tp-edm-st-albert-council

People packed St. Albert city hall Monday to voice their opinions on a proposed affordable housing project. ((CBC))

A townhouse development proposed for St. Albert's Akinsdale neighbourhood is too dense and will cause too many problems for residents, city councillors were told at a public hearing Monday night.

The 58-unit affordable housing project has been proposed by Habitat for Humanity and Apollo Developments on a three-acre vacant plot of land.  Fifteen of the units will be set aside for people who qualify to live in homes built by Habitat for Humanity. 

About 175 people packed into St. Albert City Hall to give their opinion to councillors on the project.

Resident Wylie Simmonds watched the meeting on a TV monitor put up in city hall lobby to handle the overflow. Simmonds is opposed to the development because he believes it puts too many people in one spot.

"It's like a ghetto that they're going to drop in the middle of the neighbourhood," Simmonds said.

Area resident Vic Rock also worried about the number of units proposed for the development.

"With that comes a lot of automobiles and cars and it was brought up also that the children in the morning going to school with all those cars backing up and going, it could be a safety hazard," he told CBC News.

While many people voiced concerns to council, Irene Harvey spoke in support of the proposal, telling councillors that St. Albert needs to increase its density.

"We need to build up and not out, in order to decrease our residential taxes," she told councillors. "I encourage council to make the right decision."

Simon O'Byrne, a representative from project consultant Stantec, said the development would help diversify the housing stock in the city and boost the number of school-age children in the area. It would make more affordable housing available in St. Albert.

"It is estimated that 2100 to 3400 households in St. Albert are in need of affordable housing," O'Byrne said.

The public hearing on the project will continue on March 23.