Officials with the town of Oakville say Amazon Canada notified them on Monday that a planned 24-hour delivery station in the north end has officially been abandoned amid community concerns over traffic.
The revelation comes just days after demonstrators walked along Cornwall Road on Saturday to raise awareness for the online giant’s initiative that would increase the intensity of transport trucks arriving in the neighbourhood each day.
A spokesperson for the town said Amazon officials reached out to Ward 3 Councillor Janet Haslett-Theall on Monday to confirm they were not going to lease the space at 2175 Cornwall Rd., and have opted to fulfil demand through an Avonhead Road facility instead. It opened last week in Mississauga.
Representatives of the retailer say the change was made after listening to feedback from the community for some 18 months and ultimately decided to secure a better location in order not to “upset the community.”
“Amazon’s consideration of Council’s and the community’s concerns is appreciated,” Mayor Rob Burton said in a release.
“Council and town staff believe the assistance of the Ontario government in capping future uses of the site will prove to be important, whether or not Amazon is involved in the REIT’s plans.”
In January, town council agreed to a settlement deal allowing Amazon to use the estimated 311,000-square-foot warehouse owned by H&R Reit.
The facility was meant to close a gap the retailer said it had with the delivery of 150,000 packages in the GTA not being fulfilled due to warehouse capacity issues.
A number of residents opposed to the idea suggested the structure would be more of a “sorting” location for deliveries, contradicting zoning restrictions that would make it “incompatible” with the nearby residential neighbourhood.
“The delivery station’s primary function will in fact be the sorting of incoming packages into delivery routes with the objective of delivering them as soon as possible, not warehousing them,” awareness group Residents for a Livable Oakville said on its website.
A traffic impact study retained in November 2019 by H&R Reit, preparing for Amazon’s occupancy, denied that the facility would be used as a fulfilment centre.
The research estimated that over 200 staffers would be working at the warehouse at any given time and that an expansion of the existing parking lot to over 880 spots would be needed to accommodate the workers and a fleet of delivery vans.
However, with public input, councillors sought controls on the physical layout of infrastructure and added conditions to the occupancy that included erecting a noise barrier wall, aligning driveways and the intersection at Cardiff Drive, limiting parking spaces to just 689, and capping expansion of the building’s size.