Walkabout, Aug 17, check out the site for “The Shanley”

Join us for a Walkabout of the Electrohome development site – August 17th

You are invited to join Sarah Marsh, some of the Shannondale crew (the developer) and City Staff for a Walkabout of the Electrohome site.

Time – anytime between 10 and 11:30 am

Date – Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Location – 134-152 Shanley Street

NB – Covid guidelines apply

It’s a great opportunity to get an update on the current status of the plans following the initial public meeting a number of months ago.   We understand that Shannondale has prepared some “storey boards” with additional information on the build in response to some of the questions the neighbours raised at the public meeting.

If you are unable to attend the August 17th “open house”/walkabout, you can email Craig Dumart (the City Planner assigned to the project) – he is more than willing to answer your questions or set up a meeting to discuss the build.   Craig’s contact details are below.

Craig Dumart, BES, MCIP, RPP

Planner | Planning Division | City of Kitchener
(519) 741-2200 ext 7073 | TTY 1-866-969-9994 | craig.dumart@kitchener.ca

152 Shanley Update: are we there yet?

As many neighbours know, the story of 152 Shanley has been long and winding. 

You can read a short history of Electrohome in Kitchener and area, through this website

For decades the site had been vacant and was contaminated by a paint company that had dumped industrial solvent trichloroethylene into the ground.

On this Blog we posted a history of the property in 2013 in two parts. For some helpful background on various efforts to move the development of this site forward (along with cleaning up the contamination), please read Update 1 and Update 2. There are links in those articles to stories that were published in the Record regarding citizens who were actively trying to find resolutions to a building that had been sitting vacant for decades. The building’s reputation was not helped when a few bricks fell off. Along the way, the former owner attempted to run a few businesses out of the site which were illegal given the condition of the building.

The City of Kitchener initiated two tax sales and the rules of each were determined by the Municipal Act which has strict requirements about which bids could be accepted and the price. The price was related to the taxes owing which were over 1 million dollars. In the first sale, none of the bids was high enough and in the second sale the owner paid $455.000 in back taxes to retain control of the building

After the first (failed) tax sale, and in response to constant and growing pressure from residents, MHBPNA and our city councillors (first, Dan Glenn-Graham and then Sarah Marsh) the city of Kitchener organized a design charrette for the property. Over 60 residents attended the charette (held in the main atrium at Kitchener City Hall) and were divided into a number of groups to discuss several questions including what they would like for the site, what they thought would suit the neighbourhood, various design ideas etc. The city had a list of speakers with presentations who talked about the property, the health of the building (and whether or not it would have to be torn down). The size of the lot was also compared with the midtown lofts in an effort to show the number of units that might be required for a profitable development. 

After receiving all the input from the charette, the city created a Vision Statement. It was hoped that creating this “vision” would inspire more interest in the second tax sale and the city did have a number of companies asking questions and requesting information about zoning etc. However, as stated above, the property owner wound up paying a portion of the taxes owing which legally allowed him to retain ownership. But eventually, the property was sold to Shannondale Developments who have engaged the community with public meetings and have sponsored the murals that currently adorn their wooden fence around the site. After sitting idle, and contaminated, for over 30 years, 152 Shanley was demolished and the company is moving ahead with development plans.

The City of Kitchener’s Vision Statement is worth reading since Shannondale’s Planning Justification and Urban Design report contains a two and a half page section on how their development will “implement the vision statement”. 

There is a full set of documents related to Shannondale’s application here

In the past year our neighbourhood, city and communities have been challenged by growth pressures and constant development projects. To understand why many of the large development projects are happening in MHBPNA, we need to consider Official Plans, density targets and the LRT. 

Each region or municipality in Ontario is required to produce an Official Plan. Official plans are intended to establish policies on how land in the community should be used (think of it as what, where, how and when things will grow or be built). Since Waterloo Region is two tiered (Region of Waterloo: upper tier) and the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo plus the townships (lower tiers) the Region of Waterloo establishes the Regional Official Plan (ROP) from Provincial guidelines and then each lower-tier municipality sets their own Official Plan following these guidelines. You can learn more about the exciting world of Regional Official Plans and associated provincial policies, including the Ontario Planning Act and Places to Grow for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, here. These long term strategies guide decisions impacting our social, economic, heritage and natural environments. “Long term” means that most are asking for 20-30 year timeline. 

