Fredericton City Council approves a 147-unit apartment building on a street with no buses or sidewalks
No access to public transport is not an issue for councilors who gave the go-ahead Monday night for a proposed 147-unit apartment building in Fredericton.
Councilors voted in favor of a zoning change that would allow a flat to be built on Duncan Lane, although the site currently lacks public transport access for potential tenants.
City officials say the situation could change between now and the building’s construction, but three councilors expressed concern that might not happen and pushed a motion – which was ultimately rejected – to hold the proposal until a later date to submit.
“We’ve had several discussions around this table about the environment over the past two years, and I’m not sure how some of the city councilors can support a 147-unit building with only cars as a transportation option,” Coun said. Henri Mallet, who advocated submitting an application which he described as “premature” as the services for needed housing are not yet in place.
“First of all, on the transit, we’ve heard that … as the area continues to grow we will reassess the need for transit, but we don’t have a guaranteed timeline. It could be three, five, 10 years before we get transit to the area, and just a reminder that it’s nowhere near a trail system,” Mallet said.
The proposal is brought to the council as the city struggles with housing shortages. Cedar Valley Investments Ltd. proposes to build the complex at 111 Duncan Lane between Golf Club Road to the north and Prospect Street to the south.
A City of Fredericton staff report shows that Duncan Lane currently has no pavement.
Additionally, the bus stop closest to the site is currently on Rainsford Lane, which would force transit users to cross Prospect Street, which is a divided highway with a posted speed limit of 70 km/h.
count. Margo Sheppard said it was a “great proposal” that was yet to be submitted pending a plan for the transit.
“I find that when there aren’t any services in a walkable community, it’s difficult because the developer building homes isn’t necessarily going to build services,” she said.
count. Cassandra LeBlanc also supported the motion to submit the rezoning, and when it was denied, the three council members voted against the rezoning motion.
City could better allocate capital to growth areas: CAO
In submitting the rezoning application, Mallet said he wanted city officials to present a clearer picture of how they planned to allocate capital specifically to growth areas, including around the proposed apartment building.
Mallet said this would give the council a clearer idea of the timelines for building services and amenities linked to housing and other developments.
“We have to make sure there is an amount [of money] invested in a growth area,” Mallet said. “Not waiting for development, but really getting in there while development is happening and making sure we have the right infrastructure in place.”
In response, Fredericton’s Chief Administrative Officer Stephen Hart said the city could do its job better by allocating its capital to specific growth nodes.
However, he said city officials will work to provide that guidance in the next budget, due out this fall.
“We will be presenting a new revised long-term financial plan to the Council as part of the budget process this year, which should prepare us for the next five to 10 years in terms of how our capital will be allocated,” he said.