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Ontario Land Tribunal turns down plan for former Liuna Gardens site in Winona

An artists rendering of a 1,212-unit housing development along the lakeshore in Stoney Creek's Winona Park area. Urban Solutions / Fengate

Developers of a 3.4-hectare lakeside residential development in Stoney Creek, Ont., are going back to the drawing board after the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) turned down a plan for the former Liuna Gardens site.

The Fengate proposal sought to build towers of 22 and 26 storeys, a pair of 12-storey buildings and several townhouses, equating to 1,100 housing units along Winona Road at the lakeshore.

However, a 36-page ruling from tribunal chair Shannon Braun said it was “an inappropriate level of intensification into the heart of Winona North,” and an “abrupt” change for an area surrounded by single-family homes.

She added that no access to public transit or adequate sidewalks and bike lanes would also require the new residents to be “vehicle dependent.”

“The Tribunal finds the proposed development would be inappropriately placed in, and would not align with, the existing context and planned function for this particular neighbourhood, which does not benefit from robust transit,” Braun said.

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The plan, originally set for just over 1,2oo residential units at 526 Winona Rd., was opposed by the city, several residents and others, including the Lakewood Beach Community Council.

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Addressing concerns from the city and nearby residents, planners made revisions prior to an OLT hearing in 2023 that included reductions in the height of two peripheral buildings, changes in the height of the towers and a reduction in the number of residential units from 1,212 to 1,060.

Coun. Jeff Beattie, whose Ward 10 was to host the project, says the city was “nervous” before the decision, suggesting Hamilton hasn’t had “a particularly strong track record at the OLT.”

“We know that the applicants are very likely to come back with something else, but it just has to be scaled more appropriately for the type of community in which it’s being put into,” Beattie said.

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He says the Winona Park area does have room for intensification, but more so along South Service Road.

Others outlined in a Stoney Creek urban boundary expansion and the Winona Fruitland Secondary plan are “on the books to be developed,” according to Beattie, with densification in some of those corridors able to host lower-density townhouses and single-family dwellings.

“But in this particular instance, there just wasn’t anything that was compatible with the existing community,” he insisted.

“We’re not even sure if the underground utilities, the sewers and waters have the capability of handling this type of intensification.”

Global News reached out to Fengate for comment but the agency has not replied.

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