Thursday, February 18, 2016

Charleswood Seniors Multi-Unit Housing Denied

Once again the plans for a seniors residence on church owned land has been shot down. This time it is by the city planning department whose rejection only seems to inspire confusion.

Not every development project has to be approved. However, every development needs a clear consistent policy set out by the city. In some cases some vocal proponents and opponents will make it very difficult to come to a decision that doesn't make someone want to duck and cover.

I originally looked at the project when it was proposed and thought it satisfied a need in the community and wasn't overly burdensome to the homes and streets surrounding.  The zoning meeting proved that there was a lot of controversy. Some of it came from those that didn't want to change the character of Charleswood.

It is a rather nebulous argument sometimes because it feels like someone closing the door after they themselves are inside.

The future needs of Charleswood are hard to deny. Many senior residents will find it hard to buy or even rent a place in the area if they sell their homes. It is true that that there are some personal care home homes, rental apartments and condos in the community but many are situated many blocks from where residents live now. Often, there are no places that are between house and personal care home.

The land behind the Charleswood United Church seems appropriate for seniors housing. It hardly looks like a location for massive amounts of traffic. At the moment, it seems that the winning idea for that land is do nothing.

In River Heights there was a fight over the railway land running north and south called Oakbank Line. The neighbourhood since the 1980s fought every single use of the land including the innocuous bike path. Today it is condos stretched all the way down the line. Residents must wonder now if the bike path was such a bad idea afterall.

At some point there will be something done with the land in Charlewood. Perhaps later on people will think a seniors residence on the site was a lost opportunity.


Anonymous said...

You mention the rail line in River Heights and I was not aware residents were opposed to bike trail along that rail corridor.

It has always made me a bit mad each time I drive by the reclaimed rail corridor along Gateway Road (Northeast Pioneers Greenway near Superstore, Palliser etc). They took that old rail line, ripped it out and put down an asphalt path that I always see cyclists, joggers, parents with strollers... promotes healthy activity in the community and beats the hell out of some condos shoe-horned into a rail corridor.

I always blamed Garth Steek for letting that land go to developers instead of another corridor for walking, biking, jogging like Gateway Road has.

You sound like you might know how we ended up with condos in River Heights instead of our Greenway opportunity. It would be great to see you write a full article on that topic alone someday if you feel so inspired!

Keep up the good work!

John Dobbin said...

It goes even further back to Sandy Hyman when CN was looking to end that line. Opposition was ferocious including from social activists normally associated with the left who believed that a bike path would be used by criminals to access yards along the line.

Succeeding city councillors faced losing their elected position in suggesting anything other than doing nothing. Eventually, the present city councillor was out voted by the community committee.

The solution of doing nothing was eventually overruled by outside city councillors. The bike path would have been easier along.