Despite fierce opposition from nearby residents, a new student residence in Sandy Hill is getting the go ahead.
At its meeting on Tuesday, the planning committee approved the 180-unit building planned for Laurier Ave. East and Friel St. that will offer studio and two bedroom apartments. Retail stores and a gym are planned for the main floor, in addition to 63 underground parking spaces.
Anna-Marie Melanson lives in one of the buildings that will be demolished to make way for the new development.
She was one of several angry neighbours who urged councillors to reject the proposal and argued it would turn the neighbourhood into a "ghetto."
"We used to have an eclectic mix of professional, retired people, families when I moved in 26 years ago, but now it's predominantly students."
But the type of housing isn't the only aspect that is bothering people. By approving the proposal, the planning committee also approved a maximum of 28 metres, close to double the 14.5 metres that is currently allowed.
Rideau-Vanier Councillor Mathieu Fleury, who is not a member of the committee, said this paves the way for other similar structures in the neighbourhood.
"There's an intense pressure to maintain the balance and liveability in that neighbourhood, and unfortunately this was approved today."
But Councillor Stephen Blais slammed residents for the nature of some of their complaints.
"We would never, never see arguments saying let's not put a seniors home there because they are old people. Or let's not put this building there because it's going to attract a certain ethnic group or linguistic group. We would never hear those comments, but for some reason, people think it's OK to do that about students."
Blais admitted that students can be rowdy and noisy but that's an enforcement issue and can be dealt with via police and by-law officers.
The planning committee ultimately approved the proposal, and it is up for final council approval next month.
Fleury said some residents may take their fight to the Ontario Municipal Board, depending on how city council votes.