Breithaupt Block Phase 3 input

 

There is a good article in The Record about the modifications to the Breithaupt Block “phase 3”. Several residents attended the city’s open house on Tuesday evening (June 5, 2018). There were representatives from the city’s planning department and from Perimeter  Development. Many expressed positive opinions about the developer’s changes which include lowering the building by two stories. The parking garage is unchanged and has less than a metre offset with the lane. The developer has stated it will be well designed but there are no renderings. A mural could help brighten it up and that might be planned.

There is a proposed new lane cutting through from Wellington to Breithaupt (visible on page 12 of these plans) and some felt a sidewalk should be included since it will certainly be used by pedestrians and it is a bit risky as currently designed.

The parkette on the corner of Moore and Wellington is now one of the entrances to the garages and a large portion of it will be raised as a “roof” to this entrance. I wonder if that could be seating for a small concert spot? Or for eating lunch?

One issue which is not specifically within Perimiter’s control is the overall traffic in the area. Each project completes its own traffic study which the city analyzes. However, in a very small area we will have BB3, the Transit Hub and the SIXO development. These will all be phased in over the next several years and we believe the city has no plan to address the conflation of traffic to all of these developments. In five to ten years time, the area could be choked with traffic. On the other hand, that offers more incentive for people to walk, cycle and take transit!

If you have comments on the modified plans please sent them soon to garett.stevenson@kitchener.ca

City council will consider this revised proposal on June 25.

The city’s page for development information is here and includes the links given above in this article. The open house contained “3D” renderings of the updated site and the city has promised to include them on their website as well.

June Updates in the ‘Hood

A June Newsletter is being produced. If you would like to help deliver it, please email us at mhbpna@gmail.com

There are now revised plans for Breithaupt Block Phase 3 and a public meeting to discuss them at city hall on June 5. For detailed information please read this Midtown Blog article.

On Thursday, June 15, MHBPNA will host a Public Art Forum at 5 pm at the Guelph St. Community Garden. We will post more about that closer to the date and it will be in the newsletter as well.

On Saturday, June 23, MHBPNA is organizing our first (annual?) Duke St. West Music Fest! This will be from 2-5 in the Duke St. Playground between Shanley and Bismark. More details to follow!

 

Photo Contest Winners 2018

Did everyone remember we held a photo contest? We received many amazing photos and we thank everyone who sent one (or more) in. They show off so much of our diverse neighbourhood and the beauty in our mix of urban and tree-lined landscapes. Winners were picked randomly and they are:

Kathy Mortimer $50 gift certificate from Cocoon Apothecary

Ingrid Bachmann $50 gift certificate from Cocoon Apothecary

Nathan Nederpelt $20 gift certificate to CE Bakery and Experience

Thanks to our sponsors for their support!

We will be using the photos on our website banner as yet another testimony to how cool our ‘hood is. Thanks for framing it!

We will post a few now on the “blog” part of our website and keep adding a few more each week so you can see the full size photos (we crop them to make them fit the website banner).

 

152 Shanley Design Charrette

The City of Kitchener is hosting a Design Charrette for 152 Shanley property in preparation for its upcoming second attempt to sell. If you wish to attend they would appreciate you registering. Below is the letter sent to residents who live close to this building.

For a history of this site please click on this link.

Breithaupt Block update, City Council April 16, 2018

On Monday, April 9th 2018, the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee narrowly voted for the Perimeter Group’s office project to go ahead. The Record wrote a good article about this vote here.

The Planning committee includes everyone on city council and is used to debate issues before they are approved by City Council proper. The final approval for the zoning variances will happen this Monday, April 16th. The council agenda is here and this issue is buried towards the bottom of the document in the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee’s report, item 3.

A full discussion of the meeting and links to several resources/opinions is presented on the Midtown KW blog here.

One of the issues that emerged was that the PARTS Central plan, which residents believed would protect our area from development, is not officially embedded in the city’s Official Plan. City staff led the developer through a process that they believed included the “spirit” of PARTS but residents disagreed.

