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Saturday, September 30, 2023
Long-range plans for Glendale neighbourhood unveiled
Long term plans for Glendale could include new schools, grocery stores and a major transit hub. (Supplied)

With 19,000 people or more by 2043, area could have transit hub, schools, retail stores


Steve Hardaker
Community Correspondent

Residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Glendale community received an update on long-term plans for the area – including potential new schools, grocery stores and a major transit hub – during a public information meeting last week.

About 40 people attended a briefing on the Glendale secondary plan project at the Hilton Garden Inn on York Road on June 21.

Other long-range ideas discussed included restrictions on density, building heights and potential population growth due to the neighbourhood’s close proximity to Niagara District Airport.

Within 20 to 30 years, the Glendale neighbourhood could have 19,000 residents, more than the current population of NOTL.

Glendale is bordered by Queenston Road to the north, Concession 7 to the east, the Niagara Escarpment to the south and Homer Road to the west.

Four separate locations near the new diverging diamond interchange are being considered for a bus terminal, which is envisioned as part of other community facilities.

The current preferred location is near the intersection of Glendale Avenue and Taylor Road, not far from the Outlet Collection mall.

Discussions with three Niagara school boards are ongoing and the Catholic and public boards each are considering building an elementary school.

The schools could be co-located on adjacent properties or one might be north of the QEW and the other south of the highway.

As well, it was revealed the Conseil Scolaire Viamonde (the region’s French public school board) could be interested in locating a high school in Glendale.

A portion of Glendale falls under federal airport zoning regulations for the Niagara District Airport and building heights within that zone are restricted to seven storeys.

Niagara Region is reviewing Transport Canada’s regulations and their potential influence on development.

Proposed building heights for the higher-density builds will be dependent in part on the outcome of the review, the results of which are expected by this August.

Among those attending the information session were NOTL’s chief planner Kirsten McCauley, senior regional planner Amy Shanks, three consultants working on the project and Coun. Sandra O’Connor.

In an email response to questions from The Lake Report, McAuley said, “The vision for Glendale is to become a complete community. The secondary plan policies will encourage a variety of land uses and built form with a diverse range of housing.”

“Providing some higher-density built form in Glendale will increase housing options for different family sizes, ages and incomes,” she said.

“Glendale is identified as a strategic growth area in the Niagara official plan to accommodate growth for the town.”

The purpose of last week’s session was to outline the progress on the secondary plan so far. When completed and approved, the plan should lead to submission of development applications from the various landowners in the community.

The public meeting was preceded by a community focus group session on June 19 where members listened to and discussed the details that were presented at the community forum.

The focus group is made up of several residents, project consultants and municipal planning staff.

One member of the town’s urban design committee is on the focus group to ensure similar design standards are used in Glendale as in the other settlement areas of NOTL.

When Niagara Region completed the Glendale Niagara district plan in the fall of 2020 developing a vision and a plan to support future residential and employment development in Glendale, it authorized staff to work collaboratively with the Town of NOTL on updating the existing Glendale secondary plan.

The region’s Glendale plan also includes a small portion of St. Catharines between Homer Road and the Welland Canal.

Consultant Donna Hinde led the attendees through a detailed presentation of the progress updating the secondary plan, which has included previous studies, a public information session and discussions with school boards and the airport authority.

The result was the emergence of some preferred land uses for the area, such as the transit hub, schools and retail stores.

Consultants also have been developing a residential market study and retail market study as well as job opportunities for the Glendale area.

Consultant Aaron Farrell discussed the work being done to complete a subwatershed study to determine appropriate buffers and environmental protection areas around the three watercourses in Glendale.

Additionally, consultant Jocelyn Lee described the transportation assessment that is now under way to determine what is needed to accommodate Glendale’s growth. Included is a proposed road network in addition to the current streets in the area.

Cycling and multi-use trails also are being explored.

The current housing supply in Glendale comprises about 465 single-family homes in the Niagara on the Green neighbourhood and 40 predominantly large-lot homes on Queenston Road.

Planners expect strong future growth in the area thanks to high levels of international migration to Ontario, the excellent highway accessibility, future expansion of GO Transit services in Niagara and chronic housing shortages across the GTHA.

Depending on the eventual population of Glendale, there will be a need for one or two grocery stores and up to 350,000 square feet of retail space in the community.

O’Connor said local job opportunities will play a “major role” in the success of Glendale’s secondary plan.

“An adequate supply of employment lands must be maintained,” she said in an email.

“I am pleased that we are considering mixed-use development” in the area.

“Mixed housing options, retail hubs along a main street-type plan, transportation hub, community hubs, are all great new urban type initiatives that are planned, and in my opinion, are positive,” O’Connor said.

“I think that green development initiatives should be encouraged in the plan as well.”

Population and employment growth have been projected for the short, medium and long term.

In the short term (between now and 2031), Glendale’s is projected to grow to 4,900 residents and 5,800 jobs.

In the medium term (2032 to 2043), the population could grow to 13,100 residents and 8,800 jobs.

In the long term, (beyond 2043), the population is projected to grow to 19,300 and 9,100 jobs – making Glendale the most populous community in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Residential intensification around the Outlet Collection in the medium to long term will depend on the review of airport regulations, which could also affect the eventual population potential for Glendale.

The existing Glendale secondary plan was approved by council in 2010 but there has been minimal residential development since then.

Once the plan is updated, developers are expected to start submitting applications to start building in the area.

The Glendale of the future aims to be a complete community with the amenities that current and future residents will want and need.

Steve Hardaker has lived in Glendale for over 13 years and is active in many community organizations.

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