Once again the plans for a seniors residence on church owned land has been shot down. This time it is by the city planning department whose rejection only seems to inspire confusion.
Not every development project has to be approved. However, every development needs a clear consistent policy set out by the city. In some cases some vocal proponents and opponents will make it very difficult to come to a decision that doesn’t make someone want to duck and cover.
I originally looked at the project when it was proposed and thought it satisfied a need in the community and wasn’t overly burdensome to the homes and streets surrounding. The zoning meeting proved that there was a lot of controversy. Some of it came from those that didn’t want to change the character of Charleswood.
It is a rather nebulous argument sometimes because it feels like someone closing the door after they themselves are inside.
The future needs of Charleswood are hard to deny. Many senior residents will find it hard to buy or even rent a place in the area if they sell their homes. It is true that that there are some personal care home homes, rental apartments and condos in the community but many are situated many blocks from where residents live now. Often, there are no places that are between house and personal care home.
The land behind the Charleswood United Church seems appropriate for seniors housing. It hardly looks like a location for massive amounts of traffic. At the moment, it seems that the winning idea for that land is do nothing.
In River Heights there was a fight over the railway land running north and south called Oakbank Line. The neighbourhood since the 1980s fought every single use of the land including the innocuous bike path. Today it is condos stretched all the way down the line. Residents must wonder now if the bike path was such a bad idea afterall.
At some point there will be something done with the land in Charlewood. Perhaps later on people will think a seniors residence on the site was a lost opportunity.
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations