We believe that’s the line our council should pursue when deciding whether to approve new condominium developments. We say the condo development – officially named Royal Oaks Condominiums – between Hanworth and Waltham Cross is the perfect example of taking a road that would work out for a developer or, worse, short-change local residents in favour of developers that can pay higher land rates, tack on luxury suites and more.
The 68 condo units are only part of the development. A five-storey office tower is planned with garage and courtyard parking lots, a small shopping centre at Hanworth Road and Waltham Road with full-service car wash, gas station and pharmacy, a shared green space with a skate park, a proposed pedestrian underpass across Waltham Road to connect with Hanworth Road, and more retail units on Hanworth Road.
Readers feel the community would be better served by less density
The council should require these projects, if successful, to contribute a set percentage of surplus sales of the land to the community, not in cash, but by the number of units it will have on site, or by restricting future growth. If this were done, there would be a supply of land to be divvied up for commercial development down the road, and we might see the opportunity to encourage more businesses to move into the area.
To use $6.6-million of our money now would be short-sighted. This money, plus the funding for future construction of a proper sewer line, should be set aside to generate savings for the future to finance a park or other public amenities that would mitigate the area’s impact on pedestrians, cyclists and hydro grid and also facilitate a zero-energy work force that would benefit this area.
The move away from local housing stock is inevitable. Local residents will have to subsidize a portion of the many condo units we will never see. Let’s not lose sight of what’s important. The existing housing stock is deteriorating fast and our community is losing out. This isn’t a subject the city cares much about. It should get a listing.
Nancy Schmitt: residents’ projects must benefit the whole area, and not just be a win for one developer. Rather than just new residences, the same money should be used for infrastructure upgrades to ensure these developments and residents create a stronger community.
Michael Tobin: The city can benefit financially by setting aside profits from sales of the land to meet costs for its services. A recent UC Irvine study cited by the city says that land value appreciation should pay for services and infrastructure, not the other way around. As long as services aren’t outsourced to outsiders and rents don’t skyrocket, residents are subsidizing the condos. (And, residents need to pay the city for maintenance.)
Karen Knight: It’s the city’s responsibility to think long-term about the impact of the development, and to work through the costs associated with mitigating such impacts.
Pat Conhead: The problem isn’t that we have condos. The problem is that we don’t have affordable homes. The city should focus on fixing the demand side of the equation: providing better schools, affordable housing, transit and shops. Affordable condos will all get built eventually, no more.
-The Fix column appeared over five days in October