The first – a proposal to build 104 semi-detached homes along Algonquin Road in the city's South End – raised concerns because of chronic flooding problems on Green Avenue, a nearby street. One resident, who said he bought his house in 1981, said flooding has been an issue in the area for decades. Despite frequent complaints, he and other Green Avenue residents have never been able to get the problems solved.
“Our backyards flood nine times out of 10 in the spring,” he said. “It has never been addressed.”
Another resident said for much of the year, ditches in the area are so full of water, they're more like rivers.
“There's a 20-45 degree incline,” he said. “Someone is going to drown in there one of these years.”
While part of the proposed 19-acre development is on a flood plain, city staff said the development would have no impact on the problems facing residents on Green Avenue. It sits west of St. Benedict and Holy Cross Catholic schools and east of Green Avenue.
Flooding problems in that area date back before regional government, when there were few planning guidelines to control development. And the developer, Sitiri Developments, said their project uses a different branch of the sanitary sewer system, so it wouldn't affect problems on Green Avenue.
And Ward 9 Coun. Doug Craig said he knows first-hand of the flooding problems on the street, and suggested it may be time to bring the issue to council to be resolved.
“I know, I've been out there a few times ... when we've had some problems,” Craig said at the Dec. 9 meeting of the city's planning committee.
In the end, the plan was approved, subject to dozens of conditions.
On the same night, a proposal by Fred and Katia Ellero to build a 137-unit retirement home on vacant land on Second Avenue in Minnow Lake was also approved, but not before residents on Second Avenue expressed concern about the stability of the land where the home will be built.
The facility would include a common dining area and would be built on Second Avenue south of Ellero Monuments and west of the city's dog park. The developer will have to contribute to the cost of installing sidewalks, and share in the cost of installing a storm sewer outlet the city is planning for Second Avenue in 2014. Once complete, about 64 per cent of the almost three-acre property would be landscaped as open space.
The staff report on the development called for the land to be used only for the retirement home, and that there be a 7.5-metre buffer to provide a buffer between existing residences to the east of the building.
However, residents in the area were concerned about dumping that occurred on the property that has caused some instability. Some residents of nearby Camelot Drive said they have had serious issues with the stability of the foundations in their homes. Building a multi-storey structure on such unstable property could make things worse.
But the developer and staff said a detailed geotechnical report would have to show the proposal was safe. And an underground parking garage would include a significant amount of poured concrete, which would help stabilize the property.
Ward 11 Coun. Terry Kett, whose ward includes Second Avenue, said residents he talked to support the idea of a seniors residence – as long as concerns about the stability of the property is addressed.
If it goes ahead, Kett said, they would rely on staff to ensure that their concerns are addressed when construction takes place.