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Outgoing London councillors sign off on quartet of development projects in final meeting - London

Category: Elections,Politics

The current edition of London city council had a packed agenda for its final meeting Tuesday evening.

Before emotional and reflective statements from each of the outgoing seven councillors, the group moved through a lengthy list of items including rubber stamping four different high-rise projects, including a $500-million project on Bostwick Road and a controversial project near Masonville Place.

Council voted 11-2 in favour of the Bostwick Road project, which includes five residential towers, commercial and office space and parkland around the new community centre near Southdale Road.

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Ward 13 Coun. Tanya Park said the development fits with what they’ve been asking for over the past four years.

“This is a hallmark to our term as a council in walking the talk. We talk about building for the future, we talk about access to transit, we talk about all those things and I see that this development is a step forward in creating that vision into reality.”

Council also voted 10-3 in favour of a 222-unit project at North Centre Road, just north of Masonville Place. The development was tweaked multiple times after neighbours objected to the project.

The proposed development started as a 22-storey high-rise, was lowered to 18-storeys before finally being approved as a 15-storey high-rise with eight-storey and six-storey buildings beside it.

Ward 5 Coun. Maureen Cassidy previously attempted to delay the project in response to residents’ concerns but was unsuccessful.

“It’s about a vision and the vision that staff have for this area is completely in conflict with the vision that the community has,” Cassidy said. “But it’s not about density, it’s not about high versus medium. We accept, the community accepts, that this will be a high-density site.”

Finally, councillors gave unanimous approval to a 222-unit development at 131 King St. and two 24-storey buildings at 809 Dundas St. The development at 809 Dundas St. will include 25 affordable housing units.

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After their work was done, outgoing councillors took a few moments to bid adieu to their colleagues.

When the new council term begins next month, there will be eight incumbents and seven new faces sitting around the council horseshoe, including incoming mayor Ed Holder.

All who spoke during the meeting said they were grateful for their time in council chambers.

Harold Usher served as the councillor for Ward 12 for 18 years. He decided not to run again, but said his constituents have been “tremendous.”

“I don’t know what it is about me and my constituents, but I’m not going to be very humble, they love me,” he said as a chorus of laughter rang out from within council chambers.

“I appreciate them and I served them well.”

Ward 13 Coun. Tanya Park, who made an unsuccessful bid for mayor, said she was proud of her time on council and was honoured to have worked with some of the “most amazing people.”

“Colleagues, we’ve been through a lot. We’ve done a lot,” Park said. “We’ve agreed, we’ve disagreed, we’ve agreed to disagree, but at the end of it all we’ve made significant progress over the last four years.”

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Mayor Matt Brown, who didn’t seek re-election, also took a moment to say a few words in his final meeting before passing on the mayor’s mantle.

He said he was grateful for the experience of serving on city council.

“We had the responsibility and we had the privilege to lead during that time,” Brown said. “I am profoundly proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish working together and I will be forever grateful for this experience.”

Before becoming mayor in 2014, Brown served one term as councillor of Ward 7, a position now occupied by Josh Morgan.

The new council will be sworn in during a ceremony at the London Convention Centre on Monday, Dec. 3.

— With files from Jess Brady

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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