FYI: the parking garage is expected to have 590 – 660 spots while the current parking lot has around 240.

Many residents are expected to turn out to the meeting on Monday, April 16. You can also express your opinion to the office of the Mayor and Council by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

 

 

Breithaupt Block Development and Community

 

The Breithaupt Block Development, which includes the Google Building, has transformed our neighbourhood. Several industrial buildings which had sat vacant for many years have been renovated and are filled with workers paying taxes and living in our city. For a look at the past you can view this Blog article.

The combination of the Breithaupt Block and the ION has accelerated both residential and commercial development in our area. This development, and the increased number of people commuting to Toronto. has led to higher house prices as we all know. Increased development and housing are all part of the Province’s and Region’s Growth Plan. It is more efficient to increase density in the core rather than building more industrial parks and the ION has helped with this goal.

Perimeter Development is now planning 12 story office building and 5 story parking garage (with retail uses) on the land which is currently a parking lot. The scope of this project, and its impact on the residential neighbourhood it sits next to, has caused some controversy among neighbours and others around Kitchener/Waterloo who suspect their neighbourhood could be next.

The Record has done a good job reporting on this issue. Here is an article introducing the plans for the office building. Here is a more recent article about neighbourhood opposition. And here is The Record’s editorial on this complex issue.

On Monday, April 9th at 7 pm the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee meets to consider the developer’s application for an Official Plan Amendment and Zone Change. The meeting’s agenda is here and the staff report on this issue starts around page 10.

Several individuals are planning to present as Delegations at this meeting. MHBPNA urges everyone with an interest in this topic to either attend the meeting in council chambers or watch the live stream.

Ted Parkinson, Communications, MHBPNA

MHPBNA Garage Sale, May 26

The time of year is approaching! The time when you search the bowels of your post-winter dwelling and consider the question, “would anybody pay me for this junk?”.

The answer is “Probably!”

Let us gather as a community to buy, sell and barter on Saturday, May 26 from 8 am to 12pm. If you would like to host a garage sale please use the following link to add your information to our interactive map.

Click this link view the map. Click on the red dots to see what kinds of things people are selling.

Let the deals begin!

Regional Transit Hub, 2018 and forward

Over the past few years there has been a great deal of talk about the planned Regional Transit Hub (or King Victoria Transit Hub).

The Hub’s main page on the Region’s website is here and contains links to several reports with preliminary plans for how it might be organized.

The Record contains an article about the public/private partnership that might happen and it is here.

The overall time frame for the hub is described here.

In the past MHBPNA has had several conversations with Regional staff and politicians regarding some elements of the Hub and its design.

One issue is Waterloo St. (above) and some background on that is provided here. Staff were interested in hearing our viewpoint and our main issues were:

  1. The Region/ION has permanently closed Waterloo Street, which was a convenient access point to downtown (walking, via car, or cycling). How can they ensure the new Hub design will allow residents easy access? We discussed various designs and one problem is that existing infrastructure is in the way of a smooth bike or walking path from Breithaupt Street to Victoria/King. The grade between Breithaupt and Victoria is also an issue. So much of this discussion depends on future designs that have not yet been started. But residents must continue to push for easy pedestrian and bike access. The memory dims of what this access used to be like as time passes!
  2. Staff also stated they would properly landscape the street so that residents did not have to face the rather industrial side of the Traction Power Sub Station (TPSS). Again, we need to keep asking about those plans at every stage.

Another issue is a proposed multi-use trail which can be seen in the diagram below.

This would offer an excellent route across King and help join Mt. Hope / Midtown with King St., Victoria Park, Cherry Park etc. We would like this confirmed as a core part of any future plans.

A third issue is the idea of community space. The downtown / Midtown / Mt. Hope – Breithaupt Park area is seeing the development of thousands of additional condo units now and over the next few years. Our area is central in creating the higher density the Province demands as our population increases and we must build efficiently. However, despite the lovemyhood website and rhetoric, thus far Kitchener city council has not demonstrated interest in building more community space here in the centre of town. Of course the Transit Hub is a Regional development and this makes advocacy more complicated. But the Transit Hub will be a central location where, eventually, hundreds or thousands of people will arrive and depart each day on ION, VIA/GO trains and crosstown buses. There will be millions of public dollars invested in this, so should we not have some space set aside to have meetings? To run events? Meet our neighbours? ____________? (You are supposed to “fill in” this blank, and you can add more!)

