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Waterloo council under pressure to grow smarter, but there's also pressure from residents

Image from Google Maps.

Tensions are rising as Waterloo council considers several new highrise developments that have neighbours concerned about intensification.

Councillors approved a new 12-storey apartment building at Erb Street East and Moore Avenue this week. And developers are trying to build more. Two 13 storey towers are being proposed at Ira Needles and Erb Street West, another two apartment buildings — 11 and 24 storeys — at 70 King Street North, and a 15-storey tower at Blue Springs Drive.

Ward 6 Councillor Jeff Henry says residents are worried about things like streetscape, traffic, and noise, but the idea is to grow smarter. He says to intensify, as opposed to sprawl, is important to protect farmland, groundwater, and more broadly the environment.

“That’s directed us to grow up, rather than out,” Henry says.

But it also means more efficient infrastructure.

“A subdivision has many more miles of pipes and roads for the same number of people than a corridor that has a number of highrise buildings on it,” says Henry. “There’s simply more people to pay for the same amount of infrastructure.”

Henry says concerns are normal whenever change is proposed, but assures they won’t go unheard.