The southwest corner of Hyde Park and South Carriage Roads will forever be marked by tragedy, but should that influence future development along the busy commercial corridor?
A proposal to build a McDonald’s drive-thru is drawing criticism because it would be located across Hyde Park Road from the recently unveiled memorial to the Afzaal Family.
Neighbour Diane Dempsey worries a fast food drive-thru will lead to more traffic, litter, and disturbance around the site.
“This is a true memorial,” argues Dempsey. “You don’t demean it with chaos all around it.”
York Developments has applied to rezone 1407-1427 Hyde Park Rd. to permit 72 townhouses, a shopping plaza, and a McDonald’s restaurant with drive-thru.
In a new report, city staff recommend that the rezoning application be refused— though not because of its proximity to the memorial.
The report argues the development doesn’t satisfy several policies:
- Not consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement because it will result in an underutilization of the site and will create safety concerns for pedestrians and residents on the subject site;
- Layout and functioning of future development, how the residential and commercial uses are mixed on site and lack of amenity space for the residential uses are major concerns;
- Not in conformity with the Main Street policies in the London Plan with regard to intensity and form;
- It creates a form of development not consistent with the Main Street Commercial Corridor policies;
- It creates a form of development not consistent with the Hyde Park Business District policies.
“There’s not a lot of areas in the city that have a special community plan, or a main street designation, so this is very much a special approach to development in the area,” explains Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan who represents the ward as city councillor.
In June, the Our London Family memorial was unveiled on the one-year anniversary of the Afzaal family being hit by the driver of a truck in an act Police called terrorism.
There remains undeveloped land immediately west and south of the memorial.
That property is designated for medium density residential development under the Hyde Park Community Plan (2000).
“To me it should be something that is going to be an honourable surrounding of this memorial,” says Dempsey.
“The community will have their own assessment of what is appropriate in this area and there is a respect that has to be adhered to with what has occurred at this intersection,” says Morgan. “I will say the developer has been exceptionally supportive, even through the offering of land at the (memorial) corner.”
The Planning and Environment Committee will consider the rezoning application at a meeting on Sept. 12.