A housing development in Hanmer cleared a legislative hurdle on Monday, with the city’s planning committee approving its rezoning application following a public hearing.
The development includes 34 townhouses as well as either a 250-bed long-term care facility or 144 apartment units on Bonaventure Drive.
The long-term care facility would be one long V-shaped three-storey building and the apartment building would consist of three five-storey buildings.
While the committee’s approval still needs to be ratified by city council, their unanimous support makes it likely the Dominion Park Developments Corp. project moves forward.
Even so, it hasn’t been without its opposition from area residents.
“This will create a traffic nightmare which will cause safety issues to our children and pedestrians with the huge amount of traffic this will create,” according to a letter of opposition by Mederic Street resident Marc Bourque. “Please don’t let this happen for the sake of the children and their safety.”
Wilfred Street resident Tim and Terry Binkley said the project will “destroy the fabric of a longstanding, quiet residential neighbourhood that many families have lived in for decades.”
They expressed concern about traffic, noise, property values and the development’s aesthetics.
For Addy Crescent resident Linda Makela, support depends on which type of development ends up coming to fruition.
“The city badly needs more long-term care facilities,” she said. “I think this fact alone should sway the decisions of the planning committee and then council.”
The 144-apartment option might result in more traffic-related concerns than if the long-term care facility moved forward, she added.
Ward 6 Coun. René Lapierre, who represents the area, said that an extensive traffic study appears to have addressed a lot of area residents’ traffic-related concerns, as people are more likely to access the development from the arterial Dominion Drive than from side streets.
“Every impact shows low, so I think they’ve done their due diligence,” he told Sudbury.com – a point reaffirmed by city senior planner Wendy Kaufman during Monday’s meeting.
The proposed development, she said, “will not cause any operational issues and will not add significant delay or congestion to the existing road network.”
During the meeting, Lapierre pledged to monitor the situation to see whether any negative traffic outcomes arise, and to propose traffic calming measures in the event they do.
This project is an update of a previously established subdivision plan registered in 1980 and whose current version has been in development for the past few years.
It has also been made possible by a $12.7-million municipal drainage project called the Paquette-Whitson Municipal Drain, which alongside addressing area flooding issues has removed area land from the flood plain.
This project drains 725 hectares of land and required the construction of 2,400 metres of new and improved drainage channel, 670 metres of improved branch channel and a total of 30 hectares of stormwater management ponds.
Although it’s only one of two options at this stage of the Bonaventure Drive development, Lapierre said that he hopes the project ends up accommodating a long-term care facility.
“I hear from seniors all the time that they need more apartments in the Hanmer area,” he said, adding that people have lived in the community for decades and would prefer to stay in the Valley rather than relocate to the city as their housing needs change.
“I think this is a very good development, we just need to appease some of the concerns of the residents with traffic flows and things like that.”
Close to a library, walking paths and the Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre and the proposed Valley East Twin Pad Multipurpose Sports Complex, Lapierre said, “There’s quite a bit of connection to the community there.”
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.