'It’s gone for them': Cambridge resident opposed to development that will triple residents on quiet street

·4 min read

Coun. Scott Hamilton contends there are three consistencies in life: death, taxes and change.It’s the latter that Claude Chalifour has an issue with.After two virtual community consultation meetings concerning a 36-unit development at 15 Clover Ave. in southeast Galt, which would require a rezoning of the property from a single-family dwelling, Chalifour isn’t swayed that three dozen new units are the best fit for the short, dead-end street.The Copperfield Drive resident, who has a bird’s eye view of the property from her home, thinks dropping the development on a street that currently holds less than 10 homes would be cataclysmic to their lifestyle.The development, which started as 52 units, but was then paired down to 44 stacked units before the current proposal of 36 – with one block of homes at street frontage and the remaining two blocks as stacked units – will only exit onto Clover Avenue, possibly tripling its daily traffic amounts.“We picked (this area) to be in peace. We picked the countryside. It’s quiet here, the neighbours are nice; it’s very laid back. If you put (36) units in the backyard of those poor people, it’s gone for them,” Chalifour said.The development will also affect residents on surrounding streets, she said, as a pond and trees sitting between the end of Clover Avenue and Copperfield Drive is a home for animals, including deer and fox. She fears they’ll be displaced once houses are built on the 1.3-acre lot.The house currently at 15 Clover Ave. will be razed.“Everyone in the immediate area of this proposed development have opposed this plan. We will do everything in our power to discourage this nonsense,” Chalifour said, adding she’s talked to residents on the street and claims they’ve lost sleep over the proposed development.“It’s our area, where we’ve lived here forever, so why would the city want to upset their own citizens instead of saying to the guy, ‘you know what, you can build single houses, but not stack houses.’ We know the end of all this is money.”Hamilton said he understands residents' concerns and has been diligent with the developer to make adjustments to appease neighbours.“I’ve had calls with the developer and I just keep saying, ‘You’ve got to make it fit.’ This isn’t just an empty cornfield in the middle of nowhere where you can drop in whatever you want. This is a very special place, you have to make the developments fit.”While he’s been directing the developer to work with residents, he’s also cautioning residents they have to be realistic with their demands. He said while he has encountered people who want something sensitive to the area, there are also some residents that are opposed to any development.With ward 7 booming with development right now, the Clover Avenue developer, in the end, will have something constructed on the property.“Right now, you have the opportunity to really make your voice heard and your opinions heard and to help shape, if something goes in there, what it looks like,” Hamilton said.“So, take advantage of that opportunity and try and work with them rather than against them because that can actually be counterproductive in the long run.”Chalifour said an easy way for the city to soothe residents is to deny any rezoning and force the developer to make use of the land with a single-family dwelling. That, she said, would also likely save a majority of the 80 trees slated to be lost with the development.Hamilton doesn’t think the developer will have opposition to a rezoning with the right project plan.“It’s a delicate dance,” he said.“The way the city’s growing and where we are, the change is going to happen, so help make it your change.”Story behind the story: After a resident reached out to the newsroom, we wanted to find out what neighbours think when a new development on a short street will more than triple the number of residents.

Bill Doucet, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times