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Coming Up: September 24

Council meets on Monday night. Following is a summary and my take on what will be discussed. Agenda items include a proposed self-storage yard, an Economic Development Advisory Committee, and new traffic light poles on 84 Ave.

As always, any mistakes or opinions belong to me and me alone, not to Council or City staff.

If you would like to watch the meeting or read any of its supporting material for yourself, you can do so by clicking here.

I will not be present for this Council meeting. I will be in Red Deer taking a course on public engagement put on by the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association. However, I will be calling in to participate in debate and voting concerning the proposed self-storage yard.

Proposed Self-Storage Yard

There is an interesting property at 10715 - 92 St. It is a site originally created for industrial use which later had residential development pop up around it. It currently has a large utility tower, warehouse space, and RV storage.

The owner of this property is proposing to change the RV storage into a commercial self-storage locker facility. This was debated last Council meeting with the necessary bylaw amendment passing unanimously. We will be having third reading for this amendment on Monday. I currently support it.

I believe that people should be able to do what they wish on their property as long as it does not pose a safety risk or significantly disturb others. I have not been convinced that this change will have a significant impact on others. In fact, it is likely to be an improvement. The proposal will be more aesthetically pleasing, and other self-storage lots in the City receive less calls to the police than this property currently receives.

At the same time, I am only supportive of this change because the developer has made certain promises in response to neighbor concerns. I want to ensure these materialize. I intend to make the following motion:

“Any Development Permit issued for Commercial Storage in this district shall include limits for hours of customer access, requirements for the shipping containers to be of a uniform appearance including height and color, and restrictions on the type of goods that may be stored at the facility.”

I do want to acknowledge the objections to this proposal which have been raised. I appreciated hearing them. They gave me pause as we consider this site. They are also why I have crafted the above motion. However, they have not currently convinced be to vote in opposition. Following is my thinking in response to the main concerns I have heard.

Use of Sea Cans

Some feel that sea cans are inappropriate outside of an industrial area. The main concerns raised have to do with aesthetics.

I do not share this concern. There are instances where sea cans are appropriate in a commercial setting. This view has been shared in many cities. For example, the East Village in Calgary has been a site of very significant investment by the City of Calgary and private investors. It has sea can structures throughout, including in a community garden and the evJunction pop up market. Here is a picture I took last week:


One of the aesthetic concerns brought up is the appearance of corrugated metal. To get a better idea of the potential impact of this proposal, I checked out the other self storage yards in town. Here is a picture I took of one where corrugated metal is already being used. I’ve never heard any concerns brought up about its appearance.


There are instances where the appearance of sea cans is appropriate outside of industrial areas. That being said, if Council approves this development it does not set a broad precedent in my mind.

This is a unique site. Due to telecommunication utilities that run under this lot, traditional construction which requires excavation is not possible. Additionally, I wonder if there is a chance that future technological advances may eliminate the need for the telecommunication infrastructure on this site. If that happens, it would be great to see it redeveloped. Having expensive new permanent structures would make that less likely.

The unique challenges of this site give merit to using sea cans to construct a commercial facility. And I am very open to considering their use in other unique situations. However, I do not support them being used on the sole basis that they are cheaper than other construction methods. I also do not support them getting broadly used throughout our commercial areas.

Traffic, Police, and Industrial Activity

I’ve heard objections to this development due to concerns about increased traffic, police, and industrial activity. I have not been given reason to see these as a significant risk.

City engineers believe that a facility of this nature will generate approximately five trips per hour during peak times. This would mostly be in the form of pickup trucks or smaller vehicles. Given that this site is accessed via 92 St, this would not represent a significant impact.

Over the past five years, commercial storage facilities elsewhere in the City received less police calls than this site received.

The industrial activity I have heard concerns about involved having these containers moved around. However, that is not the intent. Once put in place, they will remain stationary- trucks will not be coming and going to move or swap them.

More Desirable Other Uses

Some object to this development on the basis that they see better uses for the land. However, many types of construction are impossible on this property and the City is unable to force redevelopment.

Construction on this land is heavily constrained by telecommunications equipment. There are underground utilities which make excavation for traditional construction impossible on much of the site. Additionally, any development needs to accommodate the tower and its guy line. There are few options for new structures on this land.

Council also has limited options when it comes to redevelopment. As the owners pursue change on this property, Council has the ability to refuse new uses. However, it does not have the ability to order new uses. The risk of refusing this application is that nothing will be done with this site. Given that I believe the proposal is likely to be an improvement on the current use, I am not comfortable with this risk.

Economic Development Committee

Council will be voting on Terms of Reference for an Economic Development Committee. You can click here to read them.

The purpose of this committee is to provide an effective link between Council and City management and the business community. It would be comprised of 2 Councillors, 2 members of management, and up to 7 public members. The most important work of this committee would be to develop a long-term Economic Development Strategic Plan.

I support the formation of this committee and the Terms of Reference as recommended.

Traffic Signal: 84 Ave & 116 St

When signals were installed at this intersection, one leg was not installed since 84 Ave did not extend past 116 Ave. Underground conduits to support all needed signals were put in, but the actual poles were never erected.

Now that 84 Ave is being extended to serve the new Kensington development, it is time to fully signalize this intersection. It has been recommended that $60,000 from the Transportation System Levy Reserve be directed to this project. I am in support of this recommendation.

That is what is on the Council agenda for this week. As always, I welcome any questions, ideas, push back or feedback. I value the comments I receive based on these posts. They always make me better informed, and they sometimes change my position.

You can comment below. Or you can contact me at or 780-402-4166. I'm happy to talk online or over the phone. I'm also always willing to setup a time to meet for coffee.

If you aren't already a member, you might also be interested in joining the GP Round Table. This is a Facebook group that often has great discussion about municipal issues. I think this post may stimulate a good one...

Thanks for reading!