Condo owners wary of proposed apartments

Daniel MacEachern
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Public meeting tonight on Blackmarsh Road development

The future neighbours of a planned apartment and rowhouses development off Blackmarsh Road plan to fight it at a public meeting tonight.

Ray Hopkins

Ray Hopkins, vice-president of the Meadows Condominium Corp., which represents 49 condo residents next to the land where Karwood Estates hopes to build two apartment buildings with 96 total units and 10 rowhouses, said the project will add more people and cars than the area can handle, especially considering nearby Westfield, currently building Phase 3 of a development that will eventually total 244 units. There’s already another condo development, Westview Village, north of the Meadows, noted Hopkins.

“We decided to live there because of the amenities that are there close to us,” said Hopkins, who said residents of the Meadows condos are 50 years old and up.  Columbus (Drive) is just a few hundred yards down Captain Whelan (Drive), so we can get on to the hospital.

“The 60-unit one is practically going to be in our backyard, so to speak, right on our boundary line. They’re going to take out all the trees there.”

Adding more than 100 homes to the area will cause too many traffic headaches, he said, as Westfield and now Karwood’s project add residents and vehicles to the area. Hopkins said he’s also concerned about the strain on city amenities like the sewer system, and snowclearing.

“From looking at their diagram, there’s no free space there, with the buildings and the parking lots,” he said. “We don’t think they’ve got anywhere to put any snow whatsoever.”

Karwood’s Jim Ford says that’s Karwood’s problem, and noted the issues raised so far are “the same old not-in-my-backyard” problems.

“There’s a street there that will be a public street, and the city will take care of that,” said Ford, the manager of Karwood’s commercial division. “The snowclearing on our properties, we’re responsible for. We have to get rid of it, so obviously we will be hiring someone to clear the parking areas, and they’ll use snow storage on each side of the parking stalls, the same as any other.”

As for traffic, said Ford, Karwood has bought land to create more access points, including through Westfield. “I’m not a traffic engineer, but I think traffic impact will be very minimal.”

City staff agrees with Karwood. The planning department report on the project says “there are no traffic issues identified” with the rezoning, and says any infrastructure upgrading needed for sewer services would be done at Karwood’s expense.

Coun. Tom Hann, chairman of the city’s planning and development committee, says a land-use assessment report isn’t required for Karwood’s development, as it’s “relatively small.”

“However, what needs to be considered here is that it is in a residential high-density zone,” said Hann. “If they’re concerned about traffic, there’s two access points, which will split the traffic flow. Our engineers looked at it and said at this point in time there are no concerns.”

Eventually, Blackmarsh Road is going to be reconfigured, said Hann, and much of the road’s out-of-town traffic — from Paradise and Mount Pearl — will be diverted. “Once the Team Gushue highway is finished, all of that traffic will bypass Blackmarsh Road,” he said.

The public meeting is happening tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. at the Kilbride Lions Community Centre, 38 Fahey St.

Organizations: Meadows Condominium, Kilbride Lions Community Centre

Geographic location: Blackmarsh Road, Westview Village, Mount Pearl

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Recent comments

  • Marshall Art
    June 04, 2014 - 12:00

    'They're going to take out all the trees there' ? Where do these whiners think they are, in Miami Beach mansion country ?

    • a business man
      June 05, 2014 - 06:16

      These people are taxpayers, and they have the right to oppose the project publically, and to pursue their own best interests.

  • Glenn Stockley
    June 04, 2014 - 08:08

    good old Newfoundland neighbourliness....dwl...

  • Tim
    June 04, 2014 - 07:32

    With all due respect Ray I resided in the area where Meadows Condominiums were built and we had the same concerns about your project. Not only regarding density but bringing down the value of our single family dwelling. We relented and moved. You sir are residing in an area that contains a tract of land that is prime for development. There is a significant need for affordable housing and the Blackmarsh Road area is the target. Welcome to the jungle

    • Black Ink
      June 04, 2014 - 10:13

      It would almost be worth your time to attend the meeting and inform the NIMBYs that they are a bunch of hypocrites. Their little village is not exactly wide-open-spaces either!

  • Elizabeth
    June 04, 2014 - 07:30

    I wish the city would install tole booths along the roads that WE city tax payers are paying for. All the construction of new roads and highways for who??? People from out of the city should be contributing something towards the cost of all of this.

    • Ken Collis
      June 04, 2014 - 14:42

      Elizabeth, who exactly do you think is keeping all the businesses in town afloat? Are all the townies renting the hotel rooms in St. John's? Are you guys renting all the cars, buying all the groceries, eating in all the restaurants, etc... There is a reason all the big stores on Torbay Road and Kelsey Drive are located with easy access to the highway. It's because half their sales are from out of town, and these businesses pay city taxes.

  • Elizabeth
    June 04, 2014 - 07:29

    I wish the city would install tole booths along the roads that WE city tax payers are paying for. All the construction of new roads and highways for who??? People from out of the city should be contributing something towards the cost of all of this.

    • @ Elizabeth
      June 04, 2014 - 09:18

      You mean the road that the Provincial Government is paying for and that is fully contained within the City limits of St. John's. You should get your facts straight.

    • McLovin
      June 04, 2014 - 10:05

      Elizabeth, I have no problems with what you are suggesting, provided you are prepared to pay your share for roads you drive on that aren't in St. John's.

  • Fred
    June 04, 2014 - 06:24

    St John's city council only cares about money. They don't give a hoot about the mess they make. I sometimes look around and marvel at the "plan" they have instituted in different parts of the city. There is no by-law (yet) which states that all of the houses in the city must be at most 10 feet apart!

  • Mundy
    June 04, 2014 - 05:58

    When is the Team Gushue highway instruction going to start again? This is the 2nd year now with no activity. Ran out of money?

  • W Bagg
    June 04, 2014 - 04:41

    yeah, the traffic engineer/ planners have done a great job around the city, look at Stavanger as a shining example of a more recent well planned out area. I have the utmost confidence in their abilities