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The ADI Development Group has taken a step forward in its plan to build tall buildings in Aldershot.

Adi has filed, and the City has accepted, an application to build three tall buildings on its property at the north east corner of Masonry Court and Waterdown Road. Councillor Kelvin Galbraith disclosed the news at this week’s City Council meeting.

Two of the buildings would be 36 storeys tall and one would be 26 storeys. In total, there would be 1,139 residential units, but only 231 square metres of commercial/retail space.

Acceptance of the application, however, does not constitute approval, instead, it starts a 120-day clock during which the City is supposed to make a decision. If the City fails to decide within that time frame, which often happens, the developer has the right to appeal directly to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The City’s next step is to schedule a statutory public meeting when the application will be formally introduced to Council, and the public may put its concerns on the record. After that, the City’s Planning staff is supposed to make a recommendation on whether to approve the project.

The ADI site is located within the designated Major Transit Station Area which does allow for intensification and height, although the City’s vision would only permit 30 storeys.

At a 2020 neighbourhood meeting that discussed redevelopment options for the site, a great deal of concern was raised about the lack of retail space in any of ADI’s plans.

The developer’s spokesperson Shane Cooney responded with the assurance that the question of retail was still under consideration.

 “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”.

It now appears that ADI was unable or unwilling to include significant retail space in its buildings with only 231 square metres now proposed.

ADI has been working on its plans for the area for many years and on several occasions, at public meetings, its representatives told the community that it would consider including significant retail space in its project. At one point ADI even said it had been in touch with potential grocery stores. Private assurances were also given to the previous City Councillor. (This reporter)

The Executive Director of the Aldershot Village Business Improvement Area, Judy Worsley commented  after the 2020 meeting that the lack of significant retail is a “missed opportunity”.

At the same time, City Councillor Kelvin Galbraith made a similar observation. “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.”

ADI has already constructed two six-storey apartment buildings and hundreds of townhomes on its properties to the east of this latest development site.

By Rick Craven

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