City requires multi-family buildings, council votes to allow single-family homes in Old Aylmer
The City council voted in favour of the request to modify the Zoning rules for 12 Derwin Street in Old Aylmer near the Marina, during the March 21 municipal council meeting. This zoning change will allow the owner to build a single-family home instead of a two- to three-unit building the zoning required.
The final vote was 15 in favour of the minor variance to allow for a single-family home and four against it. Mayor France Bélisle voted in favour. All Aylmer councillors, apart from Anik Des Marais, Mitigomijokan councillor, voted for the variance. “In the documents, we speak about minor variance, it seems to me more of a total, major variance. We are talking about an area to be enhanced, that is, to improve compactness. To me this means increasing densification in an area that is of interest to people,” said Des Marais, during the municipal council meeting. “The neighbouring lot has a four-unit building. We are in a housing crisis; this could offer people the opportunity to live in a sought-after area near the marina who don’t have the means to buy a home. When the owner bought the property, he knew the regulations.”
Steven Boivin, Aylmer councillor highlighted that the roads in the area already have vehicle circulation issues as they are smaller. He says that another multi-unit home would add to the issue. Boivin also notes that the residents' association and Aylmer Heritage Association voiced their approval of the regulation change during a consultation about the project.
The vote isn’t a green light for the owners. Now that the city council has voted to approve the request for this Zoning change, neighbours can still oppose the change. Residents and business owners in the neighbourhoods around Derwin Street can ask the City to open a Registry, and if enough people sign it, there could be a public referendum on the matter.
Residents hoping to request a referendum must do so by April 3 before 4:30 pm. Gatineau states that one application per zone is best and must be signed by at least 12 people in the same zone as the majority of residents if there are fewer than 21 residents in the zone. For more information, residents can consult the public notice available at gatineau.ca/avispublics.
The Derwin Street home has been vacant for 13 years and will be demolished to build a new single-family home. The current building has major structural deficiencies, namely foundation movement which could eventually lead to water seepage and walls collapsing. It should be noted that the current building is not classified as a built heritage site.
Photo caption: The 12 Derwin Street home which will be demolished to build a new single-family home, if the neighbours don’t oppose the change to the Gatineau City Bylaw requiring the site to have multi-family units built on any new build.
Photo credit: Sophie Demers