There appears to be a renewed interest for residential development in Plum Coulee.
At its last two regular meetings, Municipality of Rhineland Council approved one project and has heard two re-zoning requests in preparation for further development.
A conditional use and variation order was granted to K-Block Developments Inc. which, according to Reeve Don Wiebe, is looking to construct a combination of single-family and multi-family units on a 7-acre parcel of land of the Happy Wanderer.
A public hearing has also taken place to re-zone a section in Plum Coulee East from Agricultural Restricted to Residential where plans are to develop about 20 housing lots. Council has not yet made a decision on the matter.
However, Council has approved the re-zoning of a parcel of land behind Sunset Diner from Industrial to Residential designation. Wiebe explains those plans are still in the early stages and an official concept hasn't come across the council table quite yet.
All of this action has the reeve encouraged.
"We'll just wait and see what happens...but we have a number of these possible developments and when they start going forward there's the potential for lots of things to happen in Plum Coulee. The stage is set for that," said Wiebe.
As for what's contributing to this increased interest, Wiebe feels it's all connected to growth in and around Winkler.
"It's starting to spill over a bit into Plum Coulee in terms of a bit of a bedroom community concept," he explained, pointing to the expansion of the Rhineland West Ag Park as an example.
Additionally, Wiebe suggests Plum Coulee offers a possible advantage when it comes to lot prices in comparison to the neighbouring city. He also feels the short commute between Winkler and Plum Coulee is attractive to home buyers and, in turn, developers.
Meantime, Wiebe notes Council's role moving forward will be to ensure a healthy balance of the type of housing that is built and where.
Public feedback indicates residents of Plum Coulee would like to see development that attracts a long-term home buyer that will invest and become a part of the community.
Wiebe explains Council will weigh that feedback along with housing-density and efficient land-use considerations as well.