Thoughts on the 1047 Richmond RD redevelopment proposal
I participated in the recently completed Cleary-New Orchard Secondary Plan consultation process over the course of approximately 5 years. This study represented a significant commitment of time and effort on my part. During that period, the Woodpark community and the Woodpark Community Association consistently advocated for development on this site to be within the 10 to 15 storey range. This would represent a significant increase in the adjoining neighbourhood density of 2-storey housing. However, the City Planners assured us that they had to listen to "other voices" who did not openly participate in this study consultation and that as a result the appropriate limit should therefore be 20 storeys. In the intervening time, this new increased limit has received grudging acceptance by our community.
This proposed development is totally out of scale with our community and existing developments. For such developments, I am informed that every extra storey represents virtually free profit. So the intention may be to simply have a ridiculously high bargaining position so that we arrive at a bogus compromise substantially above the current 20 storey limit. Our position is that 20 storeys was already too high but at least it was somewhat acceptable given the Secondary Plan.
The recently completed Azure development just down the street from this development at 929 Richmond is 20 storeys and was increased from the its original 12 storeys. To my mind it is unfair to this developer to have a new project virtually next door that so completely upstages that development before the developer can even find tenants for his project.
The applied-for parking allowance of 0.5 per unit is completely inadequate for this location. It is posited that the new LRT Station will reduce the need for parking. That may be true for urban downtown developments, however, none of our neighbourhood housing regardless of type has less than 1 parking space per unit and most have much more. Even the affordable housing development at Lawn and Edgeworth adjacent to the Lincoln Fields Transit Station and mall has 1 parking space per unit. These residents struggle to keep their surplus automobiles parked on our adjoining streets. It is a struggle to keep our streets clear enough so that our streets can be properly ploughed in winter. This is a particular point of reference since the transit commute time for these residents was approximately 10 minutes along the "old" transitway. The new LRT system will struggle to achieve that level of service for our
community. The new LRT Station will not reduce the need for residents to own cars. Our area is not a downtown neighbourhood with downtown amenities and transportation options. People need their cars for shopping and weekend excursions and will not surrender them simply because they may get downtown a few minutes faster.
Providing parking is expensive. This developer is seeking to maximize his profits by providing insufficient parking for his residents. This is a standard tragedy of the commons problem. Let others bear those costs and consequences while you reap the profit. By supplying insufficient parking this development will exacerbate existing parking problems for our community.
Woodpark is ill equipped to handle more parking. It has narrow cottage-style roads with ditches and no sidewalks. People are required to walk on the road. The narrowness of our streets means that parked cars are a serious obstruction to the safety and navigability. Snow clearing can be a challenge and several of our streets have seasonal parking bans. In addition the densification currently underway in our community is resulting in new and larger driveways which have further limited safe parking options on our streets. The new New Orchard LRT Station adjacent to this development is expected to further add to this parking enforcement problem. Woodpark has been working hard to manage this. It is unjust to allow this developer to further burden our community with a deluge of orphan cars.
Larry Ladell Past President Chair of the Events and Outreach Committee Woodpark CA