We have a history of some remarkable directives being established in our ROP including the Countryside Line. Hold the Line WR describes it as ‘a boundary that protects the cultural, economic and environmental of our rural lands from the pressures of urban sprawl’. The Countryside Line directs development to remain contained within established growth boundaries instead of sprawling endlessly outward consuming all available land. It is important to remember that our governing municipalities (upper and lower) are required to develop Official Plans to guide how our communities grow and develop. By maintaining the Countryside Line we are challenged us to grow Up instead Out. This means that areas of our city have been designated for intensification efforts especially where there are transit systems to support a denser population.

What this means in our MHBP neighbourhood is that we see intensification around the LRT corridor. This is both exciting and challenging for the residents living next door to this growth. Exploring what kinds of intensification are best suited for each site or land plot are important conversations for our residents to engage. We have seen some willingness from developers to include the requests and vision of neighbours into their plans. The development at 152 Shanley demonstrates the challenge of balancing these often conflicting elements.

Official City of Kitchener Stuff:

The City has received an application from a private property owner (Shannondale) who is asking to change the City’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law for the property at 134-152 Shanley Street. Part of the reason the city created the Vision Statement was to show they were flexible with these kinds of applications if the developer was adhering to it.

The application is requesting relief from setbacks, parking and density requirements to permit an 8 storey building, including an internal parking structure, rooftop amenity terrace and a total of 172 residential units.

The factory was 4 floors, but they were higher than a ‘typical’ condo/apartment building. Shannondale’s project (at its highest point) is three metres higher than that proposed in the city’s Vision Statement. However, the design of the building is an improvement from that statement because it ‘steps back’ from the street to appear less invasive and to have a better shade distribution (the documents linked above include extensive shade studies).

Interested residents are invited to attend a ‘virtual’ neighbourhood meeting to discuss the proposed Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment applications. The neighbourhood meeting will be held virtually (through Zoom):

Date: Thursday, June 17, 2021

Time: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

(Presentation to begin at 7:00 pm and will be followed by a question and comment period. Please join the meeting approximately 5 minutes in advance to get set up.)

You can register by the end of day Tuesday, June 15th, 2021 by emailing tara.zhang@kitchener.ca. The city would like you to include your name, email and mailing address with your registration request so that they can confirm attendance. A confirmation email will be sent when you register, and a Zoom link will be sent within 24 hours of the meeting.

Residents can also send comments directly to juliane.vonwesterholt@kitchener.ca 

The original letter says to send comments “hopefully by June 11” but we know the city will accept feedback at any point. 

Photo and Sketch Contest – 2021

We have a diverse and colourful neighbourhood


Calling all neighbourhood artists and photographers, MHBPNA is having a contest! To help continue to brighten spirits this spring we are running a new MHBPNA Photo and Sketch contest!

There are some beautiful spaces and places across our neighbourhood, and we want to see them. We encourage everyone (amateur or expert) of any age in the MHBPNA area to capture some of your favourite spots. We’ve had a previous contest, but this is our first year to include children, youth and adults plus sketches of life in the ‘hood. Feel free to get together as a family for an old time drawing session.

To enter, submit a photo/sketch/work of art that you have taken within (or features) the Mount Hope-Breithaupt Park area to .

Each submission must include: your name, the name of the street that you live on, contact (email or phone), and a short description (100 words max) of the image. You may use existing photos if they fit the qualifications.

All photos/sketches must:
1.           Be something within the MHBPNA boundaries (within the borders of King Street, Victoria Street, Lancaster Street, and the City of Kitchener boundary).
All suitable entries will be entered into a draw, and 5 winners will be selected at random for each of the two categories:
1.           Sketch
2.           Photos

This year the prizes we will be offering are ten $25 gift cards from local businesses in the neighbourhood! Neighbours helping Neighbours!

Please Note! All submitted photos and sketches will become the property of the MHBPNA and may be used for future articles, blogs or promotions. Artist attribution will be used whenever possible. We will certainly post many of your submissions on our website.

The deadline for submissions is May 31st. Winners will be drawn at random and notified by June 4, 2021.

City of Kitchener and Additional Dwelling Units, April 19, 2021

The City (Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee)  will be holding a virtual public meeting on April 19th at 7 pm.   You can watch the meeting through kitchener.ca/watch in these COVID times.   If you wish to make either verbal or written comments you need to register as a delegate with Legislative Services prior to the meeting (kitchener.ca/delegations).

