Shock, fury over expropriation plan
Proposed extension of Sterling Lyon Parkway outrages south Charleswood residents
ACONSULTING firm is being blamed for alarming south Charleswood residents that their homes had been targeted for expropriation and demolition to make way for a massive extension of the Sterling Lyon Parkway.
The residents said they were caught by surprise when informed earlier this month about the proposed east-west corridor, as it was a route that had never been disclosed by the city or proposed as a possible option.
Resident David Ames said the public should be concerned about the tactics employed by city staff and the consulting firm.
“The story is not that there are expensive homes that were going to be expropriated and demolished, it’s that this was done without consulting the community and (without) oversight,” said Ames, who is now president of the recently formed residents group, the South Wilkes Community Association.
“What they’ve been doing in secrecy is disgusting,” he said.
City staff along with MMM/WSP Global, held stakeholder meetings and public information sessions in early 2015. Three options were presented to residents at an open house in January 2016: widening Wilkes Avenue from Shaftesbury Boulevard eastward, and two more southerly routes that involved an extension of Sterling Lyon Parkway as the east-west corridor.
The south Charleswood residents overwhelmingly endorsed the Wilkes route and then forgot about the issue.
Staff in the public works department and MMM/WSP Global went to work on the final design for the east-west corridor. Instead of finalizing details for the Wilkes option, or either of the two other options, they developed a fourth route — a southwest extension of Sterling Lyon that cuts a wide swath through several rural-like residential areas. It affects 96 homes along McCreary, Loudon and Liberty streets, Charleswood Road and a number of other streets, which would have to be partially or completely taken for the project and connected at an intersection with the extended Clement Parkway, which would be moved further south, according to this design.
Ames said residents were called to four meetings at the beginning of this month with Scott Suderman, a transportation facilities planning engineer in the public works department, and staff from MMM/WSP Global, who informed them about the new route. Ames said it was presented as the only choice. They were told it would be presented to council for approval in January or February and that construction would begin as early as 2021.
The early October meetings included staff from the city’s real estate office, Ames said, who told the residents they could agree to sell their properties to city hall or wait to have their homes expropriated.
“People were shocked and furious,” Ames said. “They were going to lose their homes. This was a done deal. Suderman and MMM/WSP Global said this is their recommendation to council and they’re not looking at any other option and haven’t looked at any other option for a long time.”
Ames said the value of the affected properties immediately dropped 40 to 60 per cent.
Court was told Paul didn’t mean to kill Uta, and the manslaughter charge was never upgraded to second-degree murder. His mother told police Paul had told her he purposely didn’t stab Uta in the upper chest because he didn’t want him to die. He was on bail at the time and had a court order banning him from carrying weapons, but Paul later told his probation officer he had the knife for his own protection and only wanted the victim’s phone.
Defence lawyer Ian McNaught told the judge Paul had been diagnosed with alcoholrelated neurodevelopmental disorder, a condition on the fetal-alcohol spectrum, and was known to act impulsively. His substance abuse over the years created a “Jekyll-and-Hyde scenario where the person who’s on drugs is very different than the sober individual who we ultimately or usually see before the court. As I say, I don’t think this violence is Mr. Paul’s default position,” McNaught said.
The Crown had asked for 16 years, with a concurrent threeyear sentence for the earlier aggravated assault on Uta. With credit for time he’s already served, Paul has 12 years and nine months left behind bars.