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LETTER: Reader urges council to sharply reduce tower proposal's height

'We need to develop responsibly with the vision to protect our waterfront,' says Barrie resident
2020-06-08 Bradford four towers 1
A developer is proposing to build four towers along Bradford Street in the area of Checkley Street and Lakeshore Drive near Barrie's waterfront. Image supplied

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 from Barrie resident Cathy Colebatch in response to a story published Dec. 1, titled ''Largest development in city’s history' gets initial approval from council'.

How high is too high? What is in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood? Not 46 storeys.

On Monday, Dec. 7, our city council will vote on whether to allow an Official Plan and zoning-bylaw amendment that would allow four large towers ranging from 25 to 46 storeys tall.

This is the largest development in our history.

This land has sat vacant far to long.

This proposal has merits: hotel rooms, amenities, cash in lieu of parkland (we need more parkland, not less), increased tax revenue, jobs, housing, creating a vibrant community. 

Barrie's waterfront is unique. We need to develop responsibly with the vision to protect our waterfront.

Sixty-three folks attended the neighbourhood meeting, 40 called in to the virtual public meeting, 28 wrote submissions, and hundreds of comments were made on social media, most related to height.

Residents in this city are not happy with this proposal, because of the height.

Is anyone listening? Will our councillors listen to their constituents and perhaps bring forward an amendment to reduce the height to protect our waterfront and actually fit into the context of the neighbourhood?

Three of the four towers ranging from 36 to 46 storeys could be reduced in height. I believe most folks knowing that the current zoning allows for 24 storeys would be happy if the largest tower was reduced to 24 storeys and the others ranged in height from 16 to 24 storeys.

I seriously believe you would get buy-in from residents. This would still intensify the area, fit in with the HIP proposal at 20 storeys, and reduce shadow effects.

Most importantly, it would bring a cohesive look around our waterfront. 

I would also like to point out that during studies and surveys on, at no time did anyone say they wanted buildings this tall around the waterfront.

I would ask that perhaps someone should do a poll to Barrie residents, simply asking for their opinion.

We also need to define and cap height of our tall-building policies in the Official Plan.

Cathy Colebatch