Erin Ridge North is a fast-growing community in St. Albert. Of the three sites, it is the only location being considered where there is current development and access, whereas Badger Lands and RR 260 are still years away from having communities around or near them. In choosing Erin Ridge North as a location, there may be opportunities for cost-sharing with the facility and/or programming with other surrounding communities (Morinville, Sturgeon County). Erin Ridge and Erin Ridge North have a number of seniors’ centres (St. Albert Retirement Residence, Citadel Mews) nearby, all of which would benefit from easy access to the recreation centre.
St. Albert will soon need a new high school, and it’s not a certainty that we’ll get one in the short term. However, a partnership for a community hub reduces costs for a high school build and increases the likelihood that it can get built when we need it. In fact, St. Albert Public School Board wrote to Alberta’s Minister of Education voicing support for the Erin Ridge North site as it aligns with future school-build needs and areas that have seen the highest growth in elementary school-aged students. Building recreation centres adjacent to high schools creates a community hub and is a model that has worked well elsewhere, in communities like Edmonton.
It is true that, no matter which site is selected, the presence of a recreation centre will impact traffic. However, neither the RR 260 site nor the Badger Lands location has easy access, being north and west of the city where access roads like Fowler Way are years from being built. Erin Ridge North is the only site that will avoid major arterial intersections and has current public transit options. While Erin Ridge and Erin Ridge North currently have traffic congestion issues, some of the improvements to St. Albert Trail over the coming two years should improve the current congestion.
Council is due to vote this month, and we encourage St. Albert residents to make their voices heard about the three options being considered. We, as residents of Erin Ridge North, support the proposed site in Erin Ridge North for a future recreation centre and high school.
Kari McKnight and Derek Briton
On behalf of the Erin Ridge/Erin Ridge North Community Association