May 26th, 2024

Harlow community meets in opposition of condo development

By ANNA SMITH on April 5, 2024.

Harlow residents gather with signs to demonstrate and discuss options in regards to approved condo buildings planned for the empty lot.--News Photo Anna Smith

On Wednesday night, members of the community of Harlow met on an empty lot on First Street SW to discuss their plan regarding the approved two four-storey apartment buildings slated to be constructed there.

It isn’t that the community believes nothing should be developed on the property, said Brock Hale, a member of the community and one of the organizers of the meeting.

“We know eventually that something will be and should be developed on this land,” said Hale. “As neighbours and community, we don’t think that this is the right fit for the space. It’s not that we don’t think that these buildings shouldn’t happen in Medicine Hat. We think those are great ideas, just not in this location.”

Hale said he has been in correspondence with the city on the matter, and that he was not alone, with roughly 180 comments received by the city with concerns varying from parking availability to the lack of sunlight on existing properties due to shadows of the building.

A two-storey apartment building was suggested during the meeting as a possible acceptable solution.

“The population would be quite significant to our little neighbourhood. Safety with kids, potential drainage problems, there’s quite a few things that we’re not too thrilled about,” said Hale, though he added their largest issue has been a lack of information and feeling as if concerns are not being heard or addressed.

Hale expressed that while they have been told to make their opinions known, it has felt as if nothing has come of voicing them, which has led to events like the one on Wednesday. It is his hope that if they can present their voice as a united community instead of just individuals, it may get a better response.

It was stressed that the issue was not brought on my an idea of “NIMBYism,” nor with an issue with the possibility of any units being low-income or attainable housing.

“We agree that housing concerns need to be addressed in the city, and that this space would be good for some kind of development,” said Hale. “We don’t think that a four-storey apartment is the right fit for this plot of land. We think there would be other better locations in the city. But we do realize that we want something here. We just want something that fits with our community.”

The community will be able to submit an appeal on the development, and intends to do so after meeting as a group to align their interests and ensure everyone is on the same page.

“We’re not trying to be unrealistic or unreasonable. We just want to be included in part of the decision making process considering this is the neighbourhood we live in,” said Hale.

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