One person called it a monstrosity. Another demanded to know if Mayor Marianne Meed Ward would like to have it in her backyard. A third demanded to know what the Mayor will be doing to “ensure that this project fails”.
The comments came at a virtual public meeting this week that discussed a proposed twenty-nine storey building on the east side of Waterdown Road, just north of Plains. It would replace two residential buildings at 1029 and 1033 Waterdown Road.
The meeting had been called by the Infinity Development Group in order to receive public input prior to the finalization of its plan and submission of a formal application to the City. Infinity needs amendments to both the City’s Official Plan and its Zoning Bylaw to allow the building.
If approved, the new building would include 295 residential units, most of which would be one-bedroom. There would be 295 parking spaces with two levels underground and four levels within the podium of the structure. The building would be terraced back starting at the sixth floor. Throughout the meeting, however, the developer’s representatives cautioned that the plan is subject to change based on public input.
Citizen participation at the virtual meeting was limited to written questions which included inquiries about traffic, parking, shadowing, property values, GO station parking lot capacity and streetscaping. As expected, however, the size and scale of the structure was a major topic.
“Why do these developments, that the neighbourhood clearly doesn’t want, keep on being put forward? Why aren’t they just killed immediately if they don’t abide by current zoning” wrote one concerned resident.
The developer’s representative reminded those watching their screens that the site is within the Major Transit Station Area which has already been approved for significant intensification.
The proposal includes a small retail area on the first floor which also proved to be a big subject. The developer’s architect admitted that “it is a very small unit….not large enough to accommodate a grocery store”.
One resident reminded the developer, mayor and ward one councillor that “The neighbourhood clearly wants a grocery store………2,350 square feet is inadequate for a large grocery retailer”.
The Executive Director of the Aldershot Village B.I.A., which has long promoted the idea of a grocery store in west Aldershot, inquired about parking for the retail. Judy Worsley was told that there would be no parking at the store because it is expected that most people living in the area would be walking to the retail service.
Depending on the timing of its application to the City, a decision on Infinity’s proposal may be complicated by the fact that the City is still working on the specific details of how the neighbourhood will change over time. This is known as an Area Specific Plan.
Infinity has been buying up land in west Aldershot for more than a decade. It is also proposing a major development on the south side of Plains Road East between the Seasons Condominium and Birchwood Drive. That proposal would be a nine-storey structure with 360 residential units. At a recent public meeting one neighbour described that idea as “a completely outrageous and atrocious plan to destroy this part of the City”.
By Rick Craven