Third Local Area Plan (LAP) Meeting – Montgomery Place

17 September 2015 – St. Dominic School auditorium

Attendance – The largest group ever to attend a LAP meeting joined City of Saskatoon planners at the third Montgomery Place LAP consultation. Many folks attending were second or third generation Montgomery residents. Others were long-time resident. Still others were new to the neighbourhood. All were committed to Montgomery Place.

Agenda – Agenda topics included: 1. A vison statement for Montgomery Place in the future; 2. The neighbourhood boundary; 3. The South-West Sector Plan.

City of Saskatoon – Representing the City of Saskatoon were Konrad André and Terry Fusco.

Conversation was lively and impassioned. Montgomery Place people care about their community. Konrad André and Terry Fusco care about the work they do.

All residents, whether they have lived here for many years or a few, grasp very quickly that Montgomery Place is not the idyllic community it seems to be. Challenges include heavy truck traffic, frequent trains cutting off the community, as well as noise and air pollution from traffic and industrial sources.

Discussion and debate was animated and heartfelt.

  • 1. Vision Statement – Konrad André presented three drafts of a vision statement prepared by city planners. The statement should describe what we are today and where we will be tomorrow. It is to be the inspiration and framework for the Local Area Plan – what Montgomery Place has been, is, and will become.

After discussion, it appeared that Draft 3 was preferred, although some people liked some of the statements included in Draft 2.

Draft 1 My Montgomery Place is a cohesive community that wishes to honour its historic past while remaining open to new opportunities for sensitive development. Montgomery Place will be the most desired area of the city to live because of its accessibility, safety and engaged residents.

Residents take pride in the heritage and beauty of the neighbourhood, and neighbours make an effort to get to know each other. We are unique, with a small town feel that is affordable, green and welcoming. It is a close-knit and vibrant community that encourages inclusivity and accessibility for all stages of life.

Draft 2 – Montgomery Place is a historic community that honours its heritage and is ready for a future of continued health and prosperity, while remaining true to the values of its proud founding families through the protection of our neighbourhood’s exceptional character.

An area originally designed for our country’s brave war veterans to ensure soldiers and loved ones could establish roots together by building a supportive community, Montgomery Place continues as a neighbourhood which openly welcomes new families.

Our peaceful neighbourhood is known for its large lots, mature trees, and small town atmosphere that encourage life-long friendships and lasting connections among Montgomery Place residents.

Remembering and celebrating the past is a vital role for communities because history makes the future possible. We will provide a sustainable and stable future for the community we cherish.

Montgomery Place: Our hometown inside the city.

Draft 3 – Montgomery Place has a strong, unique and rich character rooted in heritage. A community set aside for our Veterans, we are knit together by tradition and our important shared history. Montgomery Place is a neighbourhood given to people that risked their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy today – we honour those who served our country. Our story is unlike any other in Saskatoon.

A unique residential component in Saskatoon’s housing fabric, we strongly value our stable, safe, and quiet neighbourhood. A peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, we are a community of neighbours and friends who take pride in the heritage and beauty of our neighbourhood.

In the future, we will further strengthen our historical status, and preserve our heritage and beauty. Our neighbourhood will continue to be a quiet place where people can enjoy a country feel of living and green spaces – a place where children come back to. We will be the most desired area of the city; an easily accessible, safe community with engaged and involved residents.

Montgomery Place is a strong neighbourhood proud of its history; our story is unlike any other is Saskatoon.

Discussion – Residents immediately questioned words and phrases like “easily accessible,” “quiet,” “affordable,” “safe” and “peaceful.” For a community that complains of being bombarded day and night by noise from all directions, and a community that can be completely cut off from emergency vehicles – these words rang hollow.

Residents commented that Montgomery Place is not a desirable neighbourhood because of City actions over the past 70 years. It is not accessible. It is not quiet – people can’t enjoy their yards because of train and freeway noise.

Action – The Montgomery Place Community Association will prepare a draft of the Vision Statement for the next LAP meeting in October 2015.

  • 2. Neighbourhood Boundaries – City Planner Konrad André gave a brief history of community boundaries. These have waxed and waned over the years since the original 1945 plan. In the 1950s the plan was amended to allow for expansion of the rail lines. In 1960, the boundaries were re-drafted to include the rail line relocation, the southern expansion and the elevator. MP boundaries do not include Viterra today. In 1962 the land west of the elevator, including the land that Kramer Tractor has occupied since 1965, was encompassed within the boundaries. In 1964, the CN Rail Yard and Chappell Drive were taken into the boundary. Between 1965 and 1985 the lines were redrawn to include Mountbatten and Cassino Streets and Simonds Avenue. In 1983 McNaughton Avenue, and land west of Chappell Drive was included within Montgomery Place boundaries.

Discussion – Residents were immediately curious about the land west of Chappell Drive. What is the most advantageous? To be part of Montgomery Place so that residents have a say in what happens there?

