Edmonton city councillor seeks postponement of Holyrood Gardens

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Edmontonians voice concerns over Holyrood development
WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton city council will be hearing from residents concerned about redevelopment plans Monday evening in the Holyrood neighbourhood. Kim Smith reports – Sep 11, 2017

*UPDATE: On Sept. 13, the city signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Regency Developments to allow the company to proceed with construction of underground infrastructure at the site since council deferred the public hearing and decisions on the proposed project. 

UPDATE: Late Monday night, city council pushed back the public hearing on rezoning for the Holyrood Gardens development until November.

Amid a torrent of complaints, Councillor Ben Henderson will attempt Monday night to have a public hearing on rezoning for the Holyrood Gardens development postponed. The proposed development is planned along 85 Street between 90 Avenue and 95 Avenue.

At the start of the hearing Monday afternoon, 29 individuals had signed up to object to the 1,200-apartment-unit project. Another 14 speakers had signed up to support it.

Henderson’s hope is to have the project reviewed by the Edmonton Design Committee as a next step.

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“It needs more work, quite frankly,” Henderson said. “I’ve been pretty consistent in saying we’re rushing this.

“I think with some work between the community and the developer we can be in a better place and everybody would be happy with this. I don’t think we’re there yet.”

Dave Sutherland of the Holyrood community league agrees.

“What the developer is asking for from our neighbourhood is a great deal, and we want to make sure what we’re getting in return is something exceptional, basically. If they can’t do that we feel they should really consider scaling it back to reduce those impacts.”

READ MORE: Ambitious proposal sees blocks of residential towers in Edmonton’s Holyrood neighbourhood

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Sutherland said there is conflicting data about traffic counts he’d like to see sorted out.

“We all feel this has been very rushed. They only bought the site about a year ago. They’ve pushed through basically a proposal that has changed very little from the early urban houses to what has been presented today and a lot of folks don’t feel their concerns have been heard or addressed.”

Henderson said time is needed to digest what the developer, Regency Developments, changed in the past few weeks. An open house revealed the original 26- and 22-storey towers were lowered, as well as the podiums they’re to sit on, from six storeys to four.

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The problem, Henderson said heading into the hearing, is they still back right up to the laneway.

“To my eye, it still doesn’t meet the 35-degree or the 45-degree rule that sort of says what happens when you put a tower next to a single-family house.”

This is the last public hearing of the current city council term. Mayor Don Iveson kicked off the meeting saying the first block of items would take as long as five hours, meaning the second block won’t happen until after the dinner break.

More to come…

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