Seniors’ complex still unpopular

Dave Bartlett
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Developer gets some support at public meeting

Development proponent Sean Callahan (left) and William Callahan listen closely during a public hearing at St. John’s city hall Thursday night. Callahan is seeking rezoning in a Kilbride residential neighbourhood to allow construction of a seniors’ assisted-living complex. — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Both sides came armed with documents and presentations, ready to do battle.

But judging by the applause at a public meeting at St. John’s City Hall Thursday night, the majority of the 100 or so in attendance were against a seniors’ assisted-living complex for the Richmond Hill area of Kilbride.

Seanic Canada Inc. has proposed a three-storey, 69 bed complex between Carondale Drive, Doresy’s Lane and Old Petty Harbour Road.

Project appealed in court

Council turned down the proposal in November 2010, but Seanic went to court arguing it didn’t give sufficient planning reasons, nor did it let the company complete a traffic study before the vote.

Lawyer Michael Crosbie represented Seanic in court and spoke on its behalf Thursday.

His presentation lasted about a half hour and many in the room seemed to be impatient, some murmering disapprovals.

Room called to order

Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff, who presided over the meeting, did have to ask Crosbie to speed things up.

But she also had to ask people to let Crosbie finish as the chatter in the room drowned him out at times.

Crosbie contended seniors’ facilities generate small amounts of traffic and that the city’s municipal plan endorses flexible zoning and encourage more density in residential zones.

He also pointed to the dire need for seniors’ housing.

“If it can’t be put here, where can it be put?” he asked.

Crosbie said seniors’ housing should be in residential neighbourhoods and that the elderly shouldn’t be religated to “institutional ghettos.”

Some in the crowd called that comment “low” and “dirty.”

Letters of support tabled

Crosbie also tabled 125 letters of support for the project.

Once Crosbie finished, Dwayne Mills had a Powerpoint presentation on behalf of residents.

Site not suitable, says opponent

He outlined a plethora of concerns from traffic and a lack of parking, to noise from emergency and commercial vehicles, safety due to a dangerous intersection nearby and a lack of sidewalks.

He also said the site simply isn’t suitable for a seniors complex.

But Mills also asked about the time it will take to build.

“Should the residents ... have to endure two plus years of dirt and dust — impacting air quality — blasting, excavation and construction noise?” he asked. “During the construction period are we citizens or are we hostages?”

Sarah Colborne-Penney also spoke on behalf on neighbours and received loud applause.

“When you can’t rely on logic you rely on emotion. The introduction of seniors to this matter is a red herring,” she said.

Colbourne-Penney said her concerns included safety and increased runoff — as the current green space acts as a sponge for rainwater.

She ended by asking council to put a freeze on development in the area until Old Petty Harbour Road can be properly realigned to address the dangerous intersection.

Colborne-Penney noted a pedestrian has already been killed there.

A number of others also spoke out against the plan, but Seanic had some support.

Two woman — Jane Morgan and Cathy Sheehan — said they work with seniors and pleaded with the neighbours to reconsider their opposition.

“St. John’s needs more projects like this and I see it daily,” said Morgan.

“Open your eyes people, please do, and don’t say not in my backyard,” added Sheehan.

Ward 5 Coun. Wally Collins, who represents the area, stood to say he won’t support the project.

“You’d have to hate your grandmother to put her up on that hill, as far as I’m concerned,” he said to more applause.

City traffic engineer Robin King did tell the meeting that regardless if council approved the development or not, a new traffic light will be installed in the area to address  existing concerns.

Council will likely vote on Seanic’s proposal March 5.

 

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Kilbride.Seanic Canada, Powerpoint

Geographic location: Richmond Hill, Petty Harbour Road

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Recent comments

  • Frank
    February 24, 2012 - 15:30

    Congratulations Residents of Richmond Hill! Stealing the title of Most Reviled neighbourhood in Newfoundland away from Paradise is no mean feat! Oh wait, actually it is quite literally a mean feat.

  • Christina
    February 24, 2012 - 13:22

    I completely understand people's support of building seniors’ accommodations. I live in the neighbourhood in question and have many neighbours who are seniors in their 60s, 70s and 80s. Quite frankly, if there were a choice of high density housing - this would be THE BEST option. We and our small children love the seniors who live around us and spend time with them regularly. They are surrogate grandparents to our kids. However, the senior's complex is a RED HERRING in this argument. The developer bough this land in 2004 and first proposed a HIGH-END CONDO development. This is about MAKING MONEY! When the condo wouldn't fly with the residents or the city, the developer came up with the idea for the assisted-living complex. This brings in all the charged emotions associated with seniors’ issues and chance to vilify anyone who opposes the development. GOOD DEVELOPER STRATEGY. If you were at the meeting and heard the inflammatory language from the proponent, you would have a better feeling for the situation. The main criticism of the site choice is that it is virtually inaccessible by foot unless you are a mountain goat (good luck to seniors who want to go for a walk or if there is a snow storm and ambulance access is needed) and there are no amenities around (save the Tim Horton’s which we already have by the way). Please come have a look, do your homework, then judge the homeowners! This is about REZONING – not about being against seniors!

