We have had a vision for the east end of our city for several years.
It has included new residential neighbourhoods, schools, a library branch, parks and trails and more. It has also included a commercial centre at the intersection of Starwood Drive and Watson Parkway North.
I have heard loud and clear – can I say that again – loud and clear – from east end residents that they are frustrated they still don’t have the local commercial services they need.
Local commercial services are needed – not simply because it would be more convenient for people living in this area. They are part of a complete community – that is why they are part of our vision for this part of our city. Residents want to be able to walk and cycle to stores. Youth want local jobs. People want places to gather, to see neighbours and meet friends.
Finally, after continuing to pursue an answer and receiving permission to share this goods news, I have been advised that Loblaws will soon be submitting a concept plan for staff to review that includes a food store and additional retail opportunities. They plan to submit a site plan application towards the end of this year or early 2015. I am also told that their current goal is to start construction late 2015 or early 2016.
Council has already provided the necessary planning approvals through the Official Plan and Zoning By-law to permit this development. Servicing is in place and/or will be as part of the construction. As long as they are not seeking any changes from Council, site plan approval will be managed at a staff level.
With an increasing residential population, it is great to see the maturation of this part of our city and commercial investor interest emerging.