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LETTER: Council needs to reconsider multi-tower 'monstrosity'

'It is really not necessary, and certainly not desirable, to have every piece of vacant property covered in concrete,' says Barrie residents
2020-12-06 Bradford Street tower proposal RB 4
SmartCentres has proposed a multi-tower project on this vacant property along Bradford Street near Barrie's waterfront. Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to a story titled 'Key decisions on contentious tower proposal to be made Monday night' published on Dec. 5. 

I have been following the progress of various proposals to develop the vacant property on Lakeshore Drive facing the marina and Centennial Beach for several years. This latest proposal is by far the most objectionable of them all.

The articles appearing on the BarrieToday email recently are most disturbing.

I posted comments on one of the articles last week and hoped that council would see the light and reject the application, or at least require a significant downsizing before further consideration.

I was deeply disappointed that a decision was taken to stick their collective heads in the sand and allow the proposal to advance to the next stage — not an acceptable decision!

I have read the open letter to council posted Sunday on the BarrieToday website and am in complete agreement with what has been said. I also offer the following personal comments, which I believe are in tune with the majority of constituents living in the area. I would not be adverse to having this letter forwarded to council as well.

There have been two public meetings that I am aware of to discuss this project in the past year. The only positive comments made on this development came from the developers. The developers’ pretty drawings of their planned development always look idyllic, but never end up looking that way in the flesh when they are completed!

I don’t believe there is anyone living in this area that is in favour of having such a monstrosity planted in the midst of the recently completed multi-million dollar park/recreation/beach/marina development along Lakeshore Drive.

The facilities along the lakeshore are already grossly overcrowded especially during the spring, summer and fall months; competition for parking spots in the entire area has nearly become a blood sport, and driving along Lakeshore Drive is a zoo at the best of times.

And council is contemplating allowing a development that would put another how many thousand people and their cars into this mix on a full-time basis? Insane!

In my opinion, the planning department and council need to have a long, hard look at all the implications (roads, traffic, parking, crowd control, utilities, etc., in addition to the multi-year disruptions to the neighbouring community during construction ) of allowing such a high-density development next to a conservation area, across the road from an already very busy recreation/park complex, and with another new high-density development proposed just across the road to the west facing Bradford Street.

This proposed development is completely out of keeping with the other condominium facilities along Lakeshore Drive. The limitations on building height, density, etc., were included in the Official Plan and zoning bylaw for good reason, and should not be modified just to satisfy some developer’s lust for profits.

What is the benefit to the community around this development? Remember, it is council’s job to make decisions that are in the best interest of their constituents. It is really not necessary, and certainly not desirable, to have every piece of vacant property covered in concrete to a height that blocks the sun and becomes a dangerous obstacle to migrating birds.

If the negative impacts of this development outweigh the benefits (assuming any can be found), then the answer must be no! 

If you need a refresher on what a development like the one proposed can do to a neighbourhood, just take a ride to Square One in Mississauga or along the lakeshore in Toronto – both are good examples of a concrete jungle just like the one being proposed for the Barrie waterfront! Is that what we want for our waterfront? I would say a resounding no!

Don and Elaine Hotchkiss