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Regina City Planning Commission approves controversial apartment build despite continued pushback

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A proposed apartment development in Regina’s Douglas Park neighbourhood has been granted approval from the City Planning Commission following a meeting Tuesday night.

The project has seen wide-spread opposition from nearby residents, who feel the apartment that would have an official address of 535 Douglas Ave. East, could stick out like a sore thumb and create problems in the area.

Michael Wild lives next door to the property where the proposed building would be.

“I’m passionate about it because I’m really the only person affected by it,” he told the commission. “Walk to the fifth floor [of city hall] and look out – that’s going to be 30 feet from my wall.”

Wild, along with several of his neighbours, voiced their opposition to the City Planning Commission Tuesday night.

“The shade envelope, lack of privacy, parking, off-street parking, the congestion that will happen during construction, even utilities,” Wild said.

“We’re building structures that are too big for our communities,” said nearby resident Jean-Paul Beaurivage. “Development, yes. But let’s do things that are reasonable and appropriate.”

According to a planning commission report, over 200 residents said they were against the development.

Another 40 said they could support it with some changes, while just 50 voiced their support for the project.

“My opposition is not to new development,” Janice Lebell said. “This area is beautiful, loved and respected.”

Blair Wood who lives near the development site is of the 50 in favour of the proposal who have voiced their support.

“I won’t be the most popular person here,” he joked. “I think this is needed in our neighbourhood.”

Wood explained the situation of an older neighbour who is thinking of selling her home and having to move out of the area because there are no accessible apartments in Douglas Park.

“It seems these days it’s easier to say, ‘no’ to anything than to say, ‘yes’,” he said. “Do the right thing.”

The development plan has been submitted by The Winchester Group (TWG).

Director and Founder Joshua Bresciani is the son of Coun. Lori Bresciani.

According to the submission, the building is an 18 metre, five-storey apartment building with 90 rental units.

(City of Regina) “You’re usually going to hear a loud minority that doesn’t want something,” Joshua Bresciani told the commission.

He says he has heard residents’ concerns and have addressed them.

“There is a fear of change,” Bresciani said. “I sympathize with that.”

“But their request for single-family or townhouse-style homes are not viable,” he added.

Full approval by council also requires the space to be rezoned from institutional to residential low-rise.

The Regina Home Builders’ Association believes rezoning to add density, like in this case, sets the stage for additional housing options in all neighbourhoods.

“If we can’t get projects like this done within our community, than we need more green filled communities,” president and CEO Stu Niebergall said. “People are coming here and they need somewhere to go.”

The rezoning vote passed through the commission with a vote of seven to one.

Members passed the fifth storey discretionary use vote six to two.

The development has been sent to city council with a recommendation councillors pass the submission.

It will be debated at a special council meeting June 11. 

  

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