It looks like taller buildings will be going up at a development planned for the old Hiawatha RV Park.
City council approved changes, requested by developer Westcorp, to go from 11-storeys to 17 for two buildings, and to 14-storeys for a third. The buildings will also be moved back from Lakeshore Road according to city staff. The 1,000-unit residential, rental development will not allow short-term or Air BnB uses, according to Gail Temple, a representative for Westcorp. The proposal also includes a daycare centre that will be open to residents and the general public. Temple also addressed concerns about what may happen when the 10-year rental agreement for the development with the city expires.
“The development and management of large rental communities are Westcorp’s core business model and has been for over 40 years,” she said.
Temple added if someone wanted to turn the rentals into strata units after the agreement lapses, that would prove difficult and would still need approval from the council of the day.
Several area residents at Tuesday’s public hearing on the development raised concerns over lost views, visual pollution, too much density, parking and traffic congestion, and impacts on the environment and wildlife. Because of the added storeys, two fewer buildings will go up and more green space will be added, including a linear park.
“For me, it’s about how to use the space effectively,” said Councillor Luke Stack. “The larger community is going to benefit from the linear green park that’s being improved along Wilson’s Creek, but this new community is going to benefit from a better design.”
In speaking against the changes, Councillor Charlie Hodge said he still had an issue with the increased height of buildings and the impact of 1,000 or more people in the area in the way of traffic.
“I could have handled 11, not 17,” said Hodge. “I just don’t think it’s appropriate there. I admit in some ways that it’s a better design, but not if you live in the area.”
Hodge was the only councillor to vote against the changes.