My heart truly goes out to our local councillors and residents who are caught having to deal with a trio of development projects that have been making recent headlines.
The first is the Groupe L�pine development at Innes and Pagé Roads in behind where Innes Golfland now stands. The developer wants to build five nine-storey apartments and three towers of between 12 and 16 storeys containing 1,320 units on the property.
The second project is at the corner of St. Joseph Blvd. and Duford Street where the Torgan Group wants to build a 16-storey high-rise, made up mostly of apartment units.
The third project is an inflatable dome that the French Catholic School Board wants to erect between École secondaire catholique Garneau and École élémentaire catholique Saint-Joseph d�Orléans on Carri�re Street.
All three projects have their own pros and cons. As for the multi-residential developments, there is no question that we desperately need to increase rental capacity in Orléans beyond townhouses and single-detached homes that often rent for $2,240 to $3,500, or rooms that rent for $550-$750.
Orléans needs rental apartments like those being proposed by Groupe Lépine. Area residents are understandably upset at the potential increase in local traffic, but that comes with any development whether it's 1,000 homes in Richcraft's Trailsedge or 500 homes in Caivan's Orléans Village.
Unfortunately, for those same residents the decision on whether or not the development goes ahead is not only out of their hands, it's out of the city's hands. Lépine has decided to go directly to the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal, which is a provincial body that has jurisdiction over all land development matters brought before them. The betting here is that the Tribunal will rule in Lépine's favour. The Torgan development is a different matter. First, I still can't believe the city zoned the postage stamp size plot of land as arterial mainstreet, which allows for a six-storey building. It's barely suitable for a goat pasture.
The infuriating part is that the proponent went from wanting to build a nine-storey building to wanting to build a 16-storey edifice, albeit much thinner than its original design. The final tower will likely be 12 or 13 storeys. Such a building should be built beside the Holiday Inn off Centrum Boulevard, which is already zoned for a future office tower.
Unfortunately, just like the Lépine development, there is little the city can do to stop the Torgan Group from building a high rise at St.�Joseph and Duford. The best they can hope for is to chop a few storeys off and that's only if the proponent doesn't take its case to the Ontario Municipal Board which sides with developers nine times out of 10.
Finally, the proposed sports dome will also likely go ahead for no other reason than the school board owns the land, although why they didn't choose to build it on empty land beside the Collège catholique Mer Bleue on Renaud Road I have no idea.
� Fred Sherwin, editor
� Fred Sherwin, editor