The City of Kitchener is undertaking a review of the Secondary Plans for the Central Neighbourhoods:
- Cedar Hill and Schneider Creek
- Civic Centre
- King Street East
- K-W Hospital/Midtown
- Mill Courtland Woodside Park
- Victoria Park
- Victoria Street
The meeting on December 9th was to inform residents of changes to their zoning and to hear from residents about the changes. Over 4,000 letters were sent to residents who were informed that they needed to provide written comments by December 9, 2019.
The Council Chamber was packed to overflowing and about 30 delegations presented their views.
Below are the slides and speaking notes presented by Gail Pool
I am a resident of Victoria Park inside the Heritage Conservation District
SLIDE 2: Covers of Design for Central Neighbourhoods
The document presented in February for a design charette was entitled: Design for Central Neighbourhoods (dated February 14, 2019)
A revised title appeared a few days later: Design for Residential Infill in Central Neighbourhoods
The word “infill” was added by Planning Staff, suggesting a direction for our neighbourhood.
We in Victoria Park worry that infill and high rise developments surrounding us will have very negative impacts.
SLIDE 3: Image of Central Park
The re-named document states that we will have “pockets of low-rise, historical residential neighbourhoods” around the city centre.
(Design for Residential Infill in Central Neighbourhoods, p. 1)
SLIDE 4: Map of Central Kitchener (Urban Design Manual, Downtown, p. 10)
I am concerned with the phrase “pockets of low-rise… neighbourhoods.”
The core is surrounded by low-rise neighbourhoods dating back to the 19th century — everywhere on this map in light green.
If there is a pocket, it is the downtown core.
It is essential to have buffers to protect the low-rise historic districts.
Two houses were demolished next to Schneider Haus and six houses on Mill Street have no protection despite meeting criteria for heritage status under Reg. 09/06 of the Heritage Act.
Low rise, historic districts near downtown Kitchener are valuable because they give a sense of who we are and our history.
And our history attracts tourists from all over.
Following discussions with residents of Victoria Park, we need:
- Protection within and adjacent to the Victoria Park Heritage Conservation District
- Transitions between the high and low density areas
- Adequate park and open space
SLIDE 5: Image of area at David and Joseph
Specifically, the area at David and Joseph is at risk. Proposed zoning is MIX 2, allowing a 6 storey building.
Currently, there are low-rise homes and a parking lot owned by the city. Here is an opportunity to downgrade the area to Low Rise Residential Limited, in accordance with Section 16 of the Draft Secondary Plan Land Use Policies.
Alternatively, it could be zoned OR-1, or park space, which we need more of in light of the many new condos being built nearby.
SLIDE 6 View from Park with high rises
Do we want the park to look like this?
SLIDE 7: High rises at Charles/Gaukel/Joseph and Ontario
Page 11 of the Urban Design Manual, Downtown, shows five high-rise buildings in the Charles and Gaukel area.
We need to protect zones close to the park, not build on them.
The former bus terminal could be turned into a plaza or an extension of the park.
Another example is on Michael Street.
SLIDE 8: Image of Ukrainian Catholic Church and Centre
Here, the Ukrainian Church and Catholic Centre are at risk.
Currently zoned I-1, Neighbourhood Institutional, it is proposed to be MIX 3, allowing an 8 storey high-rise.
This is inside the Victoria Park Heritage Conservation District!
High-rises should not be built in heritage districts.
Rather, this could be a parkette for the three high-rises built or under construction right across the street.
SLIDE 9: Image of Homewood/Iron Horse Trail
Another area of concern is Homewood street, which currently has no protection because it is outside the Heritage District.
Some homes here have 300-foot lot depths.
A few houses could be bought and a high rise put there….
As is proposed on Mill Street.
We need to be very cautious planning within and around old neighbourhood districts.
SLIDE 10: List of Victoria Park Issues
Finally, Victoria Park residents engaged in a design charette in February organized by the City of Kitchener.
Here are some of their ideas.
- What I am suggesting is a plan that better protects low-rise established neighbourhoods and provides essential park and open space for all residents.
- In short, only four storey building should be allowed in established neighbourhoods.