City should sup­port Leland pro­ject

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

RE: Hamil­ton coun­cil fight­ing stu­dent res­i­dence (July 7)

Why has city coun­cil voted against the de­vel­op­ment of a five-storey, 124-unit apart­ment build­ing pro­posed for 71-77 Leland? Why are they wast­ing money hir­ing a plan­ning group to help them ar­gue against the de­vel­op­ment at an On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board hear­ing? The prop­erty has had no oc­cu­pants for sev­eral years and at­tracts garbage, drugs and about 60 cars per day for free park­ing. City staff and the Ainslie Wood/West­dale Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion are in favour of the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment. The present zon­ing laws al­ready al­low for a five­storey build­ing, but not the 124 units.

A well-su­per­vised apart­ment build­ing with small units would pro­vide ad­di­tional ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions for stu­dents, and would at­tract non-stu­dents such as univer­sity staff and vis­it­ing aca­demics. Be­cause the prop­erty is so close to McMaster Univer­sity, most res­i­dents would not re­quire cars, and 50 park­ing spots would be more than ad­e­quate.

If the OMB up­holds the de­ci­sion, ev­ery­body loses. The prop­erty could con­tinue to be a brown­field for sev­eral more years, or Creek Vil­lage Inc. could de­cide to build ac­cord­ing to the present zon­ing laws.

Large multi-room units would be sim­i­lar to stu­dent houses. The den­sity, as mea­sured in peo­ple rather than units, would be sim­i­lar to the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment. The apart­ment build­ing would be dif­fi­cult to man­age and renters would have fewer op­tions. Let us hope that the OMB will vote in favour of the de­vel­op­ers. Jean Wes­sel, Hamil­ton

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