Residents congregated in Council Chambers during Monday evening’s meeting to voice their concerns in regards to the proposal of a 12-storey luxury complex to be built on the vacant land at Gladstone Ave and McDonald Ave.
This complex, which will be geared to the demographic of an aging population, is slated to have 90-units as well as some common areas, such as an exercise room and community kitchen. Raised gardens and covered parking areas are also in the design, keeping seniors in mind.
Developer Joe Ruscio said he hopes to create a community vibe, allowing for more socialization for seniors.
Neighbours to the current empty lot that has been a snow-removal site for the last 30 years voiced concerns – such as ambience, aesthetic, vibration damage to their aging homes, traffic increases, sightlines and overall lack of blending in with the older houses in the neighbourhood – and offered solutions, such as choosing a different site for the complex or, at least, having council defer the decision to allow residents more time to communicate with the developers, who held an open house in March with a turnout of 13 people.
“This is one of the more conflicting issues I’ve had to deal with as a Ward Councillor,” Coun. Dufour said, talking about the need to “balance the concerns of his constituents with the need for the growth and opportunities of the city.”
Councillors Gardi and Scott also expressed their difficulty with this issue, thanking everyone on all sides for coming out to the meeting.
“We are a community,” Coun. Hollingsworth said before the vote, also thanking everyone in attendance.
“We all care about where this community is going and we all have a good heart.”
Despite the plethora of concerns, and after a lengthy conversation between council members, city staff, developers and the opposing residents to gain some clarity on those concerns as well as concerns about the land being viable to build on (which has been determined yes, providing they build up and not out), City Council voted in favour (with Coun. and Acting Mayor Vezeau-Allen – Provenzano sat out due to conflict of interest – in opposition) to go ahead with the project, which currently doesn’t have a start date.