  • 3. South West Sector Plan – City of Saskatoon Long Range Planner –Terry Fusco – reminded residents of The South West Sector Plan that began in 2012 as a joint initiative with the Rural Municipality of Corman Park and was put on hold when the Saskatoon Partnership For Growth Plan took precedence. He told people at the meeting that at a 2013 Open House, a Land Use Questionnaire resulted in a 44% response in favour of “clean industrial” to the west of Chappell Drive. The CN preference was for a business park, not residential. From that response, planners concluded that a Business Park was favoured over more residential. A business park would be IB zoning with two or three storey office or retail businesses and parking – similar to what is found today in Stonebridge. It would not be heavy industry – all heavy industry is presently slated for north Saskatoon. Servicing the area west of Chappell Drive, until now, has been cost-prohibitive. Now with the new Blairmore development, service possibilities are greater. Opinions at the meeting were divided between more residential (not high density) and a Business Park.

Discussion – Montgomery Place residents feel boxed in.

Residents continued their questions about the land west of Chappell Drive. Not all seemed to be onside with business rather than residential. They asked again – If the land is within Montgomery boundaries, will we have some control over its development? Other residents replied – No, money will rule future development. The City has a poor record of listening and heeding Montgomery concerns. Did anyone from the City ask our opinion of relocating the Bus Barns and City Yards at our back door? No.

A Business Park will increase car and truck traffic through and past our neighbourhood, as would more residential. So far, sound attenuation for increased traffic has been absent. Montgomery Place has grown noisier and noisier with each City decision – and nothing has been done to buffer the noise. Does anyone think increased traffic coming from west of Chappell Drive will be any different?

Some residents doubted the Light Industrial designation. If the City purports to designate Heavy Industrial to the north end, what do they call the Civic Operations Centre (COC) – bus barns, snow dump and city yards. What about the rail yards? It is all Heavy Industry.

With the COC, a berm is planned but it is not intended as a barrier against noise. Instead it is intended as a visual barrier. We need this berm to get rid of noise pollution in Montgomery. In addition to a southern berm to buffer noise, we need an eastern berm to buffer Circle Drive air and noise pollution.

What about a Seniors’ facility rather than a Business Park? This would not fall within the City’s current zoning. At one time the land north of the 3300 block of 11th Street was recommended for seniors’ housing but no one was interested in building a facility there. On another point, the road north of the 3400 block on 11th Street desperately needs to be moved away from the Montgomery homes there. The 4 acre plot east of the elevator (3300 block) is zoned residential. The 7½ acre plot to the west of the elevator (3400 block) is zoned light industrial.

Greenspace was an idea that evoked positive comments from a majority of residents at the meeting. Could the land north of the 3300 and 3400 blocks of 11th Street become greenspace? Could the land west of Chappell Drive be designated greenspace to connect all the segments of Chappell Marsh? Montgomery Place is boxed in. Can’t one direction – west – be kept free of industry and remain green?

Mr. Fusco explained that if a Business Park was developed, the green space allocation west of Chappell Drive would be 5% of 1000 acres. If residential space was developed, the green space would be only 10% of the 250 acre municipal reserve – a far smaller plot. If Chappell Drive was moved west, a buffer greenspace would exist between Montgomery Place and new light industrial to the west. If residential, Montgomery could run the risk of seeing high-density multi-unit buildings go up – architecture that would not be sensitive to post-war construction styles in Montgomery Place.

City Councillor Pat Lorje asked if we should freeze development west of Chappell Drive until after the Civic Operations Centre opens and we know the impact of it on Montgomery.

Someone asked if there was a plan to put a new fire hall in the area? No, the plan is to give better 24/7 access to Montgomery Place. What is the timeline? We have been waiting a long time and nothing has been done. Discussion moved to the east end of Montgomery Place at Dundonald Avenue. A locked emergency access for emergency vehicles only – at the south end of Dundonald – is under consideration.

There might also be a pedestrian walkway which would connect Montgomery Place to natural areas south of Montgomery –  Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and Ducks Unlimited Chappell Marsh. There could be hiking and biking paths developed to link to the conservation areas south of the rail yards. How the paths would cross the rail lines was not explained. Perhaps the greenspace currently encompassing the off-leash dog park and the St. Barbe Baker Forest could be allocated for a campground like the Gordie Howe campground, or an extreme sports area. These proposals elicited no favourable response. And back to the western edge of Montgomery – there is another natural area of drainage area running through west sector land, crossing Highway 7 south of the Compost Depot, which could also be connected to these natural areas.

City Planners asked if the completion of Circle Drive alleviated Montgomery Place traffic issues? Planners seemed surprised to hear a resounding No. The intersection at 11th Street not has more tracks than ever before – just in time for longer and more numerous trains and the dangerous situation of cutting the community off from emergency vehicle access. The traffic noise on Circle Drive is deafening and has destroyed backyard life at Montgomery’s eastern edge.

Wrap-Up – Thanks were extended for the active participation of all. Next meetings are:

October 20, 2015 – St. David’s Trinity United Church – 7 pm – Topics include drainage, property maintenance, storage and home businesses.

November 19, 2015 – St. David’s Trinity United Church – 7 pm – Topics include land use, zoning and infill.

December 8, 2015 – St. Dominic School Auditorium – 7 pm – Second traffic meeting.