We hope you’re all doing well.
Normally at this time we’d be gathering for a day of face painting, bouncy castles, live music and beer gardens. We held out hope that we’d be able to pull a unique fall social. Unfortunately, with rising Covid numbers, and challenges getting AHS approvals, we felt it best to put the brakes on our plans. But life goes on, and we do have some timely community news to share with you.
Application to rezone Sobey’s site in Griesbach Village Centre.
Online Community Information Session – Sept. 15
For years, Griesbach residents have been waiting to see if Sobeys would build a grocery store on its vacant property in the SE corner of Griesbach. A local developer has stepped forward as a prospective buyer, pending municipal approval to rezone the land to RA8g – Medium Rise Apartment Zone.
There will be a community information session all residents are invited to attend (scroll to the end of the post to see details). We expect residents will have mixed feelings. As your community league, we want to share the facts and encourage you to attend the information session and make your feelings known: to the City, the developers, and Griesbach Community League (GCL)
We’ like to share a few takeaways from a meeting we had. First, some background.
Things looked promising when Sobeys bought the site in Griesbach Village. Not long after, they purchased Canada Safeway. With an existing store across the street, they sat on the land, and put restrictive covenants in place, preventing any businesses from offering competitive services (such as a butcher, baker or flower shop). Ever! This has handcuffed the developer, and impacted the viability of the commercial site.
Efforts by the City and GCL to remove these covenants went all the way up to the Federal Competition Bureau, and have been unsuccessful. Frustratingly, it appears these restrictive covenants can remain in place even after the land is sold. It is a problem communities like ours are facing across the country.
The land has been neglected, and become an eyesore and a safety concern.
Over the years, efforts have been made to entice other potential anchor stores, without any luck. A depressed economy and pandemic certainly haven’t helped. Today we are at a crossroads for the site… with a proposal for a new direction now on the table.
The new ‘vision’ for the site
This summer, members of the community league board met with representatives from Devereaux Developments, Forum (the Griesbach Village Centre Developer) and Dialogue (the architects). They presented their ‘vision’ for the site.
A modern, luxury-style apartment complex – with 200+ suites, and a private residents’ swimming pool. With its proximity to the Northtown Centre transit hub, it will be a transit-oriented development.
The new development would span the entire Sobey’s property. The sale is pending the successful rezoning application. We encourage you to attend to see what is being proposed.
How would this impact our community
As we see it, there are pros and cons to this rezoning proposal.
- The site will finally be developed. It will be cleaner and safer for all residents.
- The developer has a track record building higher-end ‘resort-style’ apartments and are committed to following current architectural controls.
- As a luxury apartment, it will appeal to higher income renters.
- The influx of new residents should benefit existing businesses in Griesbach Vilage, and potentially help attract others.
- Sobeys is under no obligation to build on the land or sell it. This would ensure it does not sit empty for years to come.
- There is no guarantee the development will proceed as planned.
- Once the rezoning is approved the land can be sold again or redeveloped at a lower standard than that being proposed.
- There will be no anchor tenant to help support the smaller tenants.
- With restrictive covenants still in place, the property manager will be unable to attract businesses such as butchers and bakers… unless there is an opportunity to have the covenants relaxed as part of the negotiation.
- Fewer parking spaces than potential vehicles.
- Increased vehicle traffic in this area of Griesbach.
- Apartments typically have higher turnover of residents.
Attend the information session on Zoom
We encourage all residents attend the virtual information session.
Bring your questions and concerns.
Community Information Session
Date: Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Location: VIRTUAL – via zoom
Join via: https://zoom.us/join
Meeting ID: 923 1826 0204