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Jessie Avenue residents concerned for neighbourhood

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Residents of Jessie Avenue say they are concerned with the development of infill housing in their neighbourhood.

Cheryl Hobbs, who has lived in her home on Jessie since 1979, said the construction of several multi-family condo units on her street , all built by Ernie H.A. Walter Architect, has had a negative impact on the neighbourhood.

Two of the condominiums have already been built at 666 and 668 Jessie, and the developer has purchased lots at 589 and 604 Jessie, with the intention of constructing more multi-family units. Another four-unit condo was built at 269 Nassau St. N. at Jessie and Nassau.

Hobbs said residents are unhappy with the overall size and style of the dwellings.

"The properties are massed to the (back lane)… it’s the wall effect… a garage is attached and the structure goes beyond the normal footprint of the structures surrounding," Hobbs said.

"It completely shuts (people) off from their community, and obstructs light and breeze."
Another Jessie resident, who has lived in her home since 1991 and lives only a few houses away from the condos at 666 and 668 Jessie, said they have been an imposing presence in the area.

"There’s a massive gray wall that goes to the lane. I feel claustrophobic. It blocks off Hugo (Avenue) totally, and it’s like a prison wall it goes up so high," said the woman who did not want to be identified.

Hobbs said residents are not opposed to infill housing in the neighbourhood, but want it to be better suited to the area.

"This community (is) more than accepting of increased density… We don’t mind multi-family dwellings, we just want them to be reasonable footprint… and height to the neighbourhood… we want them not to interfere with the backyard experience of the adjacent properties," Hobbs said.

Hobbs said her main concern is that opinions of the residents in her neighbourhood are not being taken into account by the city. She said there needs to be more consultation between area residents, the city and the developer.

"The number one concern is we have no voice… we don’t have any input into any of these discussions," Hobbs said.

"Once the variance sign appears (on the lot) we have 10 minutes at the City Centre community committee meeting to put forth some sort of case, which is not very long when you’re dealing with major issues like this in our community."

Hobbs said many members of the community have given up voicing their concerns because they feel they aren’t being heard.

"I really think (these condos) are going to destroy this community," Hobbs said.

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge–East Fort Garry) said she recognizes there is some cynicism about development in the neighbourhood, but hopes residents stay engaged and involved in the process.

"We need their input," she said.

Gerbasi said she hopes the new Corydon-Osborne area plan, which was recently passed by city council, will provide citizens with an opportunity to sit down with area developers and voice their concerns.

"We need to have a process for a vision for our community, and hopefully that’s what will come with our planning process," Gerbasi said.

"I know there is a sense of discouragement right now, and I think we need to work together with residents and everyone around a table including the developers… we are all just trying to do our best."

Ernie Walter did not respond to a request to be interviewed.

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