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Council gives go-ahead to controversial Brander Gardens riverside condo

Council voted in favour of changing zoning to allow condo project

CBC News Posted: Aug 22, 2016 10:18 PM MT Last Updated: Aug 23, 2016 10:35 AM MT

A rendering of one of the buildings proposed for the river valley adjacent lot in the Brander Garden neighbourhood.

A rendering of one of the buildings proposed for the river valley adjacent lot in the Brander Garden neighbourhood. (Kennedy)

 

City council has approved a controversial new condominium development along the river's edge in the Brander Gardens neighbourhood, south of Fort Edmonton Park.

 

"This has definitely been a tricky one for me and I think for many of us because it's quite unlike anything we've seen before," Mayor Don Iveson said at the close of a public hearing Monday night. 

 

Iveson voted in favour of changing zoning in the area to allow construction of the project. Ben Henderson was the only member of council to vote against. 

 

The developer, Dennis Modry, plans to build six four-storey buildings on the lot, which backs directly onto the river valley, with 46 units in total.

 

Currently the land has only one home on it. The developer plans to relocate the mature trees on the lot to make room for the new buildings and maintain privacy for the neighbours.

 

Twenty-six residents from the community spoke at a public hearing on the development to voice their opposition to the project, citing concerns about traffic, neighbourhood character, and erosion of the valley.

 

Brander Garden no subdivision sign

Residents posted signs beside the proposed site to protest the development. (Peter Evans/ CBC )


Barbara Koenig, who lives directly next to the proposed condos, said her neighbour wasn't allowed to put in an underground sprinkler system because of the potential for erosion. She said she's worried what impact on moving mature trees and digging foundations will have on the stability of the slope into the river.

 

She said she also doesn't believe the developer's claims it will try to save the mature trees on the lot.

"You can have lots of pictures, but … as soon as the council makes up its mind (the developer) can do what it wants," Koenig said.

 

Residents also complained the likely expensive condos will be gated and not attract families, which will limit the future residents' engagement with the rest of the neighbourhood, and the added density will bring more traffic to the area.

 

Hamid Namsechi said he looked up ambulance response times for the area, and found traffic can already delay EMS transporting patients by up to 14 minutes.

 

He said he worries about what will happen if council adds 46 more units to the neighbourhood.

Principal architect Brad Kennedy said the land is geotechnically stable. While the geotechnical study recommended the buildings be at least five meters from the top of bank, he said the closest building will be set back by 10 meters.

 

The developer has also committed to give $50,000 to the community league, and put $50,000 toward improving river valley trail access in the area.

 

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