June 23rd, 2024

City targeting Victoria Park area for redevelopment plan

By Troy Bannerman - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 16, 2022.

Herald photo by Troy Bannerman Trees line a street next to Gyro Park along 14 Avenue South. The City is hosting a series of open houses on redevelopment in the Victoria Park neighbourhood.

The City of Lethbridge is looking for feedback from residents on the Victoria Park Area Redevelopment Plan and has been hosting a series of open houses this week.

The area is named after Victoria Park, which is now known as Gyro, renamed in the 1960s. After the Second World War the area between 3 and 12 Avenues, and 13 Street and Mayor Magrath Drive developed into Victoria Park. The neighbourhood is characterized by miner’s cottages, green spaces, and the Chinook Regional Hospital. Victoria Park has developed into a beautiful neighbourhood with a very serene atmosphere.

So what does the future of Victoria Park look like?

On Tuesday, Genesis Hevia Orio and Kurt Fisher with the City’s planning department were asking residents of the neighbourhood that question.

When people hear “Area Redevelopment Plan” sometimes their minds go to bulldozers, malls, or apartments and rapid change happening very quickly. However, the purpose of an Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) has more to do with future growth rather than tearing the old down to make room for the new.

During the presentation, residents were shown the need for community change over time, and the purpose of the ARP is to give a community a direction that will allow it to continue to meet the needs of its people.

An example from Victoria Park is the Medical Hub. When the buildings around the hospital were build in the 1980s the ARP of the time required them to look like the surrounding houses, even though they are all medical offices. Today, people like to be within walking distance from the hospital of cafés, or light shopping.

The plan also takes into account the parking situation. As more hidden-density homes, like duplexes and fourplexes are built, the streets and alleys become filled with stationary vehicles.

In an interview, Hevia Orio stated the first steps toward the development of an ARP is to look at the history of a community and how it has developed. She stated that this was conducted through the Lethbridge Historical Society.

The second step is to learn as much as possible from the public, and especially the residents of the community in question.

This is being conducted through a series of public workshops being held at the Navy League Building at 1708 10 Avenue South. Hevia Orio and Fisher will host more community involvement sessions today at 10 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m.

After the information is gathered, the City Planning department will put together a plan that will allow for landowners and development “to feel certainty as to what to expect because we have the rules in place and also provide a level of better understanding of the neighbourhood,” said Hevia Oro.

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