A proposal to build a set of four tall apartment towers with up to 38 storeys each on Courtland Avenue has some area residents worried.
The large swath of land at the corner of Block Line and Courtland has been empty for years.
Right along the light rail transit route, it may soon see four tall towers with 1,300 apartments and three- to four-storey podiums of shops and offices underneath. For nearby residents who feel bogged down with recent roadwork and heavy traffic, the prospect of more construction and cars is troubling.
“Already Courtland is so noisy for us. We already can’t sleep with the windows open,” said Michelle Cusson. Her house sits right behind the proposed project.
She was one of about two dozen residents from nearby neighbourhoods who attended the first public meeting on the proposed project on Wednesday.
The developer, Viridis Development, has asked the city to change the land use and zoning for the 6.3-acre parcel from general industrial to mixed-use.
With four towers between 32 and 38 storeys high, a public pedestrian plaza with shops, eateries and possibly a grocery store is also proposed. The entire project will have access to the Block Line Ion stop that is currently under construction on Courtland Avenue.
Kitchener city planner Garett Stevenson said the project is smack dab in the middle of a rapid transit corridor and is also in an area where the city expects high-density change to occur because of the light rail transit project.
“We want to plan for change and growth,” he told residents, but stressed that the city also wants to balance intensification in Kitchener’s neighbourhoods.
“What I’ve heard is that you’ve had a lot of construction in your neighbourhood and you’ve had a lot of interruptions. I understand that.”
While many residents shared concerns about the project’s height, potential to cast shadows and increase traffic, some of them loved the idea.
“I think the proposal is a brilliant use of under-used space,” said Lindsay Button.
“It’s perfect with the LRT. One thing our neighbourhood is missing is a place to walk to get coffee or get groceries.”
Three-storey parking garages are proposed behind the four towers facing the railway tracks and they will be able to accommodate 1,500 cars.
The parcel of land is surrounded by high rises, single family homes, patches of natural heritage conservation areas and general industrial zones. Access to the site would be created by opening up Hillmount Street.
This proposal is still in its preliminary stages and Stevenson said the city will be looking at residents’ concerns in the next few months.
This was the first neighbourhood meeting and the city plans to host more meetings before the proposal is presented to council for a decision.