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Frustration over Cedar Avenue

Michael Neill is frustrated with the process and the restrictions being place on those involved in the Pandosy Waterfront design charrette.

The two-day charrette wraps up today (Wednesday).

Neill, with "People for the Park," says he has been led to believe restrictions placed on the charrette by City Council is frustrating some of those taking part.

He is on vacation in Mexico but says he is speaking with those involved.

"The frustration has always been that they (city) only want to talk about half of the property and would not discuss the whole package which we thought had to be looked at in order to come up with a proper plan for the whole area and build something that was truly magnificent," says Neill.

"It frustrated me that the paddle club was put in as a mandatory component providing them with several thousand square feet of space and building when the city only had barely a month to access how well the paddle club was doing. It seems premature."

By only making a decision on half of the area now, Neill says his fear is the city could be left with nothing more than a walkway along the waterfront instead of a park.

"People for the Park" has released its concept for what the neighbourhood could look like.

Neill says drawings were presented at the charette to favourable reviews, however, he adds the plan cannot be implemented because charrette participants are only able to consider the northern portion of the waterfront.

"We believe our plan addresses the concerns of both the City and its residents, with significant development and the creation of an affordable and legacy park," says Neill.

The concept plan allows for a five-storey boutique hotel with cafe and retail at ground level set back from the waterfront. as well as three to five storey condos on the east side of Abbott Street, again set back from the waterfront.

In front of both a large waterfront park stretching from Newsom Avenue south to Meikle Avenue.

Neill says this concept differs greatly from one presented to the city back in 2011 when the city initially reversed its stand on a mixed commercial/park project amid growing public opposition.

Ultimately, Neill says he and his supporters are not opposed to commercial development within the development area, they are just concerned a commercial development might choke out a park altogether.

"I see an opportunity for us to be able to afford and have a very significant and beautiful park and all the commercial," adds Neill.

"I want to maximize the park."

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