New Brunswick

Fredericton council allows micro-apartments on Waterloo Row

Fredericton City Council is making room for 162 new micro-apartments on Waterloo Row that are expected to be built next spring.    

162 new units are expected to be built next spring

A conceptual drawing of the proposed micro-apartment complex on Waterloo Row. The footprint of the building will be about the size of a 48 average condo unit, but will contain 130 to 162 small apartments. (City of Fredericton)

Fredericton city council is making room for 162 new micro-apartments on Waterloo Row that are expected to be built next spring.    

City councillors voted in favour of the controversial development at 650 Waterloo Row during Tuesday night's city council meeting. 

The development between Waterloo Row and Forest Hill Road will have one five-storey building with about 132 units and one three-storey building with 30 units.

The company behind the project, Micro Boutique Living Inc., has constructed similar micro-units in Wolfville and Antigonish, N.S.

Coun. Eric Megarity, who represents south Devon, Barkers Point and lower St. Mary's, said Fredericton needs this type of development.

Coun. Eric Megarity says the city is growing and needs this type of development project. (Gary Moore/CBC)

"We're growing and we've got people from outside the city willing to invest in our city to make us a better city," Megarity said.  

"If we put too many roadblocks up, they'll go somewhere else." 

2 councillors against the plan

But not everyone was as enthusiastic about a plan, which had already raised concerns in the neighbourhood.

Councillors Eric Price and Kate Rogers voted against changes to the zoning bylaw. 

Rogers said she supports the construction of micro-apartments in the city but not in the proposed location. 

"This is exactly the direction we need to go in, but it is not a wonderful development for this area we're looking at rezoning," Rogers said during Tuesday night's council meeting. 

Coun. Kate Rogers says she supports the construction of micro-apartments in Fredericton, but not along Waterloo Row. (Maria Jose Burgos/CBC)

Some councillors said the proximity to the city's downtown makes the location appealing, but Rogers disagreed. 

"The truth of the matter is they're really not," she said.

She said it's about a half-hour walk to downtown from that particular location.

"I think it's not quite as convenient as what's being sold." 

In late October, more than 28 people in the neighbourhood asked city hall to take a closer look at the proposal. Residents expressed concerns about increased traffic and their properties becoming flooded with runoff. 

Area split in two

The area being considered for development is split in two by a stream, which residents said becomes a raging torrent that overwhelms culverts during heavy rain. The two apartment buildings would be located on either side of the stream.

Rogers hopes council will pay attention in future to the environmental concerns connected to rezoning that area.

She said development will require numerous trees to be cut down, meaning there will be fewer roots to soak up water during rainy weather.

"Water goes where it wants to go and right now it is flowing down that slope, and I think it's going to be hard-pressed to stop," Rogers said.

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