Despite loud objections from some residents, city council has approved the Hillside Area Revitalization Plan.
Many had opposed having more zoning for rental properties in the proposal.
Alan Tibbles, a Hillside resident that was part of a steering committee that worked on the plan, says this will help solve parking issues around the Q E II. Vacant city-owned land south of the hospital (pictured) would be turned into parking.
“With the stipulations that they would secure it and they would landscape it and they would light it. That would provide a space there where it’s currently very, very high crime.”
He adds there is a misconception that it is being forced on the people by the city.
“The city people and the people from outside of the neighbourhood that were involved in the process had very little input in the process. They almost deferred on everything to the residents of the neighbourhood.”
Resident Bruce Flynn says many remain opposed.
“There was 130 homes that signed a petition against (the plan). That’s the ones that were at home, never mind the ones that didn’t make it or wasn’t around at the time. The city continues to push and do what they please.”
Flynn thinks more zoning for rental properties in the area will destroy the neighbourhood.
“They have enough of it over there now and it’s disgusting. So, they’re going to put more in and that will get disgusting. It’ll turn into Crackville over there.”
The plan was passed by an 8-1 vote. Councillor Kevin McLean was the only one to vote no.
Rory Tarant voted in favour, saying this plan saw extensive consultation.
“And I found that it found a good balance between allowing some re-investment of multi-family and single family homes while at the same time providing some pretty high standards in terms of design and development.”
He adds the community needs re-investment and there was nothing stopping residents from tearing down older buildings and putting up new homes prior to this.
“I have a really hard time believing that if we were to just ban all multi-families that all of a sudden we are just going to get this rash of re-investment in single family homes and so you stand the risk of having Hillside deteriorate further by having more houses become derelict and creating a neighbourhood that won’t be very desirable.”
At that same meeting, council also approved a plan for 35 hectares of new industrial development for the west side. More than two dozen new lots will be created on land north of the railway tracks and west of 116 Street.