Condo owners wary of proposed apartments

Public meeting tonight on Blackmarsh Road development

Daniel MacEachern
Published on June 4, 2014
Ray Hopkins

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

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.