Storm water flooding of Hillcrest Drive at the Nancy Moen intersection has been a problem for 40 years, the most recent being August 15.
 The existing sanitary sewage lift station has been unreliable, resulting in some homes being flooded with sanitary sewage, the latest occurring the week of August 24, 2015. 
I somehow doubt these problems will go away with all the increased sanitary sewage and storm water loads coming from the new development.
5. Fire and general safety should be a major concern in the new development. 
As the lot plan indicates, there is only one (1) entry/exit to the majority of the lots, the furthest lot being in the order of 0.5 miles from the development access. If a single entry/exit to the community is not unique, it has to be highly unusual!
It would be interesting to see a private developer try to do the things that the city has done in developing the Elmwood Community. 
They would have been shut down and run out of town as they would have rightly deserved. But take heart….This is where life makes sense….  
I note that the mayor has indicated that the local residents will be happy to hear that they will be able to express their opinion regarding the future use of the Oman and Ashley Park School land. 
Now isn’t that gracious of the mayor and council?!
In closing, I have to say that a deal like the Elmwood Community and Elmwood Golf and Country Club rebuild must have been hatched on the 19th hole after much strategic thought!
Gerry Salter, Swift Current

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