Pro-developer Kitchener councillors took one more precedent-setting bite at a downtown heritage neighbourhood last night.
They did so by approving a flashy development jammed on a very prominent David Street lot in the Victoria Park heritage neighbourhood where I live.
Ironically the project, surprisingly approved by Kitchener’s heritage staff and some committee members, looks down on the historic Clock Tower and Common area of the park. The tower is all that’s left of our historic city hall bulldozed by former city councillors who also favoured modern, mundane development over heritage buildings.
In Monday’s 7-4 vote, those supporting the six-storey building included pro-development boosters Councillors Paul Singh and Bil Ioannidis — two council representatives on our heritage committee who also head up Kitchener’s planning committee. They were joined by Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and downtown, civic-centre Coun. Sarah Marsh as well as Scott Davey, Kelly Galloway-Sealock and Dave Schnider.
Because I dislike the ultra-modern look of a building that could and should have used more brick recommended in heritage-area documents, I voted against the project as did Couns. John Gazzola, Yvonne Fernandes and Zyg Janecki.
The development, which will use a combination of metal and glazing materials as well as some token brick, is located between Jubilee Drive and Joseph Street. It will be a 6-storey, 30-unit building tiered back on the 4th, 5th and 6th storeys adjacent to red brick and stone town homes as well as the historic Victoria School and an ugly high-rise apartment building at the park entrance.
The high-rise was erected after at least six heritage homes along one side of Courtland between David and Queen Streets were, like the beautiful former city hall, demolished.