We are sure residents have other ideas and insight they wish to share with planners and politicians. How can you do this?

The Midtown KW blog has an excellent article about a survey you can fill out and politicians you can contact.

Please fill out the survey and try and make it out to one of the Public Information meetings (e.g. Wed, April 4th, 3 -7 pm, 150 Frederick St.). This meeting is about transit in general, but you can certainly provide input on the Hub since it is, you know, a “hub” in the whole plan.

Everyone’s voice is important so tell politicians and planners what you want!

Ted Parkinson, Communications, MHBPNA

Musicians wanted for Duke Street West Music Fest!

musicianswanted

The first ever Duke Street West Music Fest will take place on June 23 at the Duke St. Playground. The event will run from 2pm-5pm, and will feature an all Mount Hope-Breithaupt Park-based lineup.

We currently have several musicians lined up, and we want to hear more local talent! We are planning to host an open mic for those who want to play one or two songs, and also have 15-20 minute sets available. Amateur, semi-professional, or professional, this is your chance to play the most laid-back festival in Waterloo Region. Kids are welcome to play the open mic or sign up for a set. We can also offer accompaniment if you’d like to sing a song or two.

If you would like to play, email mhbpna@gmail.com. If you just want to play on the playground while others make music, we can’t wait to see you on June 23!

Public Forum: Approachable Density

On January 25, 2018 the Mt. Hope – Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood Association held our first public forum of 2018 called “Approachable Density”. This featured Robin Mazumder, a doctoral candidate in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Waterloo and Craig Beattie from Perimeter Development group. 

MHBPNA Co-Chair Levi Oakey played a key role in organizing this and other forums because “we wanted to help bring neighbours together and challenge everyone to see their neighbourhood through a different lens. Our first forum was an attempt to see a more humane way of building a neighbourhood through good design that would bring people together rather than separate them.”

Approachable Density took place in Workplace One at the Breithaupt Block and demand exceeded our expectations! The room can seat 30 – 40 comfortably and the event “sold out” on Eventbrite a couple of weeks before it began. Many Neighbourhood Association events are held at the Breithaupt Centre and we wanted to try holding these forums in other places around the community, but it has been difficult to find public space.

Robin’s research is inspired by his passion for urbanism as well as his front line experience working as an occupational therapist (OT) in mental health. He graduated with his Master’s in Occupational Therapy from the University of Toronto in 2011. He worked with discharging patients and understood that city design impacted mental wellness. Robin saw how many people were lonely and when walking through their neighbourhoods with “cookie cutter houses” and poor transit, sociability was adversely impacted. Robin mentioned “Happy City” by Charles Montgomery as a book that influenced his thinking. Previously Mazumder has stated “People are becoming increasingly urbanized and moving to cities, and we have to start building cities and design them in ways that promote wellness and happiness”.  

 

Craig Beattie originally came to Waterloo Region through his work with the Waterloo Town Square. In that development, Craig’s work at the square earned him an Urban Land Institute Award as one of the top projects in North America. Craig discussed “why design matters” and analyzed several buildings to discuss what worked and what did not. For example, Absolute Towers in Mississauga won many design awards and look great from a distance but up close the design falls apart. When Craig and Perimeter Development proposed removing the parking from in front of Waterloo Town Square and creating an urban space there was resistance from the merchants. But over the past few years the former parking lot has transformed into a space for events and is used every day.

Both speakers received many questions and the audience was engaged throughout the evening. We thank everyone who came out and apologize there was not more room. This event highlights the need for more community space in our neighbourhood.

MHBPNA has initiated a development committee to engage with the city and developers about planning within our neighbourhood. We also want to provide more information about engagement meetings, developments, government and citizen interactions and many other pieces of information that are often lost.