Public comments about a proposed townhouse development on Boynton Place prompted Acting Mayor Charlie Hodge to make a few comments of his own.
At Tuesday night’s (Aug. 23) meeting, council was reviewing an application by Meridian Developments for a three-building, four-storey project at 630 Boynton.
Several people made comments deriding the developer, with one individual calling it a “greaseball sales pitch.”
“I was really taken back by the character assassination and attacks that were made by some people in the public, that is wrong,” said Hodge. “I felt awkward because as the acting mayor tonight my role is to maintain and allow the public to speak. But I sure wouldn’t want you to speak to me like that to my face if I wasn’t in council chambers because I’d probably have a different view on things.”
Other speakers also heavily criticized council and city staff for even considering the project. Many were unhappy with the size of the project that will be built up against Knox Mountain.
“They’re trying to build three H2O centres stacked two-high in close proximity,” said Murray Porubanec, who lives on Boynton. “I don’t care how many windows and balconies you put on it, it’s going to look like the Titanic crashed into the side of Knox Mountain.”
Meridian pulled its application in July to make changes to the project after concerns were voiced by residents.
“We spent countless hours meeting and talking with residents, going above and beyond what is required for a zoning variance,” said Carl Miller, CEO Meridian. “We were happy to do so because we want to be a good neighbour.”
Resident Wesley Shields pointed out to council that even city staff gave the design and look of the project “a C+ rating.”
“If that’s the best we can do in terms of this project for the most beautiful city in Canada we’ve got a problem with that,” he said.
Shields encouraged council to look through again what staff put forward. Other concerns were access to Knox Mountain trails, green space, on-street parking, and increased traffic.
Several people spoke in favour of the development noting a need for affordable housing in the city.
Council voted 6-2 in favour of the project, with Hodge and Coun. Brad Sieben against. Mayor Colin Basran excused himself from the discussion and vote as he lives next door to the proposed development.
“We’ve heard from some angry, upset people who have a right to be upset, it’s their property,” said Hodge. “I hope in the future that they think a little bit before they speak…because we all have the right to be treated with respect.”