Edmonton

Proposed apartment complex meets resistance from some Westmount residents

A six-storey, multi-unit housing complex pitched for the Westmount neighbourhood is getting pushback from some residents of the centrally located Edmonton community.

Six-storey, multi-unit complex proposed for Stony Plain Road and 128th Street

The proposed 6-storey complex at 10504 128 Street in Westmount fits in the city's plan for denser residences near public transit. (Dualita Architecture)

A six-storey, multi-unit housing complex pitched for the Westmount neighbourhood is getting pushback from some residents of the centrally located Edmonton community.

A public hearing is planned for Jan. 25 into the RedLine Construction proposal to build the medium-rise, multi-unit housing on the corner of Stony Plain Road and 128th Street.

The development requires the lot to be rezoned from its current single detached residential designation to one allowing a medium-rise apartment. 

Coun. Anne Stevenson, whose O-day'min ward includes the area, said she's had letters from more than 30 residents concerned about the building's potential impact on the neighbourhood. 

"It's very valid to not want to see a neighborhood that you love change in a way that you weren't anticipating," Stevenson said Friday. 

Too high 

Residents are worried about increased traffic and the building's height, which they say will overshadow surrounding single-detached homes. 

"Undeniably there's an impact to most adjacent neighbours, but looking at it throughout the year, it doesn't leave any areas in perpetual shadow," Stevenson said. 

In a report released last week, city planners say they approve of the infill project, as it fits the city's vision for denser neighbourhoods built around transit.

The complex would be within five blocks of two future West Valley Line LRT stops, along with being to cycle facilities on 127th Street and frequent bus services on 107th Avenue and 124th Street, the report says. 

The building fits in with the city's plan for 50 per cent of new units in mature neighbourhoods to be infill and density focused along key nodes and corridors.

Policy and reality

Situate Inc., a consulting group, submitted the application on behalf of RedLine Construction last year. 

Chelsey Jersak, founder and principal planner of Situate Inc., said the project is meant to provide housing that is affordable to average people compared to other kinds of infill such as skinny homes, which started skyrocketing in price a few years ago. 

"It's really important for infill and our urban redevelopment to become more affordable so that more people have it as a housing option," Jersak said in an interview Friday.

The target market for the 50 to 55 units, including one and two-bedroom apartments, is young professionals, people looking to downsize, or people wanting to live close to downtown, Jersak said. 

"We're trying to bring in something that would be a reasonable fit into the neighborhood, understanding that any change is a significant change," Jersak said. 

Jersak noted the city classifies Stony Plain Road as a major corridor. As such, it's deemed appropriate for medium- to high-rise construction. 

"We're trying to balance how do we grow into a small-big city, and there's some growing pains associated with that."

Stevenson said residents' concerns highlight the challenges people have transitioning from policy to reality. 

"It's easy to imagine a different future but when it comes time to that future arriving next door or on your block, it's really difficult," she said. 

Westmount residents have opposed housing projects in the past, including a permanent supportive housing complex that's currently being built. 

If council agrees the lot should be rezoned to the medium-rise apartment zone, it would also make way for a variety of residential and commercial spaces — not just market units. 

It would allow supportive housing, lodging homes, and commercial options at ground level like child care services, convenience stores and specialty food services. 

Stevenson said she expects many of the three dozen people who sent her letters will present their concerns at the Jan. 25 hearing. 

@natashariebe

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