Within easy reach of downtown and with Light Rail Transit as an immediate neighbour, it has the potential to be a new and complete Ward 9 community embraced by our rapidly-changing city.
By now, Maple Leaf Foods expects to have a buyer for the 11-hectare (27-acre) former Schneider’s site located between Courtland Avenue, Mill Street, Stirling Avenue and Ottawa Street.
I hope councillors, planners and developers will, in future months, make certain the highest standards of urban design are used on a development where Schneider’s first established its historic meat-packing plant 91 years ago.
Maple Leaf officials have scrutinized about half a dozen bids for the huge property while planners consider a mixture of residential, light commercial and other potential uses on a site where, for decades, thousands of people have earned a living.
I have several hopes for a site that has such huge potential:
• That, instead of demolition, a few of the solidly-built existing buildings be converted for other uses;
• Schneider’s Creek, currently buried under the some of the site, be unearthed to form an attractive feature of any future community;
• That a small percentage of affordable housing forms part of the eventual development. Such a move — already being discussed and supported by local, low-cost housing providers — could perhaps take advantage of new provincial and municipal programs to provide incentives for developers willing to consider such housing.
I can’t think of a more appropriate legacy to the Schneider name on such an important and valuable site.