The City of Pickering has refused to go ahead with a controversial condo development on the city’s waterfront.
If approved — it would have seen two 15-storey towers go up along Pickering’s waterfront. The unanimous decision was made by the committee Monday night. It will be formalized at council on July 27.
“We have been consistent from the start stating that the bar was going to be very high,” said Deputy Mayor Kevin Ashe in a press release Tuesday. “As a municipality, we are obligated to accept and process every application that comes through our doors.”
Citing reasons including the sheer size, density and compatibility with the area, staff concluded the development was not appropriate for that location.
After months of deliberation, the planning committee gave eight planning reasons for their refusal, including issues such as not conforming with growth and intensification policies, lack of vision for character in the neighbourhood and several problems with traffic impact study.
This comes after years of contentious debate among residents and council because of the location. At one point it was brought to light the land is part of a nuclear exclusion zone, due to its proximity to the Pickering Nuclear Station.
The development was at the centre of a number of problems with residents including its close proximity to the wetlands and taking away from the newly developed area. More than 15,000 people signed a petition against the development — with hundreds showing up to open houses, as well.
“We rely on the public to provide input and participate in the process. We will have a successful city when we build it together,” said Ashe.
Earlier this year, residents called for council to reject the proposal before it even going to the planning committee. A move that was voted against, with Mayor Dave Ryan saying they needed the committee report to back up their refusal.
In a release city staff said, “It was critical that City Development staff were given the opportunity to consult with impacted agencies, engage with the public, and review the applications thoroughly.”
The applicant, Pickering Harbour Company LTD., had proposed a mixed-use development on Liverpool Road, which would have seen nearly 400 units. City staff said with these arguments, they are prepared for a defence if the development company appeals the decision.
“Had the City rejected the proposal back in February, we would be ill-equipped to defend ourselves at the LPAT,” said Marisa Carpino, Interim CAO. “Instead, we gave staff the necessary time to review all of the information and generate a comprehensive report.”