Community backlash convinces Amazon to withdraw plans for Oakville warehouse

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Amazon Canada has cancelled its plan to build a warehouse operation in Oakville and opened a facility this week on a site considered “more appropriate” in the Southdown heavy industry area of Mississauga.

Officials with the town of Oakville say Amazon Canada notified them on Monday that a planned 24-hour delivery station in the north end has officially been abandoned due to community concerns over traffic and safety.

The announcement came just days after dozens of of protestors carrying signs warning about safety issues and opposing a 24/7 Amazon facility gathered in front of the empty warehouse Saturday to create awareness.

In January, the town approved a settlement offered by warehouse owner H&R Reit to allow Amazon to use the 314,166-sq. ft. property, located at 2175 Cornwall Rd., as a delivery station, provided a number of conditions are met.

  • Those conditions include a number of provisions to reduce noise and traffic congestion within the surrounding residential community, including:
  • reducing the number of planned parking spaces from 886 to 689.
  • installing a noise barrier wall and landscaped berm.
  • aligning one of the driveways with the existing intersection and traffic signals at Cardiff Drive.
  • providing turning lanes to limit the impact on existing traffic.

On Jan. 22, 2020, an application for site plan approval was filed for the proposed development that included a significant expansion of the existing parking lot to be used for both employee and delivery vehicles.

In November the application was appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) and on Jan. 14, 2021, following a review by the town and extensive public consultation, the applicant submitted an offer to cap the parking at 689 spaces and limit the size of the building to 29,200 sq. m.

“I appreciate the hundreds of emails and phone calls that have been received by members of our community and the time and energy of our residents’ associations. The process of site plan allows us to raise any areas of concern and our residents have helped us identify those — noise, safety, pollution, among others — and to seek action and revisions to mitigate those for our community,” Councillor Gittings said in a statement last January. “Our role and duty is to ensure this site is operated in as safe a manner as possible.”

According to feedback provided to one Oakville councillor this week, Amazon decided to pursue a different location because of feedback from two councillors, the Joshua Creek Resident Association, and neighbourhood residents, “and ultimately decided to secure a better location so as to not upset the community”.

“We received unanimous support from our council colleagues for our request to have the site plan for this location come before council earlier this year,” said Councillor Dave Gittings.

“While the purpose of a site plan review is to seek controls on the physical layout of the infrastructure on the site, such as the building footprint and number of parking spaces, this process allowed residents and residents’ associations to provide their input. After a full process, we are pleased that a more suitable location was secured nearby.”

Council prioritized reducing noise  and traffic in the neighbourhood around 2175 Cornwall Rd. where conditions required installing a noise barrier wall and landscaped berm, aligning one of the driveways with the existing intersection and traffic signals at Cardiff Drive, providing turning lanes to limit the impact on existing traffic, limiting the number of planned parking spaces from 886 to 689, and capping expansion of the use of the property at the existing building size.

“It is gratifying to hear that Amazon respected and listened to our community,” said Gittings.

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