Re­vi­tal­iz­ing town core a chal­lenge

Richmond Hill Post - - News - PH

How to bal­ance her­itage and growth are key to the suc­cess­ful re­de­vel­op­ment of Rich­mond Hill’s vil­lage core. A new plan is un­der­way, and res­i­dents got their first look on Jan. 27. It will be up for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion at a Town of Rich­mond Hill Coun­cil meet­ing Feb. 3.

The town’s down­town lo­cal cen­tre sec­ondary plan cov­ers the area be­tween Leven­dale Road and Harding Boule­vard along Yonge Street.

“The pri­or­ity would be to un­lock some of the inherent po­ten­tial that the down­town has,” said Pa­trick Lee, the town’s di­rec­tor of pol­icy. “In terms of be­ing a place to live, work and play and ob­vi­ously pro­mot­ing some res­i­den­tial and retail in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion would be key in achiev­ing those goals.”

The area in ques­tion in­cludes the his­toric cen­tre of the town.

Mehrdad Sabouhi, chair of the Vil­lage of Rich­mond Hill BIA, is against the idea of a sub­ur­ban vil­lage mod­elled af­ter, for ex­am­ple, Unionville in Markham.

Some build­ings, he said, are nearly 100 years old and are an im­ped­i­ment to at­tract­ing new busi­nesses.

“New de­vel­op­ments are the only way down­town Rich­mond Hill can sur­vive. We do not have [much] foot traf­fic.”

An­other thing Sabouhi is con­cerned about is park­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Lee, the town con­tin­ues to look at park­ing re­duc­tions as part of the new plan. He ac­knowl­edges the town will have to grap­ple with at­tract­ing new de­vel­op­ment while try­ing to pre­serve the vil­lage’s his­tory.

Ward 5 coun­cil­lor Karen Cile­vitz said the town should tar­get mid-rise condo de­vel­op­ments, such as the Re­nais­sance near Yonge Street and Ma­jor Macken­zie Drive.

“I will main­tain the mantra that I say to ev­ery de­vel­oper and for ev­ery coun­cil meet­ing: re­spect our of­fi­cial plan,” said Cile­vitz.

Both Lee and Sabouhi are in favour of mov­ing tra­di­tional prop­erty lines back from Yonge for new build­ings, to give space for restau­rant pa­tios and cos­metic in­stal­la­tions. Yonge is a ma­jor artery, Sabouhi notes, and should look like it. Lee hopes the sec­ondary plan will be passed by coun­cil later this year. —

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.