A redesignation application brought before Rocky View County (RVC) council during a regular meeting May 4 has received approval, meaning the Gateway Village development in Bragg Creek will be moving forward.
“I think that the Bragg Creek area has waited a long time to see a quality development like this come along to change the way things are done there,” said Coun. Greg Boehlke. “I think this is a great plan – it is well thought out and well laid out. It has a huge amount of support.”
According to Gateway Development’s plan, when the residential and commercial project is eventually complete, Bragg Creek will be able to flaunt a new amphitheater, a 120-room lodge, a spa, townhouses, condominiums, rental apartments and the revival of local restaurant called the Steak Pit.
Reached after council’s decision, the development’s proponent Dick Koetsier said he was “speechless” about council’s decision to give Gateway Village the green light.
“We have really, as a team, done the very best we could on all levels,” he said. “Many of the councillors spoke to thank us for the job we did. It really solidified that we are on the right track.”
The project has been ongoing for the last 16 years. In 2005, Koetsier purchased property in Bragg Creek and started floating around ideas of what he could do on the land, which spans 12 acres and is located behind the shopping centres in Bragg Creek.
In 2012, Koetsier said he began to visualize what the Gateway Village development could look like. While the 2013 floods wreaked havoc on the hamlet – and his vision – he has spent the last eight years working with Rocky View County to continue planning the project.
Koetsier said although there has been some opposition among locals over the years, he is pleased with the public support the proposal garnered. The key concern seems to be ensuring the hamlet does not turn into Canmore or Banff, Koetsier said, explaining that change is coming but will be calculated and careful to ensure the unique identity of Bragg Creek can be maintained.
Fast forwarding to council’s approval, Koetsier said he and his team can now move on to the development permit stage and the remainder of the planning needed to move the project toward construction.
“Hopefully, even as early as September we can start doing some of the road building and servicing,” he said.
Development permits, he added, will take a little while longer, as those also need to go before council, and it is currently an election year. He hopes permits can receive approval by the end of 2021, at the earliest.
Once the permits are secured, he said phase one of construction can start, which will include the expansion of the Old West Mall and the building of the Steak Pit restaurant.
“In the expansion we are including over 30 apartments, which will be attainable units for staff and seniors that want to stay in the hamlet,” he said. “I can imagine within three years, we will have phase one complete.”
Phase two includes the first half of the lodge, as well as some of the apartments and condominiums.
“It’s a long process, but I’ve already been at it for 16 years,” he said. “You really learn about how long things take when you are a developer.
“Now, of course, the real work begins.”
The item was passed by council unanimously, with Coun. Mark Kamachi recusing himself from voting and partaking in the public hearing due to an existing business relationship with the applicant.
—With files from Chelsea Kemp/Cochrane Eagle