Residence plans resisted

Community members disapprove of building proposals

The University will go back to the drawing board after the two new proposed residences faced criticism.
The University will go back to the drawing board after the two new proposed residences faced criticism.
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The University’s plans for two new residence buildings on campus could face setbacks after public input on the project showed to be overwhelmingly negative.

On June 20, the University presented a public meeting report to the City of Kingston’s Planning Committee, at council chambers, where they sought to amend a bylaw which restricts building density in the area.

Currently, all Queen’s residences are in compliance with the regulation, which caps building density at 519 units per hectare. The proposal would place 538 units per hectare on Albert St., and near 900 units per hectare on Stuart St.

The Albert St. residence is expected to be a nine-storey, 272-bed building while the Stuart Street building will be a five-storey unit with 272 beds. The residences are to be built at 222 Stuart St., by the lake, and at 28 Albert St., close to Leonard Field.

After the first statutory public meeting on April 18, the University revised their plan to best suit the needs of the community, after facing criticism from local residents.

In the initial design, the Stuart St. building was a storey higher. It’s since been modified and the extra level has been placed on top of the Albert Street building to comply with public input presented in April.

In addition to these revisions, the Stuart St. building design has been reduced in mass and moved as close to the street as possible, maximizing yard space. It’s said to be about four to five feet longer than Leggett Hall.

The Committee notified up to 90 residents within 120 metres of the subject site prior to the meeting taking place on Thursday.

Of the five local residents who spoke at the meeting, none approved of the plans. Kingston MPP John Gerretsen explained his concerns with the size and bulk of the buildings as they will be located close to the lake front.

Peter Rubens, a resident who lives on King St. West, said he had concerns about the surplus of traffic that the new residents will create. He also suggested building residences in other areas like West Campus.

Two other local residents expressed frustration at Queen’s for their reluctance to build on West Campus.

“How long until they turn Albert Street into a one-way street?” Rubens added. “Queen’s has been doing this all over campus.”

John Matthews, a resident who lives on Collingwood St., addressed the concerns regarding the traffic caused by trucks on his street delivering food to campus cafeterias.

“There are too many trucks on Collingwood for supplying food for students. Maybe change the location of those students,” he said. Catherine Wright, AMS municipal affairs commissioner, said she supported the construction of these two buildings.

“The planned area is central to many of the other residences which helps to establish a community,” she said.

She said the close proximity of Health, Counselling and Disability Services is a plus for students.

“Peer support is easy and accessible,” she said.

Public input gathered at the meeting will be presented to the City later in the year, at which point Council will vote on whether to amend the zoning bylaw for the University.

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