A Nova Scotia developer is asking Sackville Town Council for approval to build an Ambulance New Brunswick station near TransCanada Highway Exit 506.
Parsons Investments Ltd. is in the process of buying land that fronts on Robson Avenue, Cattail Ridge and Bridge Street. The company wants to build the ambulance station on part of the property (outlined in red) next to the Westmorland Animal Hospital.
However, the land is not zoned for institutional use and councillors will be asked to decide next week whether to consider the company’s rezoning request and launch a formal process that would include a public hearing on the matter.
Exit 506 plan
Town Council spent more than 40 minutes at its meeting last night discussing how an ambulance station that would be set back at least 70 feet from Robson Avenue would fit with a $27,000 draft plan for the Exit 506 area that recommends set backs of no more than 20 feet.
Last month, Ekistics Planning and Design outlined its concept for a small village near Exit 506 that included an ambulance station along with restaurants, shops, apartment-style housing, new sidewalks, bicycle lanes and two parks. The planners recommended placing buildings near the street with parking at the rear to make streetscapes more inviting to pedestrians. Their final recommendations are expected to be presented to council in April.
Councillor Bill Evans said that, in general, he favours developments such as the ambulance station, but added that the whole idea of commissioning a plan for the area was to avoid what happened at Exit 504 where businesses were added in an ad hoc or piecemeal way.
Evans said he would be guided by how urgent or “time sensitive” the rezoning request was.
“But I’m also not comfortable saying ‘let’s act on something’ when we haven’t yet decided what we want our plan to be, the whole idea of plans is you have plans first and then you act consistent with the plan,” he added.
Councillors Andrew Black and Megan Mitton suggested that ambulances would need the 70 feet in front of the station for turning and that given the station’s location on Robson Avenue, setting it farther back than other future buildings on Cattail Ridge wouldn’t interfere with the streetscape.
Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken agreed.
“I can’t see where people are going to be window-shopping in an ambulance set-up,” he said.
Sackville resident Percy Best, who is selling much of the land he owns in the area to Parsons Investments, told council that Ambulance New Brunswick originally wanted the new station to be completed by January 1st.
He said his sale to Parsons will go through on March 17th and the company wants to break ground as soon as it can.
Earlier, Councillor Joyce O’Neil said council should do everything it can to enable the ambulance station to move from its present location in the industrial park on the far side of the CN Rail tracks that could be blocked during an emergency.
“I just think this has got to happen so we get them on the other side of the tracks,” she said adding that the ambulance station is a sure thing while other parts of the Ekistics plan are not.
It is not surprising that Councillor Evans wants a plan in place prior to allowing anymore development to happen in the exit 506 area. Responsible developement can happen without having a full plan in place. Yet he has no issues with placing more residential buildings on a small piece of land when there are several pieces of vacant land further up King Street that could accommodate more residential appartments.. Maybe he has a case of NIMBY?
Councillor Evans should take a walk into the business world. Outside of Sackville it is well known that Sackville is closed for business. In fact when I was in Fredericton in February it was a topic of conversation at a function I was at.
As well where is the supporting documentation that he would have referenced when he says exit 504 was developed all ad hoc and piece meal?
Based on the time these developments happened at exit 504 it was done within the guidelines provided and with the approval of staff and council where necessary.
We have yet to see any form of commitment from this council to fix what they think is wrong at exit 504. However, the change to a scramble walk light and change to left turning advancement has actually caused more congestion at times in the area which was the direction of council to staff.
There are ways to address the situation with these big box businesses that have been contributing heavily to employment and the tax base in Sackville for years, however it may involve the town offering compensation for the changes the businesses would have to make.
very well addressed shawn
If i recall back a few years ago there was a accident i believe and the train was blocking both exits of the industrial park and couldn’t move and they had to bring a ambulance in from another station for the medical call. As a tax payer in this town i think this is a very important matter that needs too be dealt with now and not later.