By Rhonda Massad
On December 13, there will be a registry in Beaconsfield, to let the people of the zones surrounding the for Club West Island location on Alton Drive decide whether they want a four-story structure to take the Club’s place.
For months the debate has brought to light issues such as traffic, aesthetics, height, proximity to public transit and green space with the only hope of resolution lying in the hands of democracy. The voice of the near by residents will vote for or against the zoning change.
According to Lorne Smith, who has been a consistent advocate for the keeping things as they are, four-stories have never existed in Beaconsfield before and stated at the last public meeting that it would set an unwelcomed precedent for the rest of the city should the request by K. F. Construction be accepted.
Beaconsfield resident and Urban Planning Committee member, Sam Watts, understands the concerns of those who are against the project but shared some concerns of his own with West Island Blog.
“While I have every respect for those who are concerned about someone looking over them in their backyard, ” Watts stated, “the project with three stories will be the same height as the four-story project, 13 meters. The new version with four-stories will have the top level set back. The proposed project has a higher real estate value than the currently accepted project and will bring up the value of the homes in the surrounding area.”
Watts believes that should the new project be rejected there is no guarantee on the quality of the next project that could be submitted.
“I look at this pragmatically, if you reject it there is a possibility you will get something a lot of worse and you are not going to be able to stop it.”
Councillor for the district Wade Staddon agreed with Watts.
“There is a concern that if the zoning change is not granted, the developer may change to a three-story rental project. The developer is well within its rights to do this – the city has no right to deny such a decision.”
Staddon went on the say that though there is a need in the community for rental units according to the Land Use Development Committee (LUDC), the wish was that the rental units be dispersed throughout the city in smaller numbers rather than in a large development.
“I think a large rental project at the old tennis club location would be a less than optimal solution for the neighbourhood. It would not meet the need for condo units also identified in LUPD consultations, and would almost certainly be a less high-end project,” Staddon said. “As a result, neighbouring property values would not likely see the rise that higher end condos would have brought, and the level of community engagement that comes with a good proportion of home ownership could be weakened.”
Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle preferred not to comment on the subject at this time.