North End Neighbourhood Association (NENa) Update
Next Meeting: June 2, 7pm on Zoom
By Kathy Renwald
The May meeting of the North End Neighbourhood Association was short on news. Maybe it’s pandemic isolation that kept things low key and without drama.
It was reported that the recent LPAT (Local Planning Appeal Tribunal ) decision to approve a nine-story building at the corner of James and Burlington has prompted a request for review. This is distinct from an appeal.
Herman Turkstra and Harbour West Neighbours, who opposed the development at LPAT are preparing a 37 page request that challenges the findings made by LPAT.
Building heights are an issue city wide. Recently a very cohesive and forceful presentation was made by residents of the Ward 1 Strathcona Neighbourhood in opposition to a hotel being built at King and Queen Streets. Mid project a request was made by developer Vrancor to add two stories to the 10-story building. Calling the tactic bait and switch, the group presentation at the Planning Committee, and dozens of supporting emails, failed to garner support of the majority of committee members. Ward 1 councillor Maureen Wilson did support the Strathcona residents, calling the development’s design “disposable”, particularly in light of its proximity to the majestic Scottish Rite building.
The issue of building heights and density is a hot potato. Arguments are emotional. But some are in favour of density. One can’t forget that there are many people looking for housing. As one young resident of the North End remarked at a public meeting regarding a multi-story residential building, “We need a place to live too.”
Another discussion at the May Nena meeting was the solicitation to join a group called Next Door. The “get to know your neighbours” app was developed in San Francisco but is reaching into neighbourhoods across North America. Some at the Nena meeting were suspicious of the intent behind Next Door, but others thought it was just another tool to get more residents involved in the North End. It was decided that Nena would use Next Door to advertise their meetings.
On the day I am writing this, the federal and provincial governments have announced they are funding the LRT line from Eastgate Square to McMaster University. In no uncertain terms the feds say the money, 3.4 billion, is for LRT only. Expect to see many dramatic debates at city council over the next months, talk will centre on operating costs that must be paid by the city. It’s interesting to remember that in the many years of hand wringing over LRT, there once was a proposal for a spur line to run the length of James Street North.
Residents on a walkabout of the harbourfront may notice new structures being assembled near the Haida. This looks to be one of the many features of Promenade Park, a stage structure that will face toward the flour mill near the foot of Ferguson Avenue. This feature was in the winning design developed by Forrec for the park they named Hammer City. Whatever you call it, this big waterfront park is supposed to be open in July according to the Waterfront Development Office.
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