City council is taking steps to ease traffic congestion at VLA fields.

At the November 5 meeting, a public hearing was held for two zoning bylaw changes for a piece of land north of 49 Street and 43 Avenue. The land was a part of the Eastwood Trailer Court. The piece would be rezoned from residential to urban park with future intentions of adding a parking lot in the area.

“We identified a lack of parking spots in VLA fields that will help to go into the 2020 Summer Games. There were some trailers moved to the same mobile home park but in the research, they found there were some zoning issues that date back a long time,” says Mayor Gerald Aalbers.

One resident came and spoke in favour of the changes but asked for clarification on whether property taxes would change along with it. City clerk Doug Rodwell says there has been no indication property taxes would change from the rezoning.

Before rezoning, the city also had to request an environmental assessment as the location was a former landfill sometime between the 1950s and 1970s. The survey looked at possible risks and hazards stemming from the former landfill.

“It came back saying, basically, with no disturbance within the first metre and a half of surface there are no issues in that area.”

The report states “typical residential exposures generally do not occur to depths greater than 5 cm, it is unlikely the hazard would be realized.” Aalbers says he’s heard from neighbours in the area that whenever there is an event at VLA fields traffic can get congested.

“Rather than parking in someone’s driveway or in front of their property, hopefully, we can contain them to the parking lot.”

Backup Generator Install

Council awarded ATCO Electric to install the emergency backup generator for the airport. Council is allocating $81,000 for the install with a contingency of just over $12,000. 

ATCO was the only company to bid on the project which Mayor Aalbers says is concerning.

“We always like to see two to five contractors bid on the work. But it’s not the type of work that happens every day so it may not have fit the bill for some of our local contractors.”

City workers confirmed they had put the bid up the same way as every other bid and will be looking into reasons why the contract only received one bid. City administration says the bid still falls in line with the projected cost of the install.

Previously, if a power outage occurred, flights would be grounded as the runway lights wouldn’t be functioning. The backup generator is fully automated to activate within seconds of a power failure. The generator was approved for purchase at the June 10 city council meeting for $200,000.