Controversial Revamped 155 Caroline Build Gets Council OK

  • 09/29/16
  • |          Waterloo

WATERLOO — Waterloo councillors were surprisingly amenable to a proposal for condos at 155 Caroline St. S.

With three politicians absent, council unanimously approved a plan Monday that several councillors were critical of at first view in June.

Coun. Diane Freeman opposed the 2013 version of the project proposed by Mady Development Corporation. She also questioned this revamped project in June.

“The aspect of the parking, the aspect of the trail, the aspect of the things that I was very frustrated with, I can’t change in this application and I understand that,” she said. “What is being proposed … is a negligible difference to what this council had previously approved.”

Carol Wiebe from MHBC Planning represented developer Van Mar Constructors Inc.

After a speech from Wiebe, council OK’d the build with limited discussion.

Wiebe spoke at length about how the project fulfils the city’s own planning policies as well as those of the Region of Waterloo and province.

“The proposal … meets all of the objectives set out in the city’s Official Plan as well as regional and provincial planning policies,” Wiebe said.

Approved is a 23-storey condo project with 207 units and 300 bedrooms.

Coun. Mark Whaley, who initially expressed concern about the density of the project in June, praised its design.

“As a frequent critic of built form in the community I have these remarks … in this case I really did appreciate the extra work about understanding shadow implications,” he said. “The architectural enhancements of the four storeys is noted and appreciated.”

Van Mar bought the undeveloped 155 Caroline project in November from Mady after the company’s 144 Park St. project went into receivership.

Originally council approved in 2013 a 19-storey building on Caroline and swapped part of the Iron Horse Trail to allow the project on the irregularly shaped site to go ahead.

In June, Wiebe said Van Mar was proposing increased density and height in part because the project wouldn’t be financially viable without it.

Some politicians criticized that comment and said they already permitted significant height and density there.

There was not a word of that Monday.

The two buildings are meant to share some amenities, including visitor parking.

That brought Richard Magnussen, chair of the 144 Park condo board, to council Monday asking that the project be approved.

“Completion of 155 allows our project at 144 to be completed, ensuring our visitor parking,” he said.

Construction of 155 also means the Iron Horse Trail can be reconstructed.

Councillors Brian Bourke, Bob Mavin and Angela Vieth were absent for the vote.

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