It may be smooth sailing ahead for a proposed development on Aberdeen Street in Kingston, Ont. This week city council voted down the opportunity for public input regarding the six-storey residential building slated for the university district.
But longtime Sydenham district residents and their councillor don’t agree with the move.
It’s no secret there’s a housing shortage in Kingston. Several downtown builds are looking to meet demand, but the city says more is needed.
The next project waiting for approval could be built at the corner of Aberdeen and Johnson Streets, but the Sydenham District Association isn’t on board.
“With 120 beds, what’s going to happen with parking, what’s going to happen with deliveries, and Amazon Prime deliveries and all the things we see with the students?” Sydenham District Association chair Martha Vosper asked.
The proposal calls for a six-storey, 45-unit building to be constructed on three lots along Johnson Street.
In addition to traffic concerns, the association chair believes the demolition of the structures already in place will take away the area’s historic character.
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“When we give up our beautiful buildings when we lose our beautiful trees, we lose what we love about this city,” Vosper said.
“There’s a lot of places with really ugly buildings that can be used.”
Not only do they disagree with the project, but they’re also upset that residents weren’t able to voice their opinions during a public meeting.
“I don’t even think that people know this is happening,” Vosper said.
Sydenham District Coun. Conny Glenn said it was “fair to have constituents who are right down in that real neighbourhood ask those questions,”
“It would have given everybody a bit more information.”
But the city’s mayor says a public meeting isn’t required because no zoning bylaws need to be amended.
“Where I drew the line was having a public meeting for the sake of having a public meeting would add one or two months’ delay,” Bryan Paterson said.
“When we’re dealing with a housing crisis it’s important to get the housing built as quickly as possible.”
The project isn’t a done deal just yet, and while a normally customary public meeting won’t take place, residents can still voice their concerns by getting in touch with city staff.
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