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Developer cries foul over rejection of apartment project in the Hart

Project approved for the Bowl in 2017 sign of double-standard, suggests Bruce Kidd

A developer says his proposal to build a townhouse complex in the Hart should have been allowed to proceed to a public hearing.

In July, city council turned down at first reading an application from Kidd Real Estate Holdings to rezone a seven-hectare (17-acre) site at Sparwood and Chief Lake roads to make way for 120 units of one, two and three-bedroom units spread over three buildings. 

Had the Sparwood Landing project passed first reading, the proposal would have been the subject of a public hearing.

Staff had recommended council deny the application saying the buildings would be larger in scale than those typical to the neighbourhood and the location lacked access to transit and nearby amenities like shopping. 

But in an email to the Citizen, Bruce Kidd claimed 80 per cent of residents surveyed in the area were in support of the project. 

He also accused the city of a double-standard and pointed to a townhouse and apartment complex at 4278-22nd Ave. - adjacent to the southwest corner of Exhibition Park - as proof. As approved by city council in late 2017, that project encompasses 150 units over two hectares.

Kidd maintained that project did not seem to meet those same requirements his project has had to live up to, yet was allowed to go ahead.

"The apartment and townhouse  project at 22nd doesn’t have bus service, or sidewalks nor is it toward facing. Is there a double standard to developing in Prince George?," Kidd said.

The proposal on 22nd Avenue did draw four letters of opposition or concern, largely over the impact the project could have on traffic, but no members of the public spoke at the public hearing when it was held in October 2017.

There was a sidewalk along the south side of 22nd from Ospika to Weber Crescent but not on the north side where the site is located. However, council appeared to have been swayed upon learning that it would be enough to warrant installation of traffic lights at the corner of Ospika and 22nd.

Turning at the intersection had been an ongoing issue for nearby residents, council was told. The lights have since been installed.

"Now I realize this is a different area but sometimes we need to break the mould and bring new ideas for housing to the table. It’s obvious we have a rental shortage and a housing shortage in all areas of Prince George," Kidd said.

He said rents and prices are rising because there is not enough supply and that council should look at projects with the city's overall housing needs in mind, "not just the Bowl area or College Heights." 

City spokesperson Mike Kellett said proposals can be brought back to city council for reconsideration after six months.