OMB approves Heart Lake highrises
BREAKING NEWS: The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has approved the controversial construction of six highrise apartment buildings in Heart Lake.
“It’s just a complete slap in the face for residents in Ward 2,” said a shocked Regional Councillor Paul Palleschi of the news. “I am just absolutely flabbergasted.”
The OMB chair “just gave them (the developers) everything they wanted,” an upset Palleschi said.
The OMB decision was released Friday morning, based on more than six weeks of hearings held last fall. The City of Brampton rejected the original proposal and the slightly scaled back version the developer ultimately presented to the OMB. Residents in the area formed a task force and made it known they were opposed to the development.
However, the ruling of the OMB, which has the final say in the matter, is in favour of the development, with just one change— the tallest building can only be 20-storeys high. The developer had asked that the tallest building be 26 storeys.
Other than that, the OMB chair ruled any issues with traffic raised by the city can be “fixed”, Palleschi said.
Calling the decision “ridiculous”, Palleschi criticized the OMB chair for ignoring the concerns of the community.
“The chairs are supposed to have regard for the community and she had no regard at all for the community,” he said.
The city had argued that such an dense development belonged on the Queen Street Corridor, but the OMB chair concluded the Heart Lake area could also be intensified, Palleschi said.
The property is located at the northwest corner of Conestoga Drive and Sandalwood Parkway, abutting Loafer’s Lake.
Royalcliff Developments Inc. and Lake Path Holdings Inc. have been given the green light to build four 20-storey buildings, and one each of a 12-storey and an 18-storey building, as well as a seven-storey commercial office building and 42 live/work units. In total, there could be 792 residential units, if the six storeys taken off the tallest building are added to one of the shorter buildings, Palleschi said.
Task Force Co-chair Ken Bokor said the decision is disappointing, but, the outcome is better than it would have been if residents had not made their objections know.
"I'm very proud of the effort that the residents put into this," Bokor said. "There are fewer units and they lowered the building height (compared to the original proposal), so that's pretty significant."
He said it could be considered a "partial victory".
"I know a lot of residents aren't going to like it (the outcome), but they did effect some change."
The original proposal turned down by the city included a 32-storey building, which would have become the tallest in the entire city, and totalled 1,443 residential units.
What has been approved for the site is still almost twice as dense as the existing zoning for the 9.9 acre site allows. The site is zoned for 419 residential units in just two highrise buildings of up to 18 storeys each, and an office building up to 2,787 square metres (30,000 square feet).
Resident, who formed the Citizens for Managed Development at Loafer’s Lake, argued the development is out of character for the established, single-family home neighbourhoods in the area. Traffic, noise, a lack of infrastructure and environmental concerns were also among their objections.
The original proposal was presented to the city more than two years ago, prompting an immediate outcry from the public.
Bokor said residents should continue their involvement in the process, as the project moves through the site plan approval stage, and make sure they have input every step of the way.