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Residents oppose new retirement residence

Chartwell Senior Homes has approval for a new seven-storey building on Ormond Drive

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Residents of a north Oshawa neighbourhood are hoping to fight back against a proposed expansion to a local retirement residence.

Chartwell Senior Homes has received  site plan approval for a new seven-storey      residence on Ormond Drive near Woodmount Drive.

The new facility would be located near the existing Wynfield Retirement Residence at 431 Woodmount Drive.

The proposed building would house 201 units on six-storeys, as well as a partial seventh storey for a maintenance unit.

Additionally, the project would include 139 underground parking spaces.

At a recent development services committee meeting, area resident Ron Bremner delivered a petition including 34 signatures in opposition to Chartwell’s               proposal.

Bremner called the project a case of “private interest colliding with public interest.”

Having found out about the project about two months ago, Bremner claimed he was “blindsided.”

He also claims Chartwell has “discluded” local residents from conversations pertaining to the expansion.

At the top of the list of Bremner’s concerns was parking.

He claims the Wynfield Retirement Residence faces a “parking deficit” especially for staff and visitors.

By adding 200 more units, Bremner believes the problem will continue to grow, especially when taking more visitors, staff and service vehicles into consideration.

These new units, which include kitchens, will attract a younger demographic, many of who still drive, Bremner said, adding what is proposed can’t really be considered a retirement residence.

“It’s an apartment building by another name,” he told the committee.

The long-time area resident says a seven-storey building just doesn’t fit in.

“It’s just too big for that neighbourhood,” he said.

The residents suggest downsizing the project to a five-storey, 150-unit building with no cooking units, and to include “sufficient” parking.

Bremner also wants to see a temporary access road to the residence off Ritson Road North become permanent.

He told councillors he feels “diminished and insulted,” and in his view, the company doesn’t respect the opinions or property values of area residents.

The neighbourhood needs help in the battle, he said.

“We don’t want the city sitting on the fence while we were battling it out with Chartwell, we need the city on our side.”

Janine Reed, a spokesperson for Chartwell, responded to the Express’ request for comment via e-mail.

“Chartwell Wynfield is expanding to help accommodate the aging population in Oshawa by proving greater levels of care options. Our expansion plans have  been developed and approved in accordance with local bylaws and in partnership with the City of Oshawa,” Reed wrote. “As part of this project, we are expanding the parking lot to accommodate those residents who have cars, staff and visitors. The new expanded lot                         will provide ample parking and alleviate the current need to park on the roads.”