Oakville neighbourhood voices concerns with traffic, building height over proposed development


Published February 17, 2022 at 4:14 pm

The development of the 4.8 hectare site, located at the northwest corner of Kerr Street and Speers Road, would see the construction of 11 buildings, including a 28-storey structure, floor retail space, a grocery store and a one-acre park.

Local residents expressed concerns to Oakville council about a large development plan that would see 11 new buildings built within Kerr Village.

The development of the 4.8 hectare site, located at the northwest corner of Kerr Street and Speers Road, would see the construction of 11 buildings, including a 28-storey structure, floor retail space, a grocery store and a one-acre park.

Developers April Investments Ltd., Oakville Developments (2010) Inc., 5270779 Ontario Ltd. and Trans County Development Corporation Ltd. are asking council for an official plan amendment to permit construction of the Kerr Village development.

Plans for the land, which is currently the home to a Food Basics and Shoppers Drug Mart, were outlined in front of Oakville’s Planning and Development Council on Tuesday night.

The buildings, which would range in height from eight to 28 storeys, would include approximately 1,847 residential units along with 85,000 square feet of retail, a one-acre public park along with a new urban square and a new public and private street network within the subject lands.

Local resident Andrew Muscat wrote into council to say he’s not onboard with the current application. “While I do support a redevelopment of the area, I do not believe the current iteration of the application is appropriate,” he said. “The proposal suggests buildings that exceed 21 storeys and these do not conform to the existing highrise residential neighbourhood.”

West River Residents’ Association (WRRA) vice president Nicole Leblanc expressed several concerns with the development, especially how it would affect traffic in the area.

She explained the West River neighbourhood is directly across Shepherd Road down Queen Mary Drive.

“A lot of people use our streets to avoid the lights on Kerr St,” Leblanc said over Zoom in the meeting. “In the prior public meetings, the applicants did not address our questions about traffic utilizing Queen Mary to avoid those lights on Kerr St.

“And the traffic study didn’t really take into account the percentage of cars that would utilize Queen Mary either.”

Leblanc had previously met with Ward 2 Councillors Cathy Duddeck and Ray Chisholm about the Kerr Village development.

Duddeck said what she and Chisholm hear repeatedly from condo owners, urban dwellers on the west side of Kerr St. is that the intersection of Kerr St. and Speers Rd is extremely difficult for pedestrians.

“Traffic in general is an extreme concern,” LeBlanc said in response to a question from Duddeck. “That intersection is absolutely horrific.

“The current construction there makes it even worse and that would be on a good day.”

Leblanc also expressed concerns about the requested building heights and density. She explained that if full bonusing is achieved, the maximum height allowed by the official plan for seven tall towers would be 16 stories resulting in 112 floors.

The proposal is for a total of 51 additional floors across these towers which she say is a level 46 per cent above that allowed in the official plan.

“What is the developers rational thinking an almost 50 per cent increase is appropriate?,” she asked. “If no bonusing was achieved, the proposal represents a 90 per cent increase over the official plan.”

She also didn’t like the placement of the largest towers. The buildings that would front onto Kerr Street would be a 28-storey building, a 26-storey building and a 24-storey building.

The building heights transition downwards to eight storeys toward the southern end of the site.

“They really should not be part of the gateway,” LeBlanc said. “They put these towers in these gateway locations which seems odd. They really should probably face the train tracks.

“Really the large towers create a chasm dividing neighbourhoods. It doesn’t feel welcoming in this plan.”

LeBlanc and Chisholm also expressed concern of getting rid of the Food Basics story in the location.

“I think we really need to specify there’s a need for a discount grocery store to remain at this location to serve the demographics of the area,” said LeBlanc, who also wants a post office and drug store included in the new plan. “We of the WRRA are acutely aware of many residents who take advantage of school food programs and local food banks.”

“My concern is with the residential we’re putting in here we’re going to lose a lot of our retail commercial,” Chisholm said.

“We need to look at something more balanced for that whole development,” he added.

The properties included in the proposal include 530, 550, 580 Kerr St., and 131, 171 Speers Rd.

Though it is included, the owner of the property located at 171 Speers Rd. is not involved in the proposal nor has it asked for an official plan amendment.

To avoid any conflict of interest, Ward 5 Councillor Jeff Knoll, the CEO of Film.ca located at 171 Speers Rd., did not speak on the matter during the meeting.

The development proposal will return to council at a later date for further consideration.

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising