Meredith Ammett has seen many changes to her quiet South End neighbourhood over the last 28 years.
“It was terrible years and years ago — you couldn’t even believe it,” she says. “People would run up and down drunk; there would be huge drunk parties everywhere. People would throw computers off of decks. Kids got away from home and just went crazy.”
Ammett lived on the street for 28 years, and is afraid the community may turn that way again, due to a proposed building plan.
A public hearing happened on Tuesday to consider a five-storey apartment building on 6345 Coburg Rd., at the corner of Larch Street and Coburg. At the meeting, municipal council heard that residents, like Ammett, were not happy with the building plan, or the idea that students may occupy it.
Some residents said they were concerned about their trees, parking, privacy, and the amount of space the building would take up.
Ammett doesn’t believe students mean to be offensive and that it’s done out of ignorance.
“They’ll just leave trash out, they don’t see it, they don’t pick it up because they don’t even see it. They’re not trying to be unneighbourly, or not friendly, they just think it’s fine to put their beer bottles out,” stated Ammett at the hearing. “It really changes the neighborhood; it makes it look really run down and everything starts to sink to a level that none of us live around there want.”
The hearing was filled with about a dozen people, many of them were a class of students, seated in the back with notepads and pens to observe and take notes.
“It’s not the students for me; the students for me means a bigger density number,” said Ammett. “As long as it all works out and everybody knows the rules, it can work, it can be just fine.”
Councillor Bill Karsten spoke up about in defense of the students.
“I understand as well the concern about students… but I took some of the comments to be a little harsh, perhaps,” said Karsten. “Yet, with the emotion expressed I can certainly look past them, but folks, the students we’re talking about are our future… I want these students to know they’re welcome here anytime at all.”
The current proposal for the multiple unit building is for single and double room apartments, with underground parking spaces. On Larch Street the majority of the buildings are residential houses.
“I wasn’t planning on speaking tonight, but I really wanted to let you know I am a student,” said Jeremy Banks, student at Dalhousie School of Architecture and Finance. “I hear a lot of concerns about the noise from this potentially five-story building, but I don’t hear concerns about the noise from the seventeen-storey building, and I don’t hear concerns from the three-storey building.”
Banks is concerned about affordable housing and housing availability.
“I can’t afford to live downtown, and looking at this, I might not be able to afford to live in that building,” said Banks. “But I do know in five to ten years, this will be affordable for me to live in, and if we’re ever going to have space affordable for me to live on the peninsula, a space like this will need to be built.”