Council for Persons with Disabilities criticizes sidewalks on only one side of some streets
By BRENDAN WEDLEY/Examiner Municipal Writer
March 15, 2011
The largest subdivision plan in the city’s history was approved by city council Monday despite some concerns from the Council for Persons with Disabilities.
Councillors Lesley Parnell and Keith Riel tried to delay the application to give the Council for Persons with Disabilities an opportunity to provide more
input on the plan and to rework the design.
One of the most contentious issues was the policy change that will allow Mason Homes to build sidewalks on only one side of some streets in the subdivision.
The city had a policy in place that required new subdivisions to have sidewalks on both sides of streets.
The 761-unit subdivision will include a range of housing types, smaller neighbourhood parks within a few minutes walking distance of all the homes and rear laneways for some units.
“We were not even consulted about this subdivision, the largest that Peterborough has undertaken…. It’s incredibly frustrating. A person shouldn’t have
to move out of one’s home as soon as any type of permanent, or even temporary, disability occurs.”
The new urbanism planning principles include reduced setbacks between buildings and between buildings and the streets along with narrower lots and a reduced width for the space given to streets and sidewalks.
Northcrest Ward Coun. Andrew Beamer shared that he heard overwhelmingly positive responses from residents of the first phase of the Avonlea subdivision that’s off of Franklin Dr. and Neptune St.
“It’s an exciting development…. When completed, I think it will be unique and add a lot of character,” he said. “It’s certainly not your typical cookie-cutter
Beamer said he’s comfortable with the plan that includes sidewalks next to 75% of homes in the subdivision.
The success of the first phase shows that people want this type of product in the marketplace, Northcrest Coun. Bob Hall said.
Hall supported the subdivision plan, but he raised concerns about the additional pressure on the city’s road network without a new corridor between the
northeast and southwest ends of the city.
“You can’t keep putting your head in the sand on this issue,” he said.
The second phase of Avonlea would be built between Chemong Rd. and Hilliard St., north of Milroy Dr. and west of the first phase. The final subdivision
plan for the project will return to council.
Parnell argued against allowing the developer to build sidewalks on only one side of some streets.
“We’re not following our rules,” she said. “This is not new urbanism. It’s just trying to pack as many houses as possible … on this land.
“It needs to go back to the drawing board and we need to start over.”
Terry Wilson, with the Council for Persons with Disabilities, told council the city’s accessibility advisory committee didn’t have a chance to provide input
on the application before it went to the planning committee two weeks ago.
Sidewalks should be on both sides of streets and homes should be designed to make them fully accessible for people who have disabilities, Wilson said.
“The plan does not take into consideration the senior demographic which is coming down the pipe,” he said.
When the plan for the first phase went through the city’s planning process four years ago, the accessibility advisory committee worked with the city to
change the plan to include sidewalks on both sides of streets, said Janet Ali, who is a member of the Council for Persons with Disabilities.
“We were not even consulted about this subdivision, the largest that Peterborough has undertaken…. It’s incredibly frustrating,” she said. “A person shouldn’t have to move out of one’s home as soon as any type of permanent, or even temporary, disability occurs.”
Ali said representatives of the Council for Persons with Disabilities met with the planning division manager for a couple of hours last week to discuss
the Mason Homes application.
The Council for Persons with Disabilities normally provides input on all planning applications through a city staff member from the building division, planning division manager Ken Hetherington said.
Hetherington said he thinks the circulation to the Council for Persons with Disabilities was “lost in the shuffle” with staffing changes in the building
Thousands of people have provided input on the creation of the city’s official plan over the years and it would almost be a slap in the face if the city
doesn’t consult with the public before changing the plan, Cumberland Ave. resident John Macdonald said.
“The official plan is really like a road map from which you can plan where you want to go.… It allows for deviations along the way but that is where caution
should be taken,” he said.
Article ID# 3026594