Bayside debate

·3 min read

Following a lengthy debate, Strathmore town council has concluded to overturn the proposed new development on 9 Bayside Place in a vote of 4-3 against.

The discussion was centred around a three-storey townhouse complex which, if approved, would have been allowed to occupy a currently vacant lot accessible via Bayside Place and Centennial Drive.

Formerly, this site was home to a seed cleaning plant which was decommissioned in 2019, then subsequently demolished in 2020. The current land use of the site is classified under M2 general industrial district, which is Strathmore’s heaviest industrial land use district.

The new complex was proposed to consist of 60 townhouse units to help provide affordable properties in town.

Initially, development plans were brought to council by Live Well Communities Inc and NewRock Developments.

Town of Strathmore Manager of Development Services, Chuck Procter said he believes the addition of townhouses would help alleviate the need in town for affordable housing, as well as the current shortage of units for rent.

“This property is suitable (and) appropriate for medium-density development … two very similar medium-density projects have been developed directly north (of) the site,” he said. “One of the good things that my department recognizes is that this site is close to existing roadways, existing services, pathways, the hospital, the civic amenities on Brent Boulevard, it is within walking distance from downtown; it is a really good location for housing in my opinion.”

Though Strathmore is in need of more housing options, the proposal was met with opposition from community members who neighbour the lot. Council received concerns including but not limited to:

• increased noise;

• privacy concerns related to the proposed height of the building, being three stories instead of the originally proposed two;

• increased traffic, congestion and lack of available parking.

Procter added he believes the addition of townhouses to the site would meet the town’s goal set out in their strategic plan to increase affordable living within the community.

Mayor Pat Fule said though he is in favour of creating more housing and affordable housing options in Strathmore, he would not support the proposal to amend the land use bylaw based on the potential problems it would create for current residents surrounding the site.

“I just don’t feel this development, with its density, traffic flow into Bayside Place, and the height of the buildings in an established area of housing, warrants me voting in favor of amending this bylaw,” he said. “We need achievable housing, but this design on this site is something I can’t support.”

Councillor Denise Peterson, who supported the bylaw amendment, said she believes the advents of having increased housing in town outweigh the negatives of increased traffic.

“We sit today with absolutely zero affordable places for people to live in this community, we have none,” she said. “We have an imminent population of 1500 looking to come here, and where are we going to put them?”

Though council remains split on the issue, generally they have agreed Strathmore is in need of additional housing units. Fule, as well as several other councillors noted they are still open to the idea of townhouses on 9 Bayside Place, should modifications to the proposal be acceptable.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times