Coun­cil­lor’s de­mand for gates on An­caster de­vel­op­ment sparks out­rage

Change would ‘dras­ti­cally in­crease’ com­mon ex­penses

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - With files from Kevin Werner, Hamil­ton Com­mu­nity News mvan­don­gen@thes­pec.com 905-526-3241 | @Mat­tatthes­pec MATTHEW VAN DON­GEN

A city coun­cil­lor’s in­sis­tence on adding “pri­vacy” gates to a new An­caster condo de­vel­op­ment has spurred an­gry blow­back from many of the res­i­dents about to move in.

The Losani Homes de­vel­op­ment just off Garner Road is al­ready un­der con­struc­tion with some res­i­dents hav­ing al­ready pur­chased units.

More than a dozen of those res­i­dents and oth­ers in the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity sent let­ters and showed up at Wed­nes­day’s coun­cil meet­ing to protest a pro­posed city re­quire­ment to in­stall gates to the part of the de­vel­op­ment on a pri­vate road.

“I re­ally don’t un­der­stand why the city would want to seg­re­gate this area,” wrote Kit Ward, who has pur­chased a home in the de­vel­op­ment.

Ward told coun­cil­lors she’s wor­ried the cost of the gates will add to her fees. “Adding a gate would not make it a com­mu­nity, it would sep­a­rate us … I want to be part of the neigh­bour­hood.”

The late in­sis­tence on gates for the de­vel­op­ment came from An­caster Coun. Lloyd Fer­gu­son, who couldn’t at­tend Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing.

Fer­gu­son earned plan­ning com­mit­tee ap­proval ear­lier this month for the con­tentious idea. At that meet­ing, he ar­gued the condo own­ers on the pri­vate road de­served a guar­an­tee of pri­vacy since they pay condo fees and won’t re­ceive city ser­vices like snow re­moval.

“We’ve got to make this right for the peo­ple who are com­ing in there who will have to pay condo fees while their neigh­bours are not.”

On Wed­nes­day, Coun. Matthew Green called the idea “ap­palling,” ar­gu­ing Hamil­ton isn’t a place for “eco­nomic gated com­mu­ni­ties.”

Fer­gu­son had asked that Wed­nes­day’s coun­cil dis­cus­sion be de­layed un­til af­ter he holds a com­mu­nity meet­ing to hear res­i­dents’ con­cerns.

Coun­cil voted 8-6 to re­visit the is­sue af­ter Fer­gu­son’s meet­ing.

More than 22 nearby and would-be res­i­dents have writ­ten to com­plain about the chang­ing rules for the condo de­vel­op­ment, which had its site plan largely ap­proved last fall.

The prop­erty man­ager, Shabri Prop­er­ties, also ob­jected to the plan. The com­pany wrote coun­cil ar­gu­ing the change would “dras­ti­cally in­crease” some res­i­dents’ com­mon ex­penses and pos­si­bly cause emer­gency ac­cess is­sues.

Plan­ning direc­tor Steve Ro­bichaud said the pro­posed change came as a re­sult of a re­quest from Fer­gu­son af­ter his dis­cus­sions with the de­vel­oper.

Ro­bichaud said many de­vel­op­ments on pri­vate roads do not have gates, but a few have con­trolled ac­cess or “gate­way fea­tures,” em­pha­siz­ing there is no pub­lic ac­cess.

City plan­ners typ­i­cally do not weigh in on the is­sue, he said. “There is noth­ing in our plan­ning poli­cies or guide­lines that would say they can­not do it.”

Adding a gate would not make it a com­mu­nity. KIT WARD HOME­OWNER

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