2005-10-28

Local News:
Storm brewing on Glenridge

Printed from www.stcatharinesstandard.ca web site
Friday, October 28, 2005 - © 2005 St. Catharines Standard

By Marlene Bergsma

Thursday, October 27, 2005 - 01:00

- Ray Brodeur is sick of the impact students are having on his neighbourhood.

“I’ve lived here 40 years,” said the south St. Catharines resident, who is regularly awakened by the noise of partying students, and who picks up nearly a dozen beer bottles from his lawn each weekend. “Why should I have to move because of them?

“Thank God for all the cold and rain we’ve had. You wouldn’t normally pray for rain, but it keeps them (students) off the streets,” said Brodeur. “You don’t know the troubles we’ve had in the south end here.”

That’s why Brodeur and many of his neighbours intend to be at a public meeting hosted by the City of St. Catharines Tuesday night, to tell city officials what they think of a plan to increase the residential density along Glenridge Avenue.

The plan comes after a development freeze was imposed on all the properties on Glenridge between the CNR tracks and the base of the escarpment in June 2004. The city had received an application from a landlord who wanted to turn a four-plex into a six-plex, and city planners wanted time to study the whole neighbourhood.

Last month, city planners proposed the density along Glenridge be increased to permit six-plexes and apartment buildings.

Brodeur thinks that would be a mistake because it will only mean more students living in the neighbourhood.

“It won’t solve anything for the people who live in Old Glenridge and the people who live in south St. Catharines,” he said. “The students will still be there.”

Carolyn Toth, a member of Concerned Citizens of St. Catharines, also rejects the idea, and said her group is distributing hundreds of notices throughout the neighbourhood, alerting residents to the upcoming meeting.

“This is the solution the city has come up with when student housing landlords want to make more money,” said Toth. “It will just mean intensification of noise, intensification of parking, intensification of garbage. The residents are very upset about it. The only ones who aren’t upset are the landlords.”

For its part, the city knows the Glenridge intensification is only “a small part of the puzzle,” said Judy Pihach, a planner.

“It’s not going to solve the problems,” she agreed. “Zoning doesn’t deal with student behaviour, or noise or parking enforcement. Those are bigger issues.”

But by encouraging more development along a main corridor with bus service and easy access to the Pen Centre and Brock University “it may take some of the heat off the student housing market.”

Pihach said there are no guarantees, but if more housing is available along Glenridge, students may prefer the convenience of living on a main artery, and the result may be fewer student houses on quiet residential streets.

Six-plexes also require site-plan control, which would give the city the right to determine fencing, garbage storage, parking and landscaping for new developments, said Pihach.

The city can’t zone against students, she said, it can only zone for housing type.

Two weeks ago, Brodeur was awakened by the noise of a crowd of students after a night of partying at an outdoor patio of a Pen Centre bar. At 2:45 a.m., he followed the sound of the noise and drove to Jacobsen Avenue.

“There was one guy and one girl having sex on the front lawn of a house, there were two girls completely passed out on a boulevard, and one guy passed out on a lawn, and the police are sitting in their cruiser looking at this stuff.”

Brodeur said he asked the officers why they weren’t arresting people, and was shocked by their response.

“They said ‘We were told not to arrest them because the Crown attorney doesn’t want to prosecute them,’ ” saidBrodeur. “There was 150 students out there and they don’t want to get out of their car.”

Niagara Regional Police Sergeant Todd McKinnon said he is unaware of such an instruction from the Crown attorney. He said enforcement of laws depends on the situation, but police are issuing noise tickets.

On another occasion, Brodeur claims he chased eight youths who were stealing his neighbour’s gas barbecue.

“I am just getting frustrated; I have just had it with this crap.”

That’s why Brodeur won’t be surprised if the meeting Tuesday is packed.

“I can see the frustrations people are going through.”

The information meeting will be held at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School on Nov. 1, from 7 to 9 p.m.

A final decision on the Glenridge intensification issue will be made by city council after a public meeting on Nov. 28.

ID- 131137

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