After four months of public engagement, the team at Boudreau Communities believes they have settled on a final vision for the Riverbank Landing development.
About 40 people joined a virtual public meeting over Zoom on Nov. 10 to hear updates on the developer's revised design and ask questions before the developer resubmits its application to city council this month. Dave Haut, CEO and president of Boudreau Communities, said the company has taken resident comments from the last public hearing in October into account through the revision process.
"As with most large projects, it took a few attempts to get it right," Haut wrote in an email to the Gazette. "We received a lot of comments from the last meeting on the concern of walling off the river, traffic and having the building simply too large, so we took another look at how to reduce the overall mass and introduce light, air and architectural movement."
The developer's journey to gaining community support for a mixed-use, high-density development near the Shops at Boudreau began after city council voted down a bylaw amendment for the first design back in June. About 70 residents made it clear during an 11-hour public hearing they did not approve of Boudreau's original plan, which featured two 26-storey high-rise buildings.
Now, building heights have been reduced by half and there are 20 per cent fewer suites, with 360 units. Commercial space has also been reduced, and would take up just six per cent of the site, instead of up to 35 per cent.
Boudreau has moved away from its 'L' shaped staircase design since the last webinar. Now, a 15-storey condominium building would be built closest to the river. Attached to that is a lower podium comprised of three storeys of riverfront condo units, which peel back to a rooftop and garden area. A one-story restaurant is planned closest to the Shops at Boudreau.
To the right of the condos would be an outdoor village square with pathways to the riverfront, seating and outdoor fireplaces for seasonal use. Next to that would be a three-storey seniors building, near single-family homes in Oakmont.
Thirteen two-storey townhomes filling out the upper corner of the parcel nearest to homes on Bellerose Drive offers another option for older residents. Further along Bellerose Drive is a 40-metre condominium building with main floor retail and micro-loft units above. Next to that is a five-storey office building, with two-bedroom units available above the main floor.
Haut said the development would bring $1.6 million per year in revenue for the city. If the second application is approved, construction will move forward in four phases over a five-year period, he said.
Traffic was one of the biggest community concerns around Boudreau's plans for this development. With the new layout, the developer hired transportation planning consultant Bunt & Associates Ltd. to complete a traffic study.
The company called improvements to traffic operations at Boudreau Road and Bellerose Drive "necessary," given that traffic at the intersection is over capacity during peak times.
They recommended the developer add a shared left through lane on the north approach of the intersection, extend the existing southbound left-turn bay at the intersection for more queuing space, and develop a northbound right turn bay to improve northbound right turns at the intersection.
"In a standard process, if the traffic report says improvements need to be made because of the development, then that's a developer cost," Haut said.
The company also found Boudreau's mixed-use proposal generates fewer traffic trips compared to developments under the current area structure plan, according to Boudreau.
During the webinar, residents still had reservations about whether the area could sustain additional traffic. Haut said Boudreau would commit to hosting a meeting on traffic concerns in the future.