Residents and landowners scrutinized three concept plans for the future development of the Fernridge area on Tuesday night.
Hundreds of people streamed through the George Preston Recreation Centre to see the latest phase in the Brookswood-Fernridge Community Plan update.
The three concepts each see a different vision for the southern and eastern parts of the Brookswood-Fernridge neighbourhood.
• Concept A envisions a cluster of commercial buildings, three-storey condos and townhouses between 32nd and 28th Avenues near 200th Street, and another smaller commercial cluster at 24th Avenue. Density would drop off sharply away from the core, with northeastern Brookswood mostly single-family homes and south-eastern left as large-lot “estate residential.”
• Concept B would have smaller density clusters at 32nd Avenue and 24th Avenue, but almost all of Fernridge would be developed as single-family homes, similar to the existing Brookswood area.
• Concept C has clusters of apartments and commercial near 32nd and 24th, but much larger areas of mixed residential around them. Single-family clusters would, in some areas, be surrounded by low-density estate housing lots.
Resident Laura Warren wasn’t making judgments on the plans yet, but was planning to ask questions of staff.
A local resident, she’s been following the controversial neighbourhood planning process since the beginning.
“It’s not about one thing, it’s about the whole plan,” she said.
Warren said she felt like the Township was listening to residents.
That’s a far cry from the attitude during the last attempt at crafting a new neighbourhood plan, which was defeated in 2014 amid strong opposition. Many residents were concerned about drastic density increases, loss of trees, and the impact of thousands of new residents on schools, roads, and other local amenities.
Several people with property in the area were in the crowd, interested to see what they may be able to develop once the plans are finalized.
Joan Nielsen owns a daycare in Brookswood, and said that while she isn’t against development, she doesn’t think the area should simply be developed like Willoughby.
She’d prefer two-level townhouses to condos or apartment buildings.
She was also interested in some of the other ideas presented, including clustering.
The Township is suggesting that developers could be allowed to build a larger number of homes on smaller lots in exchange for preserving forested areas.
Another landowner, Hugh Carter, was hoping to see a walkable neighbourhood with mixed housing.
“Personally, I prefer concept C, because it has a village community core,” said Carter.
The final product could include portions of all the concepts, said Mayor Jack Froese.
He said people seemed to be positive about the process during this round of planning.
Several Township councillors visited the event, including Petrina Arnason.
“Generally people seem to be very engaged, which is good,” she said.
The more intensive process created after the last plan failed seems to be having an impact, she said.