8 Oak St facing a fight

Councillor Nunziata says that the potential builders at 8 Oak Street will have a fight on their hands.

Earlier this week, our councillor held a meeting about the proposed development of the Satin Flooring factory near the Superstore. The developers—oh, how I hate that word!—are proposing 99 townhomes.

The homes would be between Knob Hill Drive and the CP Rail line. The site plan is—in your humble correspondent’s humble opinion—a little uninspired: rows of houses quite tightly packed.

Satin Finish

 

There are a number of things I don’t like.

To start with, there is only one playground. This, to me, is a terrible waste. Townhomes and condominiums work on a simple principle: some things are best bought in a group. There is no sane excuse for each one of us having a ladder or a drill. They’re used once a year. Nor is there a good reason for each of us to have a playground in our individual backyards. Playgrounds are best when they are shared, and townhome developments like this—which seems destined to attract first-time buyers—should have lovely, large, well-sited playgrounds (in the plural) for different ages and different styles of play. They should also have a field, for open play, and berms and rocks and streams, and all the things that children delight in every once in a while—things that it makes sense to share. This development has nothing like that.

It fails, too, in the private space. I once lived in a townhouse just like these proposed. My townhouse was larger, nicer, cheaper, and better designed than my home in Weston. When I moved here, I essentially bought a $160,000 backyard.

These townhouses have no backyards. They have no private outdoor space at all. And don’t tell me a rooftop patio can suffice; it cannot. Rooftop patios are for frying eggs, not having barbecues, which are illegal, I found.

Prosaically, the traffic is going to be a pain, I’ll bet. The intersection at Oak and Knob Hill is already stupidly done; it’s impossible to make a right turn around stopped traffic, for instance. This development is going to create minor headaches, since entering traffic is going to block the busy two-lane Knob Hill Drive.

Finally, there is no sense of heritage here. That factory is interesting. Where is the old brick building? Where is the nod to its industrial history? The silo? The people, the jobs, and the buildings that are being displaced? It looks from here that we’re getting another set of honeycomb houses. Those have their place, but we can do better.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

1 thought on “8 Oak St facing a fight”

  1. The standard practice used when building a development monstrosity like this is to offer what amounts to a bribe to the city. High rise developers often negotiate with the local councillor to pay an amount of money to increase the height of the building above that permitted by zoning laws. If the councillor’s negotiating skills are sharp you may get a reasonable deal. Regardless, the money is spent quickly but the eyesore and loss of the public realm is with us for a long time. Besides, the process is less than transparent, gives off ‘back room deal’ vibes and can lead to some unfortunate impressions.
    For example, the exercise equipment in Cruickshank Park was purchased using $40,000 (one year’s development fees in Ward 11) from developers. The donors in effect are poor people who have had their quality of life reduced through some limiting of public space or overlooking height restrictions, while the beneficiaries in this example are probably comfortably-off people with time to exercise in our lovely parks.
    Regardless, what is now a common occurrence should be rare. Developers should be made to adhere to planning regulations – they’re in place for a reason – so that we don’t end up building the slums of the future for the sake of a few pennies in the present.

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