by Mac Christie ; Flamborough Review
A rendering shows an aerial view of the Krpan Group’s proposed iConnect Community development at Clappison’s Corners. The proposal would bring approximately 2,000 residential units and 3,000 jobs to the area. – Krpan Group
Flamborough residents had their first chance to provide feedback on a massive development proposal that would drastically reshape Clappison’s Corners on Sept. 23 at the Hamilton Technology Centre.
The iConnect development, proposed by the Krpan Group, would bring 2,000 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of commercial space and 3,000 jobs to the business park at the intersection of Highway 5 and Highway 6 in Waterdown.
John A. Krpan, senior investment manager with the Krpan Group, said he had heard a lot of positive feedback about the development at the open house hosted by the company.
“I’ve had a lot of people come up to me just to tell me that they support this development,” he said. “A lot of people are excited about the potential business parks here, and a lot of people are excited for the retirement and nursing community.”
Flamborough resident Brian Moore said he’s concerned about the impact the development would have on traffic, which is he said is “bad enough as it is.”
He said that while it isn’t a bad plan overall, the roads infrastructure needs to be in place before the development — particularly the bypass and Highway 5 and 6 interchange.
“It’s the same old thing,” he said. “Build first and worry about the infrastructure and roads later.”
Meanwhile, fellow Flamborough resident Michael Bookbinder said he doesn’t see the logic in the plan and expressed concerns about adding more residents and industry to an already overburdened road infrastructure.
“What they’re doing is exacerbating the situation by adding more industry, more residents, more pollution and more potential for accidents,” he said.
He added that the lack of a presentation at the open house prevented any public outcry.
“People are leaving, so therefore they’re going to say, ‘everybody had a chance to talk,’” he said.
Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge said generally she heard positive feedback at the meeting, but admitted there were concerns about transportation and traffic.
But Partridge stressed that the proposal has not been approved and the open house was the first of what she hopes are three or four public meetings.
“There are some things I like about (the proposal) but there are also some things that I think we need to tweak, that we may need to change.”
Overall, Partridge said she likes the fact that iConnect brings development outside the Waterdown core.
“I want to protect the core of Waterdown — I do not want to see anymore development along Dundas Street between Mill Street and Hamilton,” she said. “This particular proposal the people have, for the first time since 2002, they’re going to be part of how it develops.”
She added that to raise concerns, residents can use the provided comment cards from the meeting or reach out directly to her office.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” she said of iConnect. “But this is not a done deal; I want to make absolutely certain that we hear from every person that wants to have a say.”
Currently, the area where the iConnect development is proposed to be located is zoned ‘district commercial,’ which would allow for large format commercial development or so-called big-box stores. To proceed, the development would require a zoning change to allow for the proposed mixed use.
But Partridge said before she would commit to supporting any zoning changes required for the project, she would have to see the final plan.
In response to concerns about exacerbating the traffic issues, Krpan said the iConnect development has been designed to work with the current road infrastructure — without the bypass and Highway 5 and 6 interchange in mind.
“We are very excited to get the cloverleaf in as soon as possible,” he said. “But we are building it so we do not need it.
“Any building of (the bypass and interchange) or any other infrastructure will only help the development and help traffic.”
In terms of traffic, Partridge said the Waterdown bypass routes are under construction and are slated to be completed by 2022.
“This particular development is probably a good five years away,” she said. “There’s a lot of work that has to be done on it and they need to go through a number of approvals and changes.”
Krpan said that if approved, iConnect will proceed in a phased approach.
“We are taking things one step a time,” he said. “The early 2020s is when we hope to start the phases.”
Flamborough Chamber of Commerce executive director Matteo Patricelli said the development brings needed density to the Flamborough and Waterdown area, without touching the core of Waterdown.
“It has the potential of attracting a workforce that the community desperately needs, which I hear all the time and I heard again recently from a big company in the area,” he said. “They need skilled labour and it’s hard to get up here, so a development that can attract that is huge.”
Patricelli said he is also hopeful that the development will spur increased transit and transportation options in Waterdown — something he said City of Hamilton staff is aware of.
“I’m hopeful that it will push that need,” he said. “We need more (transit) to get people up here from downtown.”
For more information about the iConnect proposal, visit iconnectcommunity.ca.