Residents Oppose 8-Storey Apartment Building On Former Jail Site

March 24, 2010 at 2:46 pm Leave a comment

Don’t allow anyone to build an eight-storey apartment building along Isherwood Drive, hundreds of area residents have said. City councillors were presented a petition with more than 350 names opposing a redevelopment plan for the former Waterloo Region Detention Centre.

Instead, residents would be happy with — at most — four-storey seniors’ apartment buildings or a long-term care facility on the property that’s kitty-corner to the rear of the Cambridge YMCA and abutting Dumfries Conservation Area. The most appealing option for residents of existing bungalow condominium houses along Isherwood was building more of the same on half of the 4.6-hectare (11.5-acre) site.

About 150 people attended a public meeting Monday on a proposal by the Ontario Reality Corporation to allow residential redevelopment of the vacant jail site.

The province is asking for rezoning and official plan changes that would allow a building with a maximum height of eight storeys, with two-storey condominium units abutting existing seniors’ homes. The apartment building would abut existing eight- and nine-storey apartment buildings facing Hespeler Road. The province isn’t proposing a specific development plan. The land would be sold to a developer once city approvals are in place and that’s when a detailed plan would be up for discussion.

Area residents made it clear they don’t oppose redevelopment, but don’t want a huge apartment building placed there. They want any new development to continue with the popular retirement and seniors’ housing that’s been built over the last decade behind the Waterloo Regional Police station.

“We can be a good partner, but we have to work together,” said Gary Joynt, an Isherwood Drive resident. “We have to maintain the lifestyle we bought into,” he said.

Neighbour Janice Lee presented an alternative development plan for the site that includes 128 units for seniors’ needs and eliminates the eight-storey building. She said it’s the same number of units as proposed by the province. Like Joynt, she said seniors are ready to help sell a redevelopment they accept next door. There’s a growing market for seniors-oriented housing in Cambridge, she said. “We can be the biggest promoters, rather than the biggest opponent,” Lee said.

No decisions were made Monday. City staff will return with a recommendation to council in a couple of months for council to consider.



Entry filed under: Cambridge, Waterloo Region. Tags: , , , , .

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