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Co-housing development on Speedvale Avenue sees no public opposition

'This is a really innovative project and ver courageous for someone to take on,' says Coun. Downer

A proposed co-housing development along Speedvale Avenue drew no opposition during a Monday evening public meeting. 

If ultimately approved, the development at 205 to 213 Speedvale Ave. E. will see three houses torn down to make way for a 3.5-storey apartment building with 21 units, while a fourth existing home will be converted into a triplex, for 24 units in all.

While living units will be separate, a community kitchen and dining area is proposed, along with shared spaces for activities, meals together and more.

“This is a really innovative project and very courageous for someone to take on,” commented Coun. Cathy Downer. “This is the type of thing we need to look towards for affordable housing as well.”

Council made no decision regarding the proposal on Monday evening. Rather the meeting was held to gather public feedback on the proposal. No one stepped forward to raise concerns, ask questions or otherwise address the plan during the meeting.

First brought forward in 2019, several changes have been made to the proposal for the collective “L” shaped site on the southwest corner of the intersection with Delhi Street.

As noted in an updated planning report submitted to the city on behalf of owners Beryl Isobel Beard and Michael Fortin, the most significant changes include elimination of a proposed Speedvale driveway, a revised parking layout, new building entrance and a half-storey increase in height.

“I really like this development,” commented Coun. Rodrigo Goller, referring to plans for the development to include net-zero energy use technologies and design as “a unicorn” in the city. “I wish more proposals would come like this.”

The proposal includes 24 parking spaces, one per unit, whereas current regulations require there to be 35.

“The assumption is that not all residents will have a car,” said Nancy Shoemaker, a planning consultant working for the owners. 

“One of the principles there is as far as co-housing goes is a sustainable lifestyle,” added architect David McAuley, who spoke on behalf of the owners. 

He added negotiations are underway with a nearby place of worship to accommodate visitor parking needs during off-peak hours.

Comments made during the public meeting will be taken into consideration by city staff as it reviews the proposal and prepares a recommendation for council at a later date.