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Aldershot apartment complex may not have retail

Aldershot residents hoping for the hint of a new grocery store may have been disappointed after learning about several new residential towers proposed for construction near the GO Station.

The ADI Development Group wants to build an additional 1,258 residential units in three or four towers as part of its Stationwest project on Masonry Drive. The site already has 421 units approved and under construction. The additional proposal, which was presented during an on-line public meeting on Tuesday, calls for construction of the tallest buildings in the Aldershot but, so far, does not include retail space to accommodate a much-desired grocery store.

Residents in west Aldershot have long expressed the desire for a grocery store to replace one that closed in the early 2000s. During past public meetings ADI frequently teased neighbours by suggesting that increased population might eventually justify a new grocery store, perhaps even on its site.

The latest proposal may not include retail yet but according to spokeman Shane Cooney; “We did hear that the retail is something to consider. We’re going to take everything in……and evaluate everything that will lead to the next stage of our proposal”.

The Executive Director of the Aldershot Village Business Improvement Area, Judy Worsley said after the meeting that the lack of retail at this stage in the planning process is a “missed opportunity”.

City Councillor Kelvin Galbraith commented: “I was concerned that there was no retail included in the proposal. The community is really looking for the increased density to attract additional retail operations to the west end of Aldershot. Ideally, another small grocery store and food operations.”

Aldershot resident Lawson Hunter, who is a frequent commentator on civic affairs, participated in the meeting and later said; “I’m a bit surprised. I would be disappointed if there wasn’t any retail of any kind”. He cautioned however that it is questionable how many Aldershot residents would travel to this location for retail services.

In addition to the question of retail space, the height of the proposed new buildings may eventually become an issue given previous experience in Burlington. Despite the fact that the proposed new buildings would be as high as 39 storeys, the issue did not generate much debate at Tuesday’s on-line meeting.

“There was no discussion really about the height and density. The discussion really revolved around design elements which was great to hear from the community” said Cooney.

Mr. Hunter disagrees: “People should be up in arms. This will be the tallest building in Burlington and way beyond the bylaws that we have in Burlington”.

ADI’s latest proposal includes two options at the corner of Waterdown Road and Masonry Court. Option one would see three towers with building heights ranging from 29 to 39 storeys. Option two would see four towers ranging from 18 to 39 storeys. The towers would share a single podium.

Adi’s public meeting was considered “pre-consultation”, meaning that the company is currently gauging public opinion and inviting suggestions and input. They have not yet submitted a formal application to the City and are promising further public discussion.

By Rick Craven

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