FALL RIVER: The developer of a proposed age-friendly development at the Carr Farm property in Fall River heard an earful from residents who live nearby that have enough concerns they’re hesitant about it.
But there was also a lot of support in the crowd of 160 people at the afternoon session at the Gordon R. Snow Community Centre on March 22. The night session of the open house was reportedly a bit more testy than the afternoon session.
GFC Management Limited’s proposal calls for four, five storey buildings, with 100 units in each of the buildings for a total of 400 units. The buildings would be situated between Cummings Drive and Fall River Road. They need to amend the current Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-Law (LUB) for Planning Districts 14 and 17 to allow the development to move forward with five storeys.
David Harrison, the developer’s representative, read testimonials from people in the community who had to leave because they don’t have a home like what is proposed in their own community.
“We need to find a solution to this issue,” he told the crowd.
Some in the crowd felt the developer was putting the cart before the horse with no deals in place with Northwood for services; and no deal with the city for water and transit
“I would have all those ducks in a row first before I come here (to a public meeting),” said Alan MacLeod. “It seems like seniors are being used to get these built.”
Rob MacCormick, who has been vocal in his concerns about the facility, said he went door-to-door in his neighbourhood telling people about the proposed project in their backyard. He had several concerns with the project, most notably septic and sewage for 400 units.
“One of the problems with answering that question is we really don’t know what we’re designing for,” said Harrison.
Engineer Evan Teasdale with DesignPoint said in terms of waste-water that technology has come a long way.
“This facility is not going to be your standard septic field and disposal field type of arrangement,” he said. “I’ve seen systems where you can almost drink the water that would come out of it.”
MacCormick was also concerned with the underground park part of the proposed development.
“Is below ground parking part of the development” he asked, to which Harrison responded with a yes. “So I guess my next question is there will be blasting?” Harrison said yes to that too.
“It will probably be as much or more blasting for the roads into the development as there will be for the underground parking,” said Harrison. “There’s always protection for neighbouring developments, there’s insurance covering everything.”
Gary Geddes does like the idea of having some form of development for seniors. He had a question regarding whether it was just for seniors.
“This is being promoted for age-friendly living,” Harrison said. “What that means is that anyone that needs the services that are in the building will be entitled to live there. It’s being promoted with Northwood so it would be fairly obvious it would be seniors.”
Laurie Baker said “the best use of that property is Glen Clark’s proposal.”
Greg Gravel has lived in Fall River for 23 years. He too supports the idea for a development to keep the seniors in the community they live in, but he has issues with it living just 50 feet away from the property line.
“I wish it was 100 per cent senior that will live there, but it’s not so that’s a concern,” he said. “I just don’t know why we need to have 10 per cent of Fall River’s population living in my backyard.
“It’s a wonderful development and we absolutely do need it.”
He said he’s not opposed to it, but the proposal with just three storeys was more favourable.
“Three storeys might be doable, maybe two, but when they come up with five…” said Gravel.
Krista Snow can’t wait for the development to get going, even though the year-and-a-half or so wait if approved could seem like decades away.
“I think the development will be unbelievably positive,” said the former councillor for the area. “I’m looking forward to it, and have been for years. I support the project 100 per cent actually.”
Sandra Carr was among those who started the push for a seniors development some 14 years ago.
“We need it,” she said. “Whether this is the right answer, that’s something that we want you to look at. I think it’s the best proposal we’ve had so far.
“Let’s not shoot the cat before it gets out of the barn.”
The next step will involve a detailed review of the proposal and analysis by HRM staff of the feedback received and then a staff recommendation report to Northwest Community Council.