The proposal to build nearly 600 homes just north of the historic downtown breezed through the public hearing process Monday with nary a speaker raising their voice in objection to the grand plan.
After a handful of isolated concerns were raised, several involving the provision of parking in the historic downtown, council unanimously approved Infinity Properties’ plan to build hundreds of townhouse and apartment units on the former Clayburn Brick Plant site.
The development will be one of the largest ever in the historic downtown area, and will begin with the construction of 78 townhouse units and seven retail storefronts at the south end of the property.
The grand plan for the property envisions 599 units, split between more townhouse phases and three apartment buildings. Montrose Avenue will be extended to the northwest to eventually connect to McCallum Road. A traffic light will also go in at the intersection of Maclure and McCallum.
Council and local business leaders have said the project will bring an influx of new life into the historic downtown, and none of those who spoke at Monday’s public hearing objected to the basics of the plan.
Several people, though, expressed worries that the initial stages of development – which will include upgrading Montrose north of George Ferguson Way – will reduce parking in the historic downtown.
“We’re kind of generally excited about this,” said Bill Booth, the reverend of Trinity Memorial United Church. “It’s going to sort of move the church into the centre of downtown, so that’s pretty exciting.”
But Booth also urged the city to make sure the area will have enough parking, and to ensure that the Montrose/George Ferguson Way intersection functions safely.
The development shouldn’t put further stress on the parking supply in the area, Darren Braun, the city’s director of development planning, told council.
Braun said that when Montrose and Pine Street, to the east, are both taken into account, the area will experience an increase in available parking spaces. As Montrose is extended further, it will also include street parking.
“If you take the two, there’s a huge increase in on-street parking in the neighbourhood,” Braun said.
Each new unit of housing will also have its own parking, and the development permit for the first stage of building doesn’t ask for any parking variances, Braun said.
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