Well, where to begin… with the April 9th meeting of the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee at Kitchener Council Chambers, I guess. That’s where it all went down.
The Committee approved a 12- storey office building with 5-storey parking garage on the one-hectare parcel of land on Breithaupt/Moore/Wellington. The development will be led by Perimeter Development Corp. Despite six resident delegations opposed to the height of the project (6om) Councillors approved the decision in a 6-4 vote. Our ward Councillor, Sarah Marsh, declared a conflict of interest because she lives within 120m of the development and she was advised to recuse herself.
The questions from Councillors were directed to the resident delegations – Geanna, Karen, Mark, Catherine, Dawn & Robert – as well as to City staff and Craig Beattie of Perimeter Development. Residents did not feel the proposal meets the criteria for being compatible so closely to a residential neighbourhood.
Here are two articles recapping the events that stretched out until 11:15pm:
The Record: Kitchener OK’s office project despite residents’ pleas, city’s own plan by Catherine Thompson
Frank Etherington Blog: Breithaupt proposal ignores city’s own plan and neighbourhood policy
*NOTE* This decision gets final approval at the City Council meeting, Monday April 16 @ 7:00pm. It’s buried in Item #7 – Reports of Committees – where they essentially vote to approve all the committee reports of the past month.
So, here’s what’s happening next and what you can do (it’s a rainy weekend, so why not do some local politics!):
- Please plan to attend on Monday April 16 @ 7:00pm! Bring your neighbours!
- If you know people who live in other near-downtown neighbourhoods (Central Frederick, Victoria Park, Cherry Park, Old Berlin Town), invite them too. This is a precedent setting decision and it could effect neighbourhoods facing similar development proposals.
- Send this blog post to your neighbours
- Register as a delegation to share your opinions (note: this meeting will be televised). A few delegations have already registered, but there is no cap on the number of delegations
- Email or call the Mayor and all the Councillors to share your opinions and feedback on the development decision (support or opposition)
- Attend the Second Saturday Potluck (Saturday April 14; Dinner @ 4:30/5pm; Discussion @ 6pm) for further discussion in advance of the Monday evening meeting. We meet in the portable behind Sacred Heart School, Moore Ave
Still have questions? Or ideas? Contact Catherine Owens or write your thoughts in the comment section below.
In conclusion, this process has been a huge learning curve and an eye-opening experience for many. With more development coming around the edges and within the neighbourhood, we are likely to face these same issues in the very near future. Let’s keep working together.