Edmonton city councillors voted to rezone part of Whitemud Road Monday evening to pave the way for half-a-dozen luxury condo buildings to be developed on three acres of land bordering the River Valley.
The proposed development would be located at 5604, 5608, 5610 and 5620 Whitemud Road N.W. and would replace a single-detached home with a condo development of up to 46 residential units housed in 16 metre-high apartment buildings above the top of the bank.
A coalition of citizens who call themselves the Brander Gardens Rezoning Action Committee addressed city councillors to express their opposition to rezoning the area out of concern it would be a “precedent-setting” decision that would negatively impact the green space in the area.
“If approved, (the decision) will open the floodgate for all homeowners of riverview properties to seek their future their fortune? through rezoning. The result will be a walled-in river valley, devoid of its current natural beauty and wild habitat,” the group said in a statement.
Over 25 people opposed to the rezoning showed up to city hall Monday to voice their concerns.
The development application, submitted by property owner Dennis Modry and architect Brad Kennedy, seeks to build six, four-storey condo buildings close to the top of the valley.
Speaking to council on Monday afternoon, one opponent said she was concerned about how stable that part of the River Valley land is in terms of its ability to accommodate more development and also about how it would impact traffic in the area.
“There are many many huge trees there,” longtime area resident Jennifer Shelley said. “Some of them are up to 90 years old and we’re worried about the stabilization of the bank.”
Some residents expressed concerns that even if the development is set back 10 metres from the edge of the top of the bank, it could still cause the bank to slump. However, the project’s architect said a geotechnical survey indicates otherwise.
“The study that’s been completed says this is one of the more stable riverbank lands in the city of Edmonton,” Brad Kennedy said.
The developers first met with the city in March ahead of submitting the rezoning application and the city later sent notice of the application to the Riverbend Community League, the Southwest Area Council of Community Area Council and the Terwillegar Riverbend Advisory Council Area Council in May.
A public consultation on the proposed bylaw amendment was held on May 17.
-With files from Sarah Kraus, Global News.