The agenda includes

  1. OPA/zoning amendments for the Polocorp development on Mill/Queen
  2. 298 Lawrence OPA and re-zoning
  3. Additional Dwelling Units.  The project team working on the amendment to Zoning Bylaw 85-1 will be presenting their recommendations to the Committee to allow additional detached units (coach houses, backyard homes, laneway suites or tiny homes) in R1 to R7 zones.  Recommendations include size of unit, setbacks, building height, location on the lot.   (In a conversation I had with the project team they indicated that there are potentially 10,000 lots in the City which would be eligible through the additional dwelling bylaws).

You personally may not be interested in building an additional dwelling on your lot but this might be a zoning bylaw amendment that you may wish to understand as it will no doubt have an impact on other lots throughout the Mt. Hope/Breithaupt Park neighbourhood.

Catherine Owens

MHBPNA Meeting, Sunday Feb 21, 7 pm, Zoom

MHBPNA is having a board meeting this Sunday at 7 pm via Zoom. Everyone in our neighbourhood is invited to attend. Please email us at “mhbpna@gmail.com” or message us on our Facebook page for the Zoom information.

We will be discussing several topics including:

-How is everyone doing?
-Board selection
-Downtown Neighbourhood Association update
-Development Committee update
-Music Festival?
-Other programs we could run during these ‘challenging times’.
-Other topics

If you would like to know about our neighbourhood, get involved in some way, or just hang out with moderately cool people, please ask for the Zoom link.

Junior Kindergarten Registration is Open

With so many families living and moving in to our neighbourhood we thought we would pass on the message from our local schools:
Junior Kindergarten registration is open!
You can check out the details on Junior Kindergarten (kids born in 2017),
Senior Kindergarten (kids born in 2016),
and all other grades on the board websites.

Planning 101 from the City of Kitchener

The City held their pilot session on December 1st on “planning 101”.  The session was very well attended online and City staff did a great job of outlining how the planning process works and how residents can become involved in projects impacting their neighbourhoods.  This was the initial session and the module will become available for wider distribution in 2021.  If you were not able to join on December 1st,  we would encourage you to watch for when the session is repeated in 2021 – the plans are to run it again three times in 2021 – the first probably being January.  We will post when these are occurring on this website and our MHBPNA Facebook page.

In addition to the formal presentation, City staff allowed 45 minutes for a Q and A on the planning process. 

The Q and A session addressed numerous resident questions but these were the major themes impacting our immediate neighbourhood.

  1. Parkland plans in the Innovation District and the City’s rules on “cash in lieu of parklands” (where the developer pays a cash levy in lieu of parkland/greenspace).
  2. Use of the Bramm Yards (Victoria and Joseph). 
  3. How the Committee of Adjustment works, how these decisions are made and by whom and what constitutes a minor variance – particularly apropos to infill/teardowns in the neighbourhood
  4. Affordable housing initiatives by the City
  5. Laneway and Coach houses in existing neighbourhoods
  6. Density targets to increase the number of people/jobs in the downtown and areas surrounding the downtown in Major Transit Station Areas (our neighbourhood)
  7. How the Region’s Transit Hub fits into neighbourhood planning.

Keep an eye out for future Planning 101 sessions.

Catherine Owens

MHBPNA Annual General Meeting, Dec 5, 1 pm

Please join the MHBPNA for our 2020 AGM.
1:00 pm: Welcome, Land acknowledgement
1:05 pm: Agenda, any tech troubleshooting
1:10 – 1:45 pm: Special Guest: Darren Kropf, Active Transportation City of Kitchener
1:45 – 2:15 pm: Sarah Marsh, Ward 10 Councillor, City of Kitchener
2:15 pm: Impact of COVID to NAs
2:20 pm: Development Committee Report
2:25 pm Treasurer Report
2:30 pm: DNA Update
2:40 pm: call for interest in NA positions, questions about the NA
2:55 pm: Closing
How to join:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 833 4127 8557
Passcode: 434636
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Dial by your location
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kddsHpd6ia
Meeting ID: 833 4127 8557
Passcode: 434636 

COVID information

Recently there was an article in The Record about Waterloo Region (in the province of Ontario) moving to “yellow” status over the weekend. But what does that mean? It is difficult to understand the various restrictions and how they change.

Health officials say, ‘wash your hands’, ‘avoid meeting in groups, especially indoors’, ‘avoid close contact’, ‘wear a mask whenever you cannot maintain a 6′ distance, or when shopping indoors’ etc. These recommendations have not changed in months.

For a fairly complete and official look at Ontario and COVID, we hope everyone reads this document:

COVID-19 Response Framework

As always, stay safe! And remember our AGM on December 5th.