PHOTOS: Some Residents Deeply Worried About Massive New Community Planned for Mississauga

 

When it comes to ambitious development projects, Mississauga is probably one of the GTA's boldest cities. 

Moving forward on a slew of exciting projects—think entirely new communities along the vast waterfront—the city is increasing its supply of modern and urbane housing and working to create walkable, vibrant neighbourhoods that won't be exclusively comprised of sprawling subdivisions dotted with single-family homes. 

And while the city's latest project—a 72-acre waterfront development in Port Credit known as the Brightwater project that is being built by West Village Partners (WVP)—is exciting, not everyone is fully on board. 

Especially those who believe through roads will harm the heritage district in which they live. 

"Our local community from the Port Credit Heritage District (PCHD) is experiencing a number of ongoing challenges and concerns with the new Brightwater development being built by West Village Partners as well as the City of Mississauga," Sarah Reid, a resident, told insauga.com.  

Reid says that the PCHD is one of only two remaining heritage districts in Mississauga with houses dating back to the mid-1800s and that residents have been openly adamant that the new development—which many did not oppose in general—should not be connected to their district via through roads. 

The heritage district designation includes the streets in the district with the boundary beginning at the west side of Mississauga Road continuing to the east bank of the Credit River. 

Reid says that her community is upset that the city—which formally endorsed the development on July 31—will allow Port Street and Lake Street, which run through the PCHD, to be extended into the new community. 

"Members of our neighbourhood have understood for many years that the development of this site is inherent and have been actively involved in the Old Port Credit Heritage Conservation District planning process since 1989," Reid said. 

"Over the years, there has been a detailed public consultation process, feasibility studies and countless public meetings. These studies and discussions made it clear even back in 2003 and 2004, that our tiny, fragile heritage district cannot withstand through traffic from a modern, high-density, mixed-use development next door."

The Brightwater development will indeed change the character of Port Credit—and the grand-scale project has been a long time coming. 

West Village Partners are currently in the final stages of remediating the former Imperial Oil Lands at 70 Mississauga Road South in preparation for the development. Once completed, Brightwater will boast 2,995 new residential units, including condominium suites and executive townhomes. Beyond homes, it will also offer vibrant retail and commercial spaces along Lakeshore Road West and on the waterfront. 

The company also says that Brightwater will boast 18 acres of new parks and open space, including a 10-acre waterfront park that will connect to the existing waterfront trail. 

There is also the potential for additional community amenities including a public school and YMCA. 

It's important to note that Brightwater will be an entirely new waterfront neighbourhood district that will function as a western extension of Port Credit. West Village Partners has big plans for the community, promising a neighbourhood with an engaging public realm, memorable main streets and public squares, shopping, food, nature and more.

"For the first time in over 100 years, these former Texaco/Imperial Oil lands are going to finally be cleaned up, with no government or taxpayer money going into the remediation effort," Councillor Stephen Dasko said at a Planning and Development Committee meeting on July 29, 2019.

"We should all be really excited about the future of this site.”

But while West Village Partners thanked the city and Port Credit Heritage District in a news release, it doesn't appear that members of the PCHD are all that enthused about being connected to the vast new community. 

In fact, Reid argues that the through roads—which Dasko promised to oppose in an October 2018 letter—will endanger residents. 

She says that the city, in general, is not listening. 

"Our Ward 1 Councillor, Stephen Dasko made a public promise in writing after meeting with our community to oppose through-roads from the WVP development into the Heritage District on both planning and heritage grounds. Members from our community have also sent countless letters and emails to the planning department, Councillor Dasko and Mayor Bonnie Crombie reiterating our concerns," she says.

Reid says that Dasko broke the news about the through-roads at a June 10 meeting when he reportedly stated that "they [the city] are hell-bent on through roads."  

"Unfortunately, no one will provide any further comment or answer to our collective and repeated requests to determine who 'they' are or why this decision has been made without any transparency or empirical reasoning," Reid says. 

Reid says that West Village Partners has never indicated that through-roads are necessary. 

When asked why she believes the through-roads will hurt the PCHD, Reid says that dramatically increased traffic flow from an estimated 7,000 vehicles into a three-block neighbourhood that only has approximately 800 vehicles will pose serious issues. 

She argues that the extra traffic will make residents less safe and "destroy the quiet charm and character of what is currently a fairly isolated community that has been in existence since the mid-1800s." 

Reid also fears that Port Credit lacks the infrastructure to support the influx of new residents who will move into Brightwater once it's built. 

She also says that, with Lakeview Village being built just east of Brightwater, congestion in the area could increase exponentially—especially if the city cannot secure adequate transit funding from the federal or provincial governments. 

But while some residents are deeply concerned about the roads, it's hard to say what—if anything—will change going forward.

And residents like Reid fear they don't have much time. 

As far as next steps go, city staff will soon attend the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) hearing scheduled for August 7, where a final decision will be made.

"Residents have repeatedly asked city staff how through traffic would be beneficial to either the heritage district or surrounding neighbourhoods. To date, the planning and traffic departments have produced zero empirical evidence for their insistence on subsuming the Heritage District into the massive development. For 185 years, the unique character of this heritage district has been formed by isolation on three sides, without through traffic," Reid says. 

"Residents in the district willingly go to great effort at a significant additional monetary cost to comply with the strict Heritage designation laws and guidelines which preserve the character of our community.  Why is the city not following or being held to these same standards?"

But while reservations are normal—and change based on said reservations entirely possible as the project proceeds—it’s hard to argue that the plan isn’t exciting. 

If LPAT approves the project, construction is anticipated to start in 2020.

All renderings courtesy of West Village Partners

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