Urban sprawl a problem for C.B.S. too

Published on June 19, 2014

Housing density, urban sprawl and suburban traffic woes — three issues with as many or more possible solutions depending on where you live.

The City of St. John’s recently rezoned land and approved a 27-unit development in the city’s east end. The development is not sitting well with area residents because of its density and impact on the area.  

In defence of the approval, Coun. Tom Hann commented that the city should get used to higher residential density instead of increased urban sprawl which costs so much to service and maintain.

Two prime examples of urban and more suburban sprawl are Conception Bay South and neighbouring Paradise, both growing at unprecedented rates.

It is not surprising that around the same time there was discussion in the city about density to solve housing demand, suburbia’s elected officials were talking about traffic problems.

Paradise residents are complaining about delays caused by road construction, which includes work to add two lanes to alleviate traffic problems near an elementary school.

It was then revealed during public discussion on the traffic problems in Paradise that the four-lane highway — Route 2 — from C.B.S. could be linked to Paradise to allow that town’s commuters to get on our road.

That news then prompted our Mayor Ken McDonald to respond that if Paradise wants to connect to our part of Route 2, then there will have to be another lane built to accommodate all those extra vehicles. After all, people who live in C.B.S. just want to get on that road to get to and from work without having to contend with more traffic — which will be the case if we add the Paradise commuters to the mix.

There will be traffic and more of it as people continue to opt to move to the suburbs in Paradise and C.B.S. for less expensive housing, and continue to work and play in the city.

Back to Coun. Hann’s comment about reducing urban sprawl. He is right. We need to get used to higher-density living. With Canadians leaving rural areas for cities, higher-density housing is not a far-fetched idea to address housing needs. Townhouses and condos are being built in St. John’s because there is demand for them.

If only we could get more of his thinking out here in C.B.S. We just continue to spread out with more houses into areas once thought to be undevelopable. Almost all the housing is detached single family because like in St. John’s, any mention of higher-density housing usually generates neighbhourhood resistance.

Of course, higher density here in C.B.S. will not alleviate traffic, but may reduce the sprawl that is taking over much of our open space and of course adding extra costs for infrastructure and maintenance.

Building more highways for urban sprawl sounds like an easy fix and can alleviate traffic woes in the short term, but we should be paying closer attention to Coun. Hann’s comments on urban sprawl, and the need for higher density housing.

Walking for Wellness

The Town of C.B.S. is finally starting to offer some recreation programs for its older adults.

A Walking for Wellness program, which begins June 25 is a free program for older adults to allow them to explore our town’s trails, meet new people and stay active.

Each week during the summer, there will be three- to four-kilometre walks starting from points such as the Kelligrews Kiwanis Club and Topsail Anglican Church. There will be a group leader at each location.

Call 834-6534 or email recreation@conceptionbaysouth.ca for details such as the walk routes, times and parking locations.

Joan Butler is a lifelong resident of Kelligrews, Conception Bay South. She can be reached by email at joanbutler@ymail.com.