Edmonton development continues to create debate during public hearing

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WATCH ABOVE: City council is considering the fate of a huge residential development in the Holyrood area, where many residents are fighting the proposed complex of towers. As councillors hear from dozens of people at a public hearing, the mayor says this project highlights problems with the city. Fletcher Kent explains. – Nov 17, 2017

A day-long public hearing began Friday morning at city council on a controversial highrise development in a south Edmonton neighbourhood.

Fifty-six people registered to speak during the 12-hour public hearing on the Holyrood Gardens development, which has received opposition.

READ MORE: Edmonton city councillor seeks postponement of Holyrood Gardens

The Regency Developments project would feature multiple buildings, with one of those being as high as 22-storeys on 85 Street, between 90 and 95 Avenues. The 1,200-apartment-unit would be near Bonnie Doon Mall and next to the Valley Line LRT so it’s considered a Transit-Orientated Development (TOD).

The developers said the project does exactly what council would like: a TOD that helps to densify the community.

“We’re doing a development that I think gets us back to where this community once was,” Stantec urban designer and planner Simon O’Byrne said. “This community has 2,000 fewer people than it did in the 1970s.”

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Holyrood residents have expressed concerns about an increase in traffic as a result of the development, the height of the building and how family-friendly the development will be. They’re hoping their collective voices will convince council to at least change what’s going to be built.

READ MORE: Edmonton city council runs out of time for 1,200-unit Holyrood apartment debate

On Sept. 12, city council pushed back the public hearing on rezoning for the development until November, citing a lack of time to deal with the matter.

A day later, the city signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Regency Developments (the developer of the project) 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.

The discussion went late into the night Friday. The public hearing will continue at city hall at 3 p.m. on Nov. 27.

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