The increase in traffic from a proposed development of 435 housing units in west Abbotsford was a major concern for neighbours at a public hearing on Monday – but supporters spoke on the need for housing and density in the area.
The proposal would see 400 apartment units and 35 townhouse units at Maclure Road and Livingstone Avenue built on what is currently zoned as country residential, with a portion designated as resource conservation land.
If approved, the project would be required to meet a number of conditions, including a payment of almost $350,000 to the city’s parkland acquisition fund and $200,000 for habitat compensation in the neighbouring Gardner Park, which would include the installation of new streams and ponds, removal of invasive species and the replanting of areas with naturally occurring vegetation.
Eric Taylor, a resident of Livingstone Avenue, said the development would have a negative impact on traffic, saying the area – which is near the exit to Highway 1 and Fraser Highway – is already congested.
“It’s going to be an absolute zoo.”
Neighbours were also concerned about the density of the proposal. John Grant, who lives on a neighbouring street, said there are single-family homes next to the site, and while he’s not concerned about townhouses, the apartments are “too much.”
The project would have to include the installation of a new traffic signal at the entrance of the development, almost $20,000 cash-in-lieu for street trees, the dedication of land for a concrete pad for a bus stop, bench and shelter, and $10,000 for a pedestrian countdown timer at Maclure Road and Livingstone Avenue, provided by the developer.
Multiple residents also spoke about the impact of traffic from drivers heading to commercial developments in the area, such as the Highstreet shopping centre, which is frequently accessed along Blue Jay Street, which is a continuation of Livingstone Avenue.
John Vissers, who is not a resident of the area but has been chair of the city’s environmental advisory committee, said he was in favour of the project. He said the density and proximity to shopping would help get people out of cars and walking to nearby destinations, densifying in an area that can handle it.
He wanted the money given to the city’s parkland acquisition fund to be used to purchase similar habitat or replace natural habitat.
Paul Esposito Sr., who is the director of Red Valley Enterprises Ltd., the applicant on the project, said the development will respond to a need for affordable housing in Abbotsford.
He owns a business in Highstreet and said the businesses there need customers and the development would add more people to the area.
Council deferred their decision on the proposal to the next meeting.