Mayor Henry Braun, several councillors and a renegade resident implored the strata councils of two large Abbotsford apartments to switch course and allow those living in a proposed new building to use a nearby signalled intersection instead of attempting dangerous left-turns onto busy Gladwin Road.
Council gave the go-ahead Monday to a new proposed 73-unit apartment building that would complete the Regency Park development off of Gladwin Road. They did so despite concerns about the prevalence of left-turns onto Gladwin. The property was already zoned for an apartment, Coun. Ross Siemens noted; to proceed with the project the builder required a development permit and variances related to setbacks and the widths of a parking area drive aisle.
When first presented to council earlier this month, staff said the developer of the Central Park complex to the south had put aside money to build a gate allowing Regency Park residents to access Garibaldi Drive and its signalized intersection with Gladwin.
But at a public comment period this week, residents of neigghbouring buildings told council that two Regency Park stratas had soundly rejected the offer, saying that it would create additional ongoing costs and impact garbage pickup.
“I would suggest that a gate in that area is not in the least practical,” one resident said.
That’s a problem because, Coun. Dave Loewen said, ““I drive that frequently, and I often see people taking their lives into their hands making that left turn.”
Several other councillors expressed similar concerns, with Coun. Les Barkman said the site was an “accident waiting to happen.”
They urged the developer and the stratas to come to an agreement that will funnel traffic through Garibaldi intersection
Eventually, staff told council that it’s likely a median will be constructed to prevent such turns.
Another Regency Park resident, who said he was soundly outvoted at a strata meeting, urged the city to take quick action to force his neighbour’s hands.
“To me, the safety issue outweighs everything else and we need to have that access to Garibaldi,” he said. “If it takes a median to make people realize that, then I propose put a median in ASAP.”
Meanwhile, a 97-unit building set for George Ferguson Way, just west of the Clearbrook Library, drew unanimous support from council. A public hearing on the matter had generated little opposition or concern, although one resident expressing concern about traffic on the neighbourhood’s small streets.