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Townhouses proposed for site formerly eyed as a park

As many as 240 townhouses will be built in an area designated as natural parkland if city council approves an area plan change for West Cambie.

Planners at Richmond City Hall Tuesday urged council's planning committee to make the change for a 4.86-hectare (12-acre) site near Alderbridge Way and No. 4 Road.

In March, council voted 6-1 to allow development on the land, reversing a 2006 decision to turn the area—currently privately owned and occupied by large-lot single-family homes—into a natural park.

Now staff are pushing for townhouses, one of two options it presented at a recent public open house, the other being a mix of townhouses and apartments. Staff say townhouses would complement developments to the north.

According to a staff report, a city hall survey yielded 21 responses. Besides collecting comments on the housing options, staff also fielded other suggestions for the land: retain the park and build an animal shelter.

A resident of the neighbouring Wishing Tree townhouse complex also responded, expressing "concerns that many owners of the units…were promised that the lands next to it would be protected as a natural park when they made their purchases."

Staff noted the city bought the Garden City lands in 2010 and that "some of these lands may be available to West Cambie and city residents for a variety of open space and other needs…"

Creating a park would also cost the city approximately $23.6 million in land costs, according to a 2006 estimate.

A public hearing is tentatively set for Oct. 15.

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