Mayor takes key role in growth
Developers looking forward to new ideas at City Hall
Some local developers say they look forward to working with Mayor Diane Therrien on projects to grow the city.
Therrien has appointed herself the city’s planning chair, and also took a seat on the planning advisory committee and the working group that is helping to rewrite the Official Plan.
Developer Paul Bennett said that was a “smart” thing for her to have done.
There will be growth in the city over the next four years, Bennett said, and there’s also a homelessness crisis.
Getting people housed is one of the mayor’s tasks to oversee, Bennett said, and he sees it as important for the mayor to take charge in this regard.
“She (Therrien) is smart to do that,” Bennett said. “She’s got to be accountable for those decisions.”
During the campaign, Therrien spoke of how she’s interested in “good development,” meaning apartments and affordable housing in addition to singlefamily houses.
Last week she said it again at the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce Business Summit.
"I believe in building up – not out," she said, meaning she’d like to see apartments on the upper floors of plazas, for example, rather than urban sprawl.
Prior to the election this fall, Therrien said at a debate organized by Peterborough and Kawarthas Association of Realtors (PKAR) and the Home Builders Association at the Lions Centre that single-family houses built out in "the middle of nowhere" are out of style.
"You can't just build out for decades," she said.
Paul Dietrich, the president of Parkview Homes, says he’s on board with the idea of building
The city is “underperforming” when it comes to keeping up with the demand for all types of housing, Dietrich wrote in an email to The Examiner.
He’s planning a couple of apartment complexes – one to replace the Pig’s Ear downtown, for example, and another on vacant land he owns on Lansdowne Street W. just west of Spillsbury Drive – and he says he agrees the city needs houses but also “mid-rise” apartment buildings.
“The local development and home-building industry is in full support of any initiatives to provide more housing forms for the city of Peterborough,” he wrote.
There could also be a chance for Peterborough to become a hub for eco-friendly buildings.
Chris Magwood is a sustainable builder and the executive director of The Endeavour Centre, a not-for-profit sustainable building school based in Peterborough.
He wrote that the city made a smart move when it legalized basement apartments; the new bylaw also allows homeowners to create other secondary suites in upper levels or even accessory buildings on residential properties.
Magwood also says a lot can be accomplished if there are municipal policies to foster the construction of eco-friendly buildings.
“I will be encouraging Mayor Therrien to have Peterborough adopt some regulations around low-carbon development,” Magwood wrote.
“I’ve been working with policymakers in other jurisdictions on this type of climate-change reduction strategy, and would love to see Peterborough take a leading role in this.”
Crews work at a housing development underway in the city’s north end Friday.