by Rhonda Massad
In a startling contrast to the active participation of residents when recent zoning changes have been proposed in the city of Beaconsfield, not more than 30 residents were present at the June 7, Land Use Development town hall meeting. A presentation by Beaconsfield city councilman Wade Staddon explained the results and suggestions put forth by a committee of 10 residents that was formed from a call out to citizens late last year to glean insight into the future development of the city.
One of the suggestions made was to implement a pre-consultation process between developers and neighbouring residents for proposed zoning changes. According to Staddon, the hope was to bypass the process where residents are only involved in the process once the zoning change is requested, making for ill feelings for residents and as of the case with the former ESSO location on Beaurepaire, a register by citizens blocking the change entirely.
Further suggestions were made regarding residential densification which would include allowing granny flats, duplexes, multifamily or clustered housing. The committee favoured smaller footprints through multi-unit developments with increased building heights in order to increase green space on properties.
Traditionally contentious locations were brought up, such as the vacant lot behind the Sunrise seniors residence on Elm, Angell Woods and Elm Plaza. It was suggested that the empty lot behind Sunrise be left as is until such time that the traffic issues at Woodland were corrected. A similar suggestion was true for the Angell Woods location, where 80% of the wooded area has been designated for preservation by the City of Montreal while the remaining 20% along Elm, is to be considered for development. Montreal did not consider this portion of ecological value but chose to leave it open for development. Elm Plaza is favoured for mixed use with a maximum of three stories with the building placed closer to Elm Ave. It is hoped that this location would be promoted in the spirit of a village atmosphere through designated public spaces.
The Lord Reading Yacht Club was considered by the committee to be a valued waterfront location that should be returned to the city and it’s residents and joined together with Centennial Park giving residents access to more waterfront. It was also recommended that the ability to dock boats remain in place.
The committee’s official proposal will be presented to council at the June 20, public meeting, at which point the report will be available online on the City’s website.