Holyrood Gardens is back with changes but neighbours still aren’t pleased

Click to play video: 'Area gets look at final Holyrood Gardens proposal'
Area gets look at final Holyrood Gardens proposal
WATCH ABOVE: A contentious development proposed along 83 Avenue that's already been revised three times was open for residents' reviews Wednesday night. Kim Smith is at an information session with reaction – Jun 27, 2018

The developer behind Holyrood Gardens is hoping the third time’s the charm. However, the latest iteration that is coming before a public hearing at city council on July 9 has once again received the thumbs down from Edmonton’s design committee.

“The design committee did give another letter of non-support,” confirmed Tim Ford, the city’s general supervisor for Core and Mature Community Rezonings.

“Although they did acknowledge that a number of changes had been made that they did like.”

From November of last year to May, and now this most recent concept in the last couple of weeks, Ford said Regency Developments has “increased the number of buildings by one. They’ve got more separation distance between those buildings, they’ve reduced the floor plates of those buildings, and height at the south end of the site.”

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Depending on each floor height, Ford said the tallest towers will now be 25 to 26 storeys, instead of 22, which was proposed the first time around. They’re also taller at the north and south end, and shorter in the middle.

Another alteration in the plan creates a larger area for transit riders, which Ford said the design committee endorsed.

“This transit plaza was one of them, but overall they’re still not entirely satisfied with (the project as a whole).”

Ford said the plaza is a new idea.

“It was contemplated there’d be a wider sidewalk but now we’ve introduced a 500-square-metre transit plaza for people when they get off to congregate and things like that.”

He added that city staff worked with Regency, who originally wanted the plaza to be 300 square metres.

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“The design committee is still not happy,” Councillor Ben Henderson wrote from Montreal.

“The community were really hopeful but are inclined to agree with the design committee.”

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Attempts to contact developer Raj Dhunna were unsuccessful.

The last time Holyrood Gardens was at a public hearing, a common complaint from nearby residents was the “Berlin Wall” impression the project gave along 85 Street.

“That was a common complaint,” Ford agreed. “I think there’s less of that now given the spacing between the buildings, the separation in between them.”

“Previously there was a lot more green space behind the buildings. Now they’ve opened the site up. That’s good in a number of ways.

“It allows the pedestrian, human scale, the bikes, to go through the site.”

Preparation work with utilities is already well underway in anticipation of council approval for the 1,200-unit project.

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