by Mac Christie Flamborough Review
The Waterdown Fortinos grocery store will expand into existing strip mall on Hamilton Street North. – Google Maps / Screenshot
As part of their efforts to deal with ongoing issues at Waterdown’s Fortinos plaza, Condor Properties Ltd. met with students and administration at Waterdown District High School (WDHS) on Nov. 4.
The move comes after residents aired numerous concerns during a Sept. 16 meeting with Condor. Neighbouring residents said issues at the plaza include speeding and racing, idling pickup trucks, noise, loud music and teenagers hanging out in the plaza after hours. In addition, there were concerns about criminal activity, drug dealing and garbage being thrown into yards which back onto the plaza.
Davide Pellegrini, Condor’s planning and development manager, said they decided to meet with the high school because although they can’t say the issues are caused by Waterdown District High School students, residents indicated the majority of those who were causing the issues were young people who hang out at the plaza in the evening hours. He said residents have reported youth parking at the back of the plaza and playing loud music, while speaking loudly.
He said the meeting at the school, which was brokered by Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge and included the principal and vice-principals at Waterdown District High School, the Hamilton Police Service school officers, student parliament representatives and Hamilton Wentworth District School Board trustee Penny Deathe — was a good step.
“Definitely a positive meeting,” he said, adding the school was very receptive to ideas to deal with the issues. “The intent was to create awareness and inform the school that we do have an on-site security guard that is taking names and licence plates which will become part of a no-trespass list.”
Pellegrini said residents at the back of the plaza specifically have dealt with noise and privacy concerns in their backyards.
“A lot of the residents were upset about this because they have young families and they have toddlers and infants who are trying to sleep at night,” he said. “The bass from the car stereo amplifies into their home, shakes their home and causes their children to wake up.”
Since the September meeting, Pellegrini said Condor has undertaken a number of measures designed to prevent the issues — including on-site security from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., and traffic calming in the form of speed bumps and a new pedestrian crossing. He said the security team has assisted in deterring loitering, trespassing and vandals, as well as collecting 55 licence plate numbers to create a no-trespass list.
Under the Trespass Authority Act, Condor can designate someone to act on their behalf — currently the Hamilton police. Pellegrini said the solution to the issues is simply a matter of time and continued enforcement, adding once security has documented the actions of those causing issues and it has been passed on to police, law enforcement can go after the individuals in question.
While Condor plans to install a security camera system, they do not yet have a timeline for its installation. However, Pellegrini said once a surveillance system is installed, the school is open to receiving any images of the youth that may be acting disorderly at the plaza.
“They will review the photos and if it is one of their students they will then attend to the matter and deal with the student one-on-one.”
Pellegrini said the school believes the students represent the community of Waterdown and it is their mandate to have the students act responsibly as part of the community.
“We’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback from residents,” he said of the work at the plaza, adding new pedestrian crossings and speed bumps have slowed down traffic. “But there still is an issue with the youth at the plaza.”
For her part, Partridge said the meeting featured good discussions, adding she is happy about the changes Condor has made at the plaza.
Partridge said she has heard from residents that they are pleased with the changes that have been made and are optimistic about the changes moving forward — particularly security cameras.
“They appear to have listened to the residents — they’ve put in the speed bumps, they now have security.”