A proposal to permit 94 new street townhouses in Confederation Heights incurred the wrath of area residents last night.
The city’s intermediate planner Paul Klassen presented the proposed zoning amendment at a public meeting before council, which would change the former Phase 8 of the west neighbourhood from four single homes and 144 semi-detached dwellings to allow 34 single homes and 94 street townhouses.
The lots would be situated on a brand new street along the northern part of the subdivision near Tuliptree Road, Juneberry Road, and Winterberry Blvd.
On behalf of the developer, Keith MacKinnon from KLM Planning Partners Inc. explained that the proposed change is a result of “what the marketplace is demanding.”
Alluding to past problems involving multiple students disrupting the area, Coun. Anthony Longo asked, “Are you aware of the issues we’re having in the neighbourhood with townhouses?”
While MacKinnon said that he is “well aware” of the problems, “I don’t think it’s just a townhouse issue. It comes down to the municipality enforcing any issues that arise.”
Silver Maple Road resident Tim Miotto said he’s a lifelong Thorold resident and member of the Town and Gown committee, which meets regularly in attempts to resolve concerns with Brock students.
Growing up on Winslow Crescent, he said, “The kids could walk safely and play hockey. It was a community. We supported our schools, churches, and sports teams. We helped each other out. Not so much today. The city needs tax money,” he added. “I get it.”
But with “Almost identical zoning to Winterberry” Blvd. being proposed—the site of the outrageous street party that went viral two years ago—“We all know how that turned out,” said Miotto.
Citing vandalism and other crime, “garbage everywhere,” as well as a “growing rodent population,” and parking problems caused by area students, Miotto blamed “out-of-town landlords” who “stick as many students in the rooms” as possible, “and they are empty” for many months when students leave.
“Do they sponsor teams? Do they support our food banks; our churches? Thorold is open for business for the landlords. Thousands of them will be coming,” he said, quoting a prediction from Bradley Clarke, Brock's director of student life and community experience.
“I ask this council, why are we the dumping grounds for Brock students? We have to put extra police controls just to control the mayhem. There was a stabbing right down the street from where I live.”
Miotto encouraged council to “Say no to this row housing. Say yes to building homes with people that contribute to the economy.”
Coun. Ken Sentance agreed.
“If you put up townhouses, you invite students, but I think we have to rethink the situation with developers and see what we can do.”
Silver Maple Road resident Charlie Elwell said the existing townhouses “should be a great lesson as to what we can expect” if the proposal is permitted, including “forcing nearby neighbours to leave our community. Increased violence and partying is one of the first topics brought up when you meet someone in the neighbourhood, and we are all afraid it’s going to get worse.”
Elwell added that while he “grew up in a townhouse,” and has “nothing against townhouses, the problem is we live near Brock. Landlords pack in as many residents as they can. We allowed this in 2009 to happen. We are living it. Don’t let it happen again.”