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Council approves Mount Forest townhouse project

Intention is for 18 townhouses to be built on two residential lots on King Street East

WELLINGTON NORTH — Amidst controversy, council voted in support of 18 townhouse units to be built at 425–427 King St. E. in Mount Forest.

Mayor Andy Lennox, Coun. Lisa Hern and Coun. Steve McCabe voted in favour of the development. While Coun. Penny Renken and Coun. Sherry Burke voted against it.

The report on the matter can be found on page 138 here.

Roughly 25 people attended the meeting.

Local residents Rachel Kéry and Reid Rayfield spoke out against the development. Several people who plan on moving into the complex were also on hand, as was the project's developer, Farhan Mahmood, McTrach Capital and 427 Management Service Inc.

Mahmood outlined the need for these townhouses.

“We all know more housing is needed. We hear it from all direction that we have a housing crisis. First time home buyers, young families are struggling to get into the housing market,” Mahmood said. 

Not only is more housing needed, but more affordable houses are necessary.

“And every municipal and provincial guideline states that we need to increase density and provide housing to the first time home buyers,” Mahmood said. 

“Our project with our vision of this project was to address those needs and provide housing to young families, like my own family while preserving the neighbourhood at reasonable prices,” Mahmood said.

Lennox explained the economic need for the small development.

“Our local services and businesses are clamouring to find people to work. All types of services and businesses need more workforce to make our organizations sustainable,” Lennox said.

“We need housing that’s is economically accessible to attract people here to work. If we don’t allow for the construction of housing that meets a lower price point, people will not be attracted to live and work here,” Lennox said.

Renken pointed out that these townhouses are different and denser than the other properties in this specific location.

“I find that an 18-unit cluster in that location is not very palatable, especially to the neighbours that are there,” Renken said.

Renken made the suggestion that the project be moved to a spot where it would fit in better. 

“And I believe if that unit could be located in another area that has a similar type housing, it would be much better for the township and for the people living there,” Renken said. 

Kéry said that the neighbourhood has a peaceful character that she worries may be diminished with these new townhouses.

“We see a balance between houses and greenspace. I would hope that developers, planners and councillors would be thoughtful in their planning in order to protect that peaceful balance around us rather than building for the sake of building,” Kéry said.

The decision of council can be appealed.

Jesse Gault is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.


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Jesse Gault, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Jesse Gault, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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