Last February, city council updated the Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) for Hillhurst/Sunnyside, starting the ball rolling for growth in the historical communities, but some questions and concerns remain.
“The value of land is creating a pressure on the affordability, and it is eroding the traditional vibrancy and mix of income and demographics in the community,” said David White, Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association (HSCA) community planning committee chair.
Out of last year’s ARP came the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy, with council and community’s vision being to increase residential density around Sunnyside LRT and along Kensington Road, 14th St. and 5th Ave.
TOD is a special development policy for city areas already with significant access to mass public transportation. The focus for such areas is on housing first, says White, and then on creating strong LRT connections, bike paths and wide sidewalks to encourage pedestrian-oriented lifestyles.
The city and HSCA researched methods to potentially increase transit line residential density. Basement suites and secondary (above garage) suites were proposed to solve the lack of affordable housing, as either could create rentable property for non-homeowners and assist mortgage-payers with a rentable suite in their home.
Ald. Druh Farrell said the area used to have many secondary suites, but as redevelopment occurred there was “antipathy towards basement suites with the community and planning department, so they just weren’t being replaced.”
• An information session on secondary suites will be held tonight from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the HSCA centre (hillhurstsunnyside.org).