I’m writing in response to the profile of Joan Fowler (“Longtime St. John’s resident fears rezoning would allow more commercial development to encroach”) and her letter to the editor (“This neighbourhood is worth fighting for”) published in the Aug. 30th edition of The Telegram. I was impressed with the depth of Ms. Fowler’s commitment to preserving what’s great about her neighbourhood, including how she worked to prevent the expansion of a commercial parking lot.
The proposed construction at St. Joseph’s Lane is different from that earlier conflict. Rather than destroying a park for the sake of more business-oriented parking spots, the developers propose to add 14 new homes, and are seeking to be exempted from the number of parking spots that the city’s rules typically require. To my mind, this is not the type of building proposal that should be dismissed as an act of greed or called an act of “desecration.” After consulting the sketches and discussion in the proposal, I consider it thoughtful and appealing.
I would invite Ms. Fowler and her neighbours to consider the interests of those who might like to join them in their beautiful neighbourhood. The city’s decisions on matters like this shape the city as a whole, and affect many people, not just the very closest neighbours and the building proponent. The long-term viability of St. John’s, and the individual communities that form it, depends on allowing a mix of housing types to be added, so that people at all stages of life can afford to live in the city proper, rather than being forced to move to outlying suburbs and towns.