Permits extended for Connaught Drive apartment project – News

A second development permit extension has been granted for builders of a proposed 144-unit apartment complex on Connaught Drive. The extension is until December 2024, at which time the proponents are expected to obtain a building permit. // Bob Covey

Developers of a large scale apartment complex on Connaught Drive have been given a second six-month extension from Parks Canada.

In December of 2022, MDMC Development received development permits for their proposed 144 unit apartment building at Parcel GB

Development permits are issued for one year and expire if a building permit isn’t obtained within that timeframe, according to Parks Canada’s Town of Jasper Land Use Policy

In December of 2023, an extension was granted with the expectation that the developer was to obtain a building permit by June, 2024. 

Site work on GB Parcel in accordance to the builders’ development permit in February 2023. // Bob Covey

“It’s not uncommon for a project of this size to require a permit extension,” communications officer Janelle Verbruggen said at the time. 

Now a second extension—to December 15, 2024—has been granted. Parks Canada says the lessee is able to continue site preparation and grading, as well as tree and vegetation removal.

“The lessee…is actively working with the Municipality of Jasper to fulfill municipal development requirements such as a fire safety plan, off-site levies, utility connections and construction impacts to traffic,” according to Erin Saunders, Jasper National Park’s Realty Manager.

Jasperite Murdoch Bowen, owner of Jasper Concrete, is a stakeholder in the development. Reached by phone, Bowen said his group is waiting on the bureaucrats.

“We’re waiting on engineers and the government. It takes time,” Bowen said.

The project was granted significant variances for the two-building apartment complex, including a roof height variance; a reduction in the required parking stalls; and a variance to allow for 15 percent smaller units than prescribed in Jasper’s Multi-Unit Dwelling district (R3b).

In July of 2021, Jasper National Park Superintendent Alan Fehr responded to a resident opposed to the project’s variances. 

“The height variations were considered due to the proposed increased density and unusual site configuration,” Fehr wrote. “The parking stall reduction was approved with the condition that the proponent work with the Municipality of Jasper to establish additional off-site parking.”

The original asking price for the release of Parcel GB was $6.1 million. In 2019, the price was $5.5 million. The final fee that MDMC Development paid for the release of land was $4.32 million. That price took into account costs associated with servicing the lot, according to Parks Canada.

“The addition of 144 rental units to the town of Jasper supports the Jasper Community Housing Corporation’s goals and will bring much needed relief to the lack of rental accommodations in the community,” the JNP realty office said in 2022. 

Since the issuance of the original development permit at 801 Connaught, two other smaller apartment buildings (12 and 18 units, respectively) have been built on Patricia Street.

Jasper Concrete doing earthworks on the Patricia Street/Snapes Hill apartment complex in May, 2023. // Bob Covey

Bob Covey //

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