Kitchener planners and heritage staff are considering an extremely pedestrian, ugly proposal for a 10-storey apartment building in Kitchener’s Victoria Park Heritage Neighbourhood.
Once clear of city requirements, the revised Vive Development proposal will likely go to council early next year.
And, no matter how incompatible that modern building is with the brick-clad surrounding neighbourhood, it is better than the first version proposed by Vive on Queen Street South between Courtland Avenue and Joseph Street that would have demolished several historic homes and flattened the oneROOF shelter for homeless teens.
The updated proposal includes a developer trade-off that preserves the heritage houses in return for reduced parking and an increase in apartment-building height from eight to 10 storeys. Vive has also pledged to help oneROOF relocate and provide a few affordable apartments for homeless youth.
Vive owners did their best in recent months to meet with upset residents and heritage champions but the current compromise is still a precedent-setting slap in the face to Kitchener’s supposedly-protected heritage neighbourhoods that predictably comes down to developer profits and downtown intensification instead of the essential preservation of older-communities.
And as that debacle unfolds, this outgoing councillor has already told Santa the priority-one Christmas gift I wish for is that incoming Ward 9 councillor Debbie Chapman continues efforts to preserve heritage values and protect established neighbourhoods.