A townhouse development in west Abbotsford is being opposed by neighbours, many who showed up at a public hearing on Monday night.
The development was approved unanimously by council without further discussion later in the evening, paving the way for 26 new homes at 3440 Mt. Lehman Rd. The new development will be tucked behind Heritage Alliance Church and despite its civic address being on Mt. Lehman, it will be accessed via Robin Drive, a short road ending in a cul-de-sac.
And that’s not sitting well with any of the residents on Robin Drive. They brought several concerns to the public hearing, mostly regarding traffic safety.
“Our biggest concern as a neighbourhood is the traffic that these 26 units is going to be adding on,” said one resident. “We know that development happens, and we would like to see this development road go through Mt. Lehman. But as per it going through Robin Drive, traffic is our biggest concern.”
Every resident of Robin Drive has filled out forms regarding the proposed development and sent them into the city prior to the meeting, according to those who spoke in the hearing.
One woman, a senior who lives in the adjacent Eden Court on Mt. Lehman said the development would cause even more problems for the quickly growing neighbourhood.
“I don’t think anything we as residents have to say is going to change anything, but I feel I have to say this,” she said. “We’ve had to deal with all the construction on Mt. Lehman. We are now putting up with an influx of critters, all coming across because of the construction.”
The development site is currently a private property greenspace that many residents use for recreation.
“It was a little oasis, it’s not even a proper-sized playing field, how you can allow townhouses and not even allow this greenspace?”
She said there is an area behind the church being designated as a prayer path, but now is unsure what that path will be like with the lack of greenspace nearby.
“Obviously this will go ahead but you need to be more cognizant as you build in Abbotsford, of green space, recreation, places for people to walk, to breath some fresh air. Right now all we are breathing is construction and dust,” she said.
She was applauded by those in the audience.
A representative of the project from Barnett Dembek Architects spoke up and said there would be a play structure in the area, and said that there will be an open park where anyone can walk and enjoy the space.
He added that the space is currently private property and people are trespassing, but with the development it will be open space for anyone to use.
“We’ve done the best we can,” said Maciej Dembek. “We’ve lost units in the process, broken buildings apart.”
Still many voiced concerns that the influx of traffic would be too high, estimating 52 cars for the 26 units.
One man who got up to speak about his fears said it was the first time he ever spoke in public, but it was that important to him to bring his concerns.
Some council members did also question staff about the concerns following the public speaking portion. Coun. Sandra Blue asked about safety of children on the street, as many families stated they play on the cul-de-sac.
Staff said the cul-de-sac would be enlarged but that Robin Drive is only feasible access point.
“I have personally driven there and seen the situation and talked to people about it,” Blue said.
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