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Large Waterloo housing development approved but residents raise affordability concerns

Over 400 rental units will be added on Quiet Place in Waterloo, but affordable units won't be included
Rendering of a residential development on Quiet Place in Waterloo. Supplied image

Waterloo council has given the green light to an application for a large residential development in a neighbourhood with mostly townhouses.

The new project on 535 Quiet Place would add 423 one or two-bedroom units for 735 bedrooms total.

The currently vacant triangular patch of land is near ION tracks, the Waterloop Trail, and the newly upgraded Albert McCormick Community Centre.

It will also be linked to a future trail connecting the University of Waterloo to the St. Jacobs Farmers Market. 

254 bike parking spaces and 424 vehicle parking spaces will be built. 

Kristin Barisdale, the planning consultant for the developer said affordable housing units will not be included.

"Based on the current market and forecast ... we would expect that the rental rates are going to be between $2200 and $3000. However, the construction market and market demands are quite volatile at this point," she told Waterloo city council on Monday.

Both residents who supported and didn't support the project expressed concern Waterloo is becoming unaffordable with new developments like this. 

David Borrison called into the meeting, telling Waterloo council he lives near the site and would be considered low income.

"It's just sad that working people with jobs were able to live in Waterloo less than five years ago, can no longer afford to live here and won't be able to afford to live here," he said.

"I love this neighbourhood. I love the balance of it. I love the diversity of the residents, structures, and businesses. I'm just very concerned that I will not be able to live here."

Borrison told Waterloo council he's worried about being priced out of the neighbourhood and said he hears from people everyday who are just as scared.

"I fear the day when I get the notice that my building is being sold, a tower will go up, and what replaces is several hundred, if not thousands more, than what we currently pay," he said.

Matthew Garrits told the council he's a graduate student who supports the development. 

"As someone who continues to rent here, and somebody who wants to consider staying and buying a home in Waterloo this decade, I think increasing the housing stock is going to do a lot for someone like me, In terms of trying to cool the housing market just a little more. That it means eventually, my income can catch up to the place it needs to be to actually be able to afford that."

Councillor Angela Veith said the housing supply is needed and she's looking forward to a new development that will fit in well with the neighbourhood.

She added it will provide a good option for people who don't want, or don't have a car.  

Barisdale said the developer is still waiting for final site plan approval, so it will not move forward with construction in the immediate future.

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