Generations mixed, tower nixed
By Hunter Cresswell
Multivesco Inc. has been hard at work in Chelsea since December.
The Chelsea Creek housing development company heard feedback on its Phase Two plans in late 2019, listened to residents’ thoughts and concerns during a public consultation, made changes ,and has now released more information about its plans.
In December, the plans presented included splitting tennants up by age, with 144 one- and two-bedroom apartments between 660 and 1,100 square feet in size, housed in five buildings centred around a greenspace for seniors. For families, plans included 60 two- and three-bedroom units between 945 and 1,130 square feet, split evenly amongst five buildings separate from the five senior buildings.
Plans also included an artist alley, arboretum, edible garden, private terraces, a tower, a public lounge area and a community centre that could house a library.
As a result of the public consultations, the biggest change is the mixing of generations. Instead of having seniors and families dwell in separate buildings, the units will now be mixed.
“[The resident’s] saw [the initial separation] as very negative,” Multivesco Inc. CEO François Juneau said.
Another notable change is the removal of a planned tower at the front of the project that would overlook Old Chelsea Road and serve as a distinctive element inspired by Chelsea architectural heritage. It was not received well at the consultation or on social media, so Juneau said the idea was scrapped and replaced with the possibility of a piece of art.
“Maybe we’ll launch a contest with the art community and we’ll see what can be done at the front of the project,” he suggested.
Another request brought up at the consultation was making the buildings more environmentally friendly. Multivesco said it aims to make the smallest impact on the environment and said it is assessing the possibility of being carbon-neutral with an energy supply relying only on hydro-electric power.
The Chelsea Creek development area is on the south side of Old Chelsea Road, across from the Chelsea town hall and library. Phase One is all single-family and semi-detached homes, which are still being constructed, but Phase Two is geared toward young families and people over the age of 55, who are looking to downsize from their current homes but don’t want to leave Chelsea. Monthly rent for units is estimated to start between $1,000 and $1,500.
Concerning the public consultation, Juneau commented, “I think it makes for a much stronger project in general.”
Multivesco chose to go through the public consultation process despite not being required to by any municipal law.