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  • Writer's pictureThe Low Down

Time for a freeze on Wakefield development

Is it time to declare a moratorium on developments similar to the project on Chemin Elmdale in the Municipality of La Pêche, or at least in Wakefield?

In my opinion, the proposed Devcore project (Hamilton’s Gardens condo project near Valley Drive and Riverside Drive) should not be allowed to go ahead as planned. It should be sent back to the drawing board and planning process immediately and should be required to meet "green" and sustainable standards. If sustainable building standards do not exist in La Pêche, the municipality needs to get busy and create them as part of its fight against climate change.

A building permit for a house is good for one year; should the same not apply to developments? They have done nothing for how many years? Make them start again from scratch.

Allowing one small house per quarter-acre with a sewer connection could allow new maximum densification and a minimum of 20 per cent subsidized housing for seniors.

Also, having a mandatory amount of green space (20 per cent?) and trees included in any development should be mandatory—no more clear-cutting of woodlands. We need them to stay cool with the present and worsening climate situation. What will the remaining forest fate be between Elmdale and Legion Road? Clear cut as well for more pavement?

Maybe we should be proactive and consider alternatives to the myth of densification being a solution to our housing problems. Densification causes heat islands. Maybe our administration feels we are immune to these climate issues?

Densification is also likely to create more neighbourhood strife.

Water is also a significant concern as the aquifer can only sustain so many humans for so long, maybe temporarily, but what about when the aquifer dries up?

Where will we be in two or five years? High and dry because of a lack of vision?

Look at France, where 100 municipalities have run out of water and are trucking it in.

We are not an urban setting with water purification and potable water piping.

Did the Elmdale project bring affordable housing? I think not. If officials were really concerned with affordable housing, they could just ban short-term rentals (STRs) and require developers to include a certain percentage of affordable housing in their projects.

Many new buildings are being built for the sole purpose of being STRs.

Our local bureaucrats seem more concerned with tax dollars than quality of life.

Not sure that, as an elected official, I would want my legacy to be the complete erosion of a great village.

We also do not have the infrastructure to sustain this kind of development. The roads are too small.

We now have a project (Elmdale) with more cars exiting in front of our elementary school.

I have seen vehicles racing through the Wakefield Express depanneur parking lot to avoid stopping at the stop sign.

I fail to see how this fits with any kind of sustainable development "green plan."

Turning a nice liveable village into just another semi-urban dormitory seems like a dumb thing to do in the 21st century. Most people would love to live here, but it just can't happen. If you want densification, move to the city.

Nick Appleby is a resident of Wakefield, QC.


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