Some Riverview residents seemed to have a change of heart about projects for development in their neighbourhood after attending an open house organized by the City of North Battleford.
At Tuesday’s meeting, about 75 residents visited during the evening to see the plan designs for the two projects.
“We’re really happy with the turnout. We’ve been able to address a lot of people’s concerns and show how fantastic these projects will be for the neighbourhood,” said the city’s economic development director Jennifer Niesink.
Two projects planned for the neighbourhood — a new brewery-tavern at the site of the former armory on 702-102nd Street, and an eight-unit apartment complex across the street at 691-103rd Street — received complaints from residents at City of North Battleford council’s recent meeting.
For the brewery project, residents were mainly concerned about the tavern component since they were worried it would attract an unruly crowd and contribute to crime in the area.
The brewery-tavern business partners Brad Taylor and Gregg Tady, from the Battleford area, spoke to residents about their plans.
“It’s a craft brewery — just a small-scale brewery,” said Taylor about the project. ”We need to be able to make a profitable business, so we are going to sell the beer we manufacture on site. They call it a tavern, but it’s a tasting room where people can come in and taste the different types of beer we manufacture. Then, eventually there will be a restaurant that will go along with that.”
“Our biggest goal once we came up with the idea was to save the building,” he added. “We came across this old armory, and I realized how beautiful it was and I thought this thing can’t go to a wrecking ball. That was the next step for it.”
He said craft breweries are popular now, so he and his partner thought it would be a good idea for the site.
They haven’t thought of a name for the business yet.
Taylor said there shouldn’t be a problem with parking since the site includes parking. He also doesn’t worry about an increase in rowdiness in the area since the business won’t be open very late.
He added he and his partner plan to open the facility to about 10 p.m., not late into the early morning hours. The main focus of the establishment would be the brewery.
While planning for the project is still being completed, he believes the establishment would be upscale and might actually help enhance the community.
Resident Joyce Coldwell initially had apprehensions about the brewery-tavern, but has changed her mind.
“A tavern means lots of partying but now that he has cleared that up — that it was only going to be open at certain times, and that they would have more upscale food — I say go for it then,” she said. “I’m not against it because we need something.”
For the proposed apartment complex the developer, Daniel Amero, and City of North Battleford planner Devin MacAulay answered some of the residents’ questions and presented designs showing the complex would be a townhouse style site — with two and three bedroom suites available.
Resident Shirley Thompson attended the event and reviewed the designs for the apartment building. She said she would prefer if it were a seniors’ building, although the project doesn’t have an age restrictions. Otherwise, she likes the design for the building, as a low-level structure.
City councillor Greg Lightfoot attended the open house and after seeing the designs believes the brewery project looked positive and might help in the city's revitalization plans in the long term.
"Based on the drawings and some of the photos they are presenting, I think it’s a fantastic project," he said. “It’s a focal point in the community, especially along the railway. I think it would be nice to see something going in there to revitalize the property and space.”
He also sees the benefits of having a new apartment complex: “I think it would be great to attract families. That is one thing we are lacking — two and three bedroom apartments. It would be a huge fit for the community.”
An RCMP officer also participated in the open house also and said there is currently low crime in the Riverview area compared to other parts of the North Battleford.
Editor's Note: The developer, Daniel Amero was present for the meeting, contrary to a previous version of this story.
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