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Proposed new Queen’s University residence build a cause for concern

WATCH: Queen's University hopes to build a 5-storey residence on Albert Street at Union, that will house as many as 335 students.

Albert Street could soon be home to a new, 5-storey residence building to house as many as 335 Queen’s University students, but not everyone is happy with the plan.

Queen’s already owns the property and their plan would mean tearing down three homes and incorporating two others into the new build.

That’s upsetting to people like Shirley Bailey, president of the Frontenac Heritage Foundation.

“None of the buildings in the immediate area have any heritage protection, so from our point of view that’s rather unfortunate,” Bailey told Global News.

READ MORE: Kingston historian looks to save ‘heritage’ home

“If any of them were listed or designated, then there would be the need to do a heritage impact statement as the application proceeds for approval.”

Bailey says that many of these houses are examples of early 1900’s construction.

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Besides losing heritage homes, residents and homeowners who live directly behind the proposed build site say they’re most concerned with the size of the residence.

At 5 storeys, many say the building will dwarf their houses, take their sunlight and invade their privacy.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver farmers gear up for fight over ‘monster homes’

Queen’s University officials say they are taking those issues to heart, as they meet with concerned neighbours and try to find a happy medium.

“We’re trying to address their concerns as much as we can” said Donna Janiec, vice-principal of finance and administration at Queen’s University.

“There’s a number of things we’re looking at, like light pollution, noise, all types of things in terms of the construction” Janiec said.

Local climate strike calls for Queen’s University to make changes
Local climate strike calls for Queen’s University to make changes

The new residence has been approved by the Queen’s board of trustees and is designed as a sustainable, green construction.

Bailey says because the design conforms to existing zoning, the only way concerned residents can make their voice heard is if the Councillor for the district — Peter Stroud — asks for the project to go to the planning committee.

In an email, Councillor Stroud confirmed that he is in the process of writing a motion requesting  that the application for the new residence be “bumped up” to the Planning Committee in order to gather input from residents at a Public Meeting.

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Something he says several residents have requested he do.

Stroud’s motion will be submitted for Council’s consideration on November 19th, and if approved, a Public Meeting would take place sometime in early 2020.

Queen’s says the new residence will ensure all first year students are guaranteed on-campus housing and give students a place to stay while older residences are closed temporarily for renovations.

If everything is approved, construction could begin in the spring and the new residence open by the fall of 2022.