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Apartment towers see blowback from local residents

Local residents filled the council chambers to oppose the development of four apartment buildings at 133 Ritson Road North, across from the existing Costco plaza. (Photo by Joel Wittnebel)

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

One person’s Eden is another person’s hell it seems.

At a planning act meeting on Feb. 26, approximately 100 Oshawa residents filled the council chambers to share their opposition to a development slated for 133 Ritson Road North, directly across the street from the existing Costco plaza.

The land, currently a brownfield site and the former home of GM auto parts supplier Ontario Steel, is set to be converted to four apartment buildings, some as high as 12 storeys, along with a collection of townhouses and commercial uses.

Original estimates could see as many as 355 apartment units located in the development, along with over 700 underground parking spaces.

It’s a development that was labelled an “oasis”, and a “place for family and community residents”, by Mark Jacobs from the Biglieri Group who is working on the design for developer WinStone Developments.

Many residents shared serious concerns about the project moving forward, including worries around future traffic congestion, crime increases, privacy loss, and worries around the heights of the proposed buildings.

“I have serious concerns about this and I feel like there isn’t much care being taken in this,” said resident Martin Shepherd.

And while the development was supported by one resident who spoke at the meeting, noting the future benefits the development could have on the city as a whole, many of the concerns that were raised did not deal with the future, but looked at how the ongoing mediation of the property is affecting them right now.

“The entire home shakes and rattles,” Shepherd told councillors. “I can’t live like this.”

The developer explained that they hoped to have the remediation work completed by June of this year. However, it was also shared that potential construction of the project could take up to five years.

It was also noted that a number of contaminants have since been removed from the site, including eight large storage tanks left behind, filled with approximately a quarter million litres of fuel.

“There was stuff found, but it’s all cleaned up,” Jacobs said.

With that said, many residents expressed worries about how the digging and pounding that would go on to clear the way for a large underground parking garage was going to impact the 90-year-old foundations of the surrounding homes.