Council should support Northdale rezoning

A collective effort to solve the perennial housing and development problem in Northdale is being impeded by the needless bureaucratic layers of Waterloo’s municipal government.

Here are 39 homeowners willing to sell, developers looking to buy and council refuses to expedite the rezoning process so the land is a viable property for the potential buyers.

Instead, the city council is engaging in studies of the Northdale neighourhood — something this municipal government has been doing for years now without much to show for it. Now that you have homeowners who are all on the same page — finally — it would be in everyone’s best interest to act on it.
Council’s concern in moving ahead is understandable. They appreciate the need for the correct processes to be followed and for the right permits to be issued.

They need a plan to be in place and not just have land sold to another developer that wants to build more cheap housing.

Yet, if the whole point is to make Northdale a more diverse neighbourhood made up of more than derelict student housing, then council needs to cede the point that residential zoning just doesn’t cut it and work towards a solution that suits all stakeholders.

The municipal government has 120 days to issue a decision on rezoning. It would be wise to show students (and the rest of the community) that they actually care about this issue; that they don’t want to throw it down the road to be dealt with later.

Council should vote strongly in favour of the rezoning as a step toward a renewed Northdale neighbourhood. It’s time to go where other councils have failed. It’s time for a Northdale solution that is actually put into action instead of just talked about and endlessly debated.

Rezoning should be considered as a first step and council should take prompt action in the interest of moving forward.

—The Cord Editorial Board

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