ODC residential development moves ahead, despite residents objections

This is an update from Anna-Marie Larsen and neighbours around the ODC property (corner of Moore & Roger Street).

City staff’s concept for this land.

Thanks to each of you for contributing ideas, for writing letters, and for showing up when it counted.

Most of all, thanks for demonstrating how much you care about our neighbourhood.

On Monday June 18, Waterloo City Council voted unanimously to place a medium density housing development on the two hectare parcel of land bounded by Mount Hope Cemetery, Roger St, and Moore Ave. 

ODC is allowed to build two apartment buildings at the south-west corner of the property, and they’ll be allowed to add stacked townhomes to its’ remainder, as shown in the recommended development concept here.

ODC is also required to allocate not one but two small parcels of land for parks. An obvious question might be why not amalgamate these parcels to create a single, larger park space? (updated June 27) According to Mayor Jaworsky, “Last year, the community lamented the potential loss of the art deco entrance to Ontario Die Co.  Generations of locals have seen this facade. So the development created a heritage feature that was welcomed by the City’s Heritage Committee. Neighbourhood parks aren’t typically located at intersections, for obvious reasons.  But the heritage feature is at the intersection. Technically the corner piece is a ‘Community Benefit’ (owned/maintained by the Property owner) while the other land is a ‘Park’ (owned/maintained by the City, and citizens of the neighbourhood).”

Placement of a parkette at the northwest corner of Roger St will reduce the number of townhomes on this street by two. Additionally, ODC must be more generous with their set-backs, bringing them nearer to those of existing single family homes.

When actual construction starts is yet to be determined. We understand there is an anticipated schedule of two years more of planning and site preparation followed by three years of building, but it should be emphasized that this is unconfirmed. 

Having direct representation of citizen’s voices in the process of planning seems a new aspect of development in Waterloo; we understand our group is the first of this type included in development planning. While we champion the principle, in practice the process should be developed to include robust mediation and protocols that ensure neighbour-groups are afforded the same opportunity for communication and representation with key city staff and politicians that developers enjoy. 

So many of you wrote to outline your fears and dreams for this parcel of land and our neighbourhood. These messages offered fuel in the form of support and fresh ideas, all deeply appreciated by the members of the working group organized in opposition to ODC’s original plan. 

With thanks, your working group, 

Kevin Reid                      Kim Weiler

Carl Simpson                 Charlotte Clarke

Dawn Parker                   Blake Larson

Anna-Marie Larsen

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