New steps taken toward improving Northdale

On Dec. 13, Waterloo city council approved the staff recommendations for a special project committee to oversee the studies and planning of the Northdale area. Northdale and its redevelopment have long been examined by the city of Waterloo as concerns over student housing and crime have become apparent. This approval is the first step in the planning process that aims to have a new strategy for the area completed by early 2012.

The committee, membership of which will be appointed in early 2011, will represent all key stakeholders in the area, which borders Wilfrid Laurier University. This will include a representative from Wilfrid Laurier Students’ Union, the university’s administration, at least one student that resides in Northdale, along with a non-student permanent resident.

In a debate over what would be an approved amendment to include the word “re-urbanization” in the terms of reference for the committee and the land use and community improvement plan study, councillors agreed that the status quo was a result they were hoping to avoid coming out of the project.

Policy planner Tanja Curic, explained that the term reflects the desire for a renewal of the area. With the inclusion of “re-urbanization”, the committee would not be forced to propose development intensification of the area and would have a great deal of freedom in creating a plan.

The recommendations were passed 7-1, with Ward 5 councillor Mark Whaley voting against. The Northdale special project committee is expected to be in place by February and their review of the terms of reference for the study will be brought again before council.

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