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Town councillors question proximity of proposed eight-storey seniors’ residence to Sixteen Mile Creek trails, nearby radio tower


A proposal to perch an eight-storey building on the edge of the Sixteen Mile Creek valley faced a barrage of questions from town councillors during a Planning and Development council meeting on June 7.

The town has received an application to sever and rezone 4.6 hectares of vacant land from the St. Volodymyr Cultural Centre to build a rental housing complex for seniors.

Developer Delmanor West Oak Inc. wants to build a 315-unit highrise building overlooking the popular Lions Valley Park, prompting Ward 5 councillor Jeff Knoll to express concern about the impact on the views from below.

“As our community becomes more and more urbanized, the sanctity of places like the Sixteen Mile Creek are critical for our quality of life and our well-being, and I would like to see what the visual impacts will be from the actual valley system,” said Knoll, who asked the developer to develop a 3D model.

Nearby resident Andrew Ion, who is also concerned with the proposal's height, has done one better.

He’s developed a flyby YouTube video that shows the proposed building from various angles and perspectives.

Ion, who addressed councillors during the meeting, noted that the existing Delmanor seniors’ residence in Glen Abbey is only two storeys tall, while the Revera on Third Line is three storeys.

“Why does this one need to be eight?” he asked. “Instead of one very big building flanked by small townhouses, why not have several smaller buildings?”

In addition to the highrise, Delmanor is proposing 27 one-and-half-storey independent living units arranged in four blocks for the site.

Radio towers raise safety concerns

The height of the highrise is also an issue for Whiteoaks Communication Group, the company that operates AM radio stations CJYE 1250 and CJMR 1320.

The company owns the six AM radio towers located across Dundas Street from the site and noted that the developer’s own study found that the building “potentially introduces a risk of impact on the stations’ radiation patterns.”

Questions also remain about the possible impact that radio frequencies emitted by the towers might have on electronic and medical devices in the proposed building.

Ward 4 councillor Allan Elgar noted that when the nearby Dundas Street bridge was rebuilt, the radio waves burned out the electronics on a major piece of construction equipment.

He also expressed concerns about previous reports that suggested radio frequencies could have an impact on pacemakers.

“We don’t want to ever think about a person looking out the window and getting zapped because a pacemaker doesn’t work very well,” he said.

In February, the Halton District School Board cancelled plans to build a new high school on the northeast corner of Neyagawa and Dundas after a consultant suggested radio waves from the tower could interfere with electronic and medical equipment on the second and third storeys of the building.

The town is also commissioning a consultant’s report to look at the impact of the towers on the development of North Park and its proposed library and community centre.

Adam Fineman, president of Delmanor, offered assurances to Elgar that the developer is talking to Whiteoaks Communications Group and aware of the potential radio tower issues.

“From our perspective, we do recognize the sensitivity and the nature of the residents that we are bringing into the building, and we wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t safe,” he said.

Delmanor proposal for St. Volodymyr lands | Town of Oakville
Delmanor proposal for St. Volodymyr lands | Town of Oakville
Green building features

Councillors also heard that the highrise plan was designed to be sensitive to the area, with Delmanor's director of development Joe Nanos promising the company would work with the town on integrating features such as green roofing, bird-friendly windows and wildlife-friendly landscaping.

“We’ve made efforts to try to minimize the footprint of the building so we can retain as much of the natural features and open space as possible on the property,” said Nanos.

He added that 21 percent of the site is proposed to be protected as green space, with areas of the Natural Heritage System to be conveyed to the town.

The development is also not expected to impede access to the valley trail system from Fourth Line.

Meet community demand

Intended to address the demand for senior housing that provides a continuum of care, the facility would include 34 assisted living suites, 34 memory care suites, 116 independent supportive living suites, 131 independent living suites, and 27 independent living units.

While the property is currently zoned private open space, a zoning that does not permit seniors housing, Oakville’s official plan does allow the use. Delmanor is seeking a site-specific zoning bylaw amendment.

Other issues raised by councillors included the use of surface parking, the impact on the tree canopy, the consideration of developing a mixed-use community for better integration of seniors, and traffic access issues.

Ward 3 councillor Janet Haslett-Theall asked what lessons Delmanor has learned from the pandemic.

Fineman said the company found its buildings had adequate spacing and room designs but would intersperse more staff break rooms throughout the building.

He added that technology has helped allow residents to stay connected with family.

Fineman also expressed willingness to consider improved air quality and energy systems for the buildings.

“Delmanor is the builder of the facility, but we’re also the operator, and we’re going to be there for a very long time, so it’s in our interest to have the best building systems, the most efficient, the most healthy for our residents," he said. "So that’s certainly something we can look at, to go beyond the building code requirements.”

Revised application documents to come

The company has promised to continue to consult with town planning staff and the public and submit revised application documents later this year.

Following that, town planners will issue a recommendation report that will analyze the issues and guide town councillors, who will eventually vote on whether or not to approve the development.

Delmanor currently operates five retirement communities across the GTA and will soon open a sixth. It is part of the Tridel Group of Companies, a Canadian real estate giant.