City committee green lights four storey residential build in Walkerville

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A city committee has approved moving ahead with a multi-unit residential development in Walkerville despite some major pushback from the community.

The Development and Heritage Standing Committee heard from nearly 30 delegates Monday, and while a handful were in favour, the majority spoke out against the proposal which calls for a 4-storey, 23 unit building on vacant land at the corner of Devonshire Court and Kildare Rd.

Resident Paula Rankin believes a study should be done on potential impacts to the neighbourhood.

"Just to accept those reports that the developers put in would be a grave error. We need independent impact studies before we can make a decision that would impact the neighbourhood in such a horrendous way."

Raymond Colautti lives nearby and says there's just not enough room for a project of this size.

"Some deceptive aspects of the proposal before you that this is an appropriate density for the neighbourhood. It is not. Do you think it's appropriate to put 23 households in a space this small and is that good urban planning? I suggest it isn't."

Andrew Furlong lives in the area as well and says there's better places for a development like this.

"If you want to have higher density, you should be looking at the new developments out around the city. To come into an old, historic neighbourhood like Walkerville and try and re-intensify the area just is only an attempt to destroy the character and nature of this area which is really unique and special."

Committee chair Rino Bortolin voted in support of the plan and says developments like this are what will help bring the city out of its current housing crisis.

He says the developer has done its due diligence.

"Administration has worked with the developers. The councillor has worked with the developers. They've taken public input. They've created a beautiful building that does match the characteristics of the neighbourhood. It'll add stock to our market so that it can help relieve the pressure in other areas."

Bortolin says the building will help fill a need.

"We are in a housing crisis, not just in Windsor, but across the province and across the country. 23 units, as opposed to three that would have these huge homes there, three huge homes with large families could, in fact, see the same number of people as you might see in a building with 23 units."

He says incentive programs have been created for projects like this.

"When we talk about what we want, we have been fighting for more. We have created incentive programs across the community exactly for this. This is not high density housing. This is low impact density. This is the missing middle. This is creating housing for the people who need it."

The development was first presented in 2016, but has undergone a number changes since then to meet the city's site plan requirements.

With committee approval, the plan now moves to city council for a final decision.