Proposed development denied by Big Lakes

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A request to convert a former college campus in Faust into residential property has been rejected by Big Lakes County council.
At its regular meeting Feb. 23, council approved a motion by Reeve Robert Nygaard to deny first reading of the bylaw.
Council received an application from owners Michael Craft and Karli Nielsen to redistrict the property on Third Ave. SW to hamlet residential from parks and institutional, says Pat Olansky, director of planning and development.
The lot is the site of the former Northern Lakes College campus that has been closed for several years and sold to the current owners in 2019.
However, Nygaard, who represents Faust on council, immediately made a motion to turn down first reading as discussion began.
“If this changes, Faust will have no institutional land,” Nygaard said.
He noted the County owns neighbouring properties.
“At least it’s a place where something institutional could start,” said Nygaard, who notes the building was constructed in the mid-1960s.
“All services and utilities are in place for institutional use.”
A plan to convert the building into a rehabilitation or treatment centre was being discussed many years ago, Nygaard added.
The building is still being used and the County collects property taxes.
“The owners have indicated they are proposing to renovate the building into a single-family dwelling,” Olansky told council.
A single detached dwelling is neither a permitted nor discretionary use in the parks and institutional district.
Nygaard suggested council tour the site to determine the future of the old campus.
Considering the age of the structure, Joussard Councillor Richard Mifflin says the building probably has asbestos, which would be costly to remove.

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