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Old Posted Jun 8, 2009, 3:17 PM
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Development proposals bringing change

Development proposals bringing change

Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff

Published on May 29, 2009

Local residents are watching the face of Dundas change, as seemingly unprecedented development pressures bring perhaps the biggest changes the Valley Town has undergone in more than 40 years.

After city councillor Russ Powers ran down a list updating more than half a dozen current development applications within the ward boundaries of Dundas at last week’s community council meeting, committee member Larry Button suggested many of the construction projects require official plan and zoning bylaw amendments which could have impacts across the community.

“The concern seems to be, all of them in aggregate can have an impact on the character of the town,” said Mr. Button, a resident of Dundas for over 50 years. “There are different concerns with each – traffic, the natural environment, the built environment.”

In fact, no corner of Dundas has been spared ongoing construction, planning applications, or at least consultation with city planners. Other available sites offer unknown development opportunities. And the former town’s once enforced limits on building heights will apparently have no impact.

Mr. Button said the issues being discussed by residents go beyond concerns about new development in their own neighbourhoods, but how the former town as a whole will look in a few years.

“I’m telling people: take advantage of your opportunities as citizens to participate in the process,” he said.

Among 15 projects at various stages of consideration, application, review or construction are the seven Mr. Powers updated at last week’s community council meeting. He’s also posted details of those applications on his website ( www.russpowers.com ).

Applications for two nine-storey Villa Estates residential buildings near Governor’s Road and Ogilvie Street, totalling 208 units, are under review. Across the street, nearly 300 more units at Spencer Creek Village are being built. Height bylaw changes to allow the development are impacting current proposals, including the Villa Estates plan, as Mr. Powers explained last week.

“It’s going to be an ugly issue,” he said, adding the former town’s limit of six storeys was amended to nine to support the Spencer Creek brownfield redevelopment –setting a precedent for future construction.

City staff and two provincial ministries are studying applications to build 760 units in the middle of Pleasant View, near York and Valley roads.

In another corner of town, more than 100 residential units have been applied for in two separate projects, at the former Dundas District School and a lot at 24 Brock St. N.

The proposals aren’t just residential. Planning consultations have started for a big box store downtown.

An empty lot once home to a Shell gas station is expected to be sold soon and the historic post office building in the middle of Dundas will be sold by Canada Post in a few months. An application to build a storage facility in Cootes Paradise, on King Street East at Olympic Drive, was rejected by the City of Hamilton and has been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Jason Thompson, a senior project manager of development planning for the city of Hamilton, agreed his department has received “quite a few” development applications in Dundas lately.

Mr. Thompson said different areas of the city seem to become a focus for development at particular times. Last year it was Flamborough, and right now it's Dundas.

He said there’s no city planning policy that accounts for the current development push in Dundas, but suggested it’s a case of developers taking advantage of timing and opportunity, getting planning amendments and other details worked out during a slow construction period so they will be ready to build when the economy improves.
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