    • Christopher Chafe
      February 24, 2012 - 14:41

      Correct me if I am wrong but didn't several of your elitist neighbors go on the evening news broadcasts and specifically state that a "senior's complex" would be detrimental to their return profit should they choose to sell their property? So let's call a spade a spade.... also your neighborhood were also very vocally opposed to a country concert held at bowering park back in the 90's, also correct me if I am wrong but wasn't RIchmond Hill also against the Tim Horton's? So come on and please prove me wrong, somehow I doubt you will.

  • marcus
    February 24, 2012 - 12:06

    I am somewhat familar with the proposal and don't know the developer but sense that the area residents are making exaggerated statements about the potential negative effects of this low impact development. Lets get on with it!!

  • Michelle
    February 24, 2012 - 10:55

    I just can't believe the opposition to this development. I have a young family and live directly behind a large seniors' complex in the metro area . I have nothing but praise for the residents and their guests . By no means do the activities of these residents interfere with my life in a negative way. The seniors don't make any noise, or otherwise do anything to bother us. You barely know they are there, for god's sake! In a spate of fine weather you might encounter several of them out for a walk, but that's it. I really don't understand what the problem is- you really have nothing to fear from this development.

  • True Kilbrider - Born & Raised
    February 24, 2012 - 09:21

    Good God People - obviously some of you are "newcomers" to the area or know nothing about it. A large majority of Kilbride residents are retiree's and soon will probably need this facility to get them through their last days/months/years - if some of them had to sell her houses, etc. wouldn't it be nice if they could stay in the area they know and love. It's a SENIORS COMPLEX people - really!!! Get a Grip! Someday you might need a place to live and grow old in!

  • Mike
    February 24, 2012 - 08:40

    Where are the comments from all the people who dumped on Paradise residents for opposing the construction of the new mental health facility in their neighbourhood? They were lambasted on this site and others for having concerns. Hypocrisy lives on.

  • sealcove
    February 24, 2012 - 08:31

    What a wonderful way to treat seniors, Such warm hearts

  • dee gee
    February 24, 2012 - 08:17

    What would these people say about the youth addiction centre that's going in Paradise in a residential neigbourhood ?Get over it people it's a senior complex ,it's your parents and grandparents . But you got to look at the neighbourhood it's going in. Richmond Hill!!! Look at the flack the Paradise people (who spoke against the centre) took over the addiction centre. Again it's a seniors complex which some of the people complaining may have to use one of these days.

  • Sean
    February 24, 2012 - 07:39

    I'm no expert on the pros and cons of this particular development application, but I think we need a clear planning policy statement from Council that every neighbourhood in the city needs housing options for all stages of life, including the senior's assisted living option. Any Councillors who want to vote against this development should first determine with City planning staff whether there are alternative locations within the immediate area which could host such a development.

    • Eli
      February 24, 2012 - 08:00

      I don't have an opinion on this matter but I do know there's just too much of this discretionary development in St. John's. People who buy in a residential area are entitled to have just that, not helter-skelter add-ons down the road.

    • Christopher Chafe
      February 24, 2012 - 08:13

      How the hell is a senior complex a helter-skelter add-on. Good god man.....why don't they put a 24 karet gold gate at the entrance of Richmond Hill and have to be buzzed in to gain entrance.

  • Jeremiah
    February 24, 2012 - 07:30

    Too hell with what the neighbourhood wants or needs! To hell with the negative effect this development will have on a lifetime investment in property! The main thing is to keep this greedy, self serving developer happy. Yeah, right!

    • Christopher Chafe
      February 24, 2012 - 08:10

      How in the name of God, is it greedy to want to put a Seniors complex amongst the elite of Kilbride. As cruel as this sounds, I honestly hope that when the time comes for some of these elitest individuals to go in a senior's home they are tranported to some isolated bay island!

  • Kent
    February 24, 2012 - 06:51

    I get a kick out of people who once they scoop up their little piece of suburbia they don't want anyone else in behind them. The fact is all the people complaining were also once newcomers to that area themselves; and not that long ago I might add. They’re worried about population increases??? Wake up? It's 2012? Population increase is inevitable. Who do they think they are trying to exclude other people from entering the community? This is only a senior’s complex; it's not a crack house! Get a gripe! If they don’t like traffic, progress or buildings that are more than two storey’s then move out around the bay.

  • sammyh
    February 24, 2012 - 06:40

    Collins says you would have to hate your grandmother to put her up there! Dont say much for the area nor the people living there according to him.