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Brock & Elgin highrise approved at double height/density

Final vote May 24, 7pm, Council Chambers

How the Brock & Elgin block will look after the Molinaro tower (circled) is built.
How the Brock & Elgin block will look after the Molinaro tower (circled) is built.

A 14-storey highrise at the corner of Brock and Elgin streets that is double the height and density permitted in the Official Plan has been approved, over the objections of dozens of residents, by a 6-1 vote (I was the dissenting vote). The approval comes to a final vote at council May 24.

Dozens of residents objected at three public meetings held on this project. Further, the owner of the adjacent property at Brock and Elgin opposed the project saying the scale will orphan his property for reasonable development.

Adding this apartment on this site will create a create a forest of highrises with nary a blade of grass in site. The picture to the right says it all – and it doesn’t even include the remaining parcels which could be similarly developed.

There are already four apartments on this site at that height – surrounded by nothing but asphalt. It’s likely that the remaining single detached homes on this block will be torn down for more highrises, in addition to the Molinaro one. The question must be asked: is seven highrises on a small city block good planning? What about private greenspace for these residents to enjoy?

To add insult to injury, this project will be registered as a condo, but only offered as rental suites – a significant tax dodge since condos pay less property taxes than rental units.

My take: This is another example of a missed opportunity for balanced intensification in the downtown, one that respects the vision for growth articulated in the Official Plan. It is overintensification that ignores community input, creates a forest of highrises on a single block and provides no private greenspace for the residents who will move in. A seven storey building would have achieved intensification goals – this goes well beyond what is necessary here.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

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