“The city planning department is giving a handful of developers permission to build on the waterfront whatever they want, whenever they want.”

Dan Appell — October 4, 2010
“A base height up to 8 storeys above Stewart Avenue is specified for the Medium High Density Waterfront designation. Additional height may be supported as part of a rezoning and development approvals process where a proposed development provides additional amenities . . . “ (Draft Newcastle+Brechin Community Plan)

The city planning department is giving a handful of developers permission to build on the waterfront whatever they want, whenever they want.

The planning department is abdicating its responsibility as planners to the detriment of the whole community. This is so negligent that we must ask ourselves what is the point of having a planning department at all or, at least, what is the point of employing these planners?

Instead of the best planning practices, we are getting a form of bureaucratic fascism that works against the interests of the city, to the benefit of a handful of developers. Why should we pay these people their salaries, benefits and pensions, when, clearly, they are not working for us?

Brechin Hill is an established single-family neighbourhood, valued by its residents for its unique and diverse qualities. Their community has many of the patterns that make a traditional neighbourhood: clear boundaries, a commercial centre (Terminal Mall), a balanced mix of housing, marinas, schools and churches, recreation amenities, shopping and work places.

If Newcastle+Brechin grow at their present rate their population will double by the year 2084. If growth matches the projected growth of the city (8% every five years) then the population will double by the year 2052. This is not a high rate of growth and it is not beyond the capacity of the area to support with only a minimal upgrade to existing services.

The current OCP zoning with only 3 storeys allowed on Stewart Ave. and higher density residential along Terminal Avenue would easily accommodate quadruple the population in the area. The zoning proposed by the draft planning document would increase that capacity for no other reason then to appease a few developers. The rest of the planning document is fantasy construction designed to deflect and misrepresent the neighbourhood plan so that the ridiculous new zoning looks reasonable.

We must control the scale of development and the rate of development to match a realistic projection of growth. We must direct development towards the shopping centre, where access to services do not involve a reliance on cars. And we must protect or improve the amenities which make this neighbourhood a safe and attractive place to live, work and raise families. We citizens have to do this as volunteers, because our so called,”hard working and professional” planning department won’t.