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Local interest group vouching for Homestead project in Kingston

Local interest group vouching for Homestead project in Kingston
Canada
A group of more than 200 people is vouching for a massive housing project in the city of Kingston. The group will speak for the development in this weeks LPAT hearing.

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A local interest group in Kingston is stepping up in support of the Homestead condo project.

The two condo towers have been the topic of debate in front of a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal over the past week. The group supporting the development is called Speak Kingston.

Chair of the grassroots movement, Sandy Sheehan, says having more people downtown is a good thing.

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“We really believe it is a positive catalyst for change in the downtown core, while continuing to respect all of the great heritage we currently do have,” said Sheehan.

Homestead Land holdings LTD is seeking to build two condo towers at 51-57 Queen St. and 18 Queen St. The developer is hoping to build thinner, taller buildings at 19- and 23-storeys high. It’s a project that Sheehan believes is important for downtown to thrive.

“This aligns with our vision, which is expanding housing and employment options and creating taxes for the city of Kingston, but also preserving heritage,” Sheehan said.

Speak Kingston, a group of more than 200 people, was formed last year as a local interest group vouching for developing the downtown.

“We wanted to create a voice for what we consider to be the majority of Kingstonians who see smart growth as a strategic direction for the city of Kingston,” said Sheehan.

But another group argues the project is similar in nature to the defeated Capital Condo project that was struck down by LPAT last year.

In that legal battle, the appeal was launched because citizens were opposed to the overall look of the building, fearing it would mar the historic look in the core.

David Donnelly, the lawyer representing groups against the development, including Frontenac Heritage Foundation, says the height of the two towers is a major issue with his clients.

“You’re not to build anything down here that is going to interrupt the visual landscape,” said Donnelly.

Sheehan says the pattern of battling development needs to change.

“We believe heritage is important, but we think it’s literally time for Kingston to begin to think about how  do tall and small, old and new, innovation and history come together.”

This week Donnelly will argue against the Homestead project with a number of speakers taking the stand. Speak Kingston will counter-argue their points. The LPAT hearing is expected to wrap up at the end of the week.
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