Work on the library, which wrapped up on Jan. 21, is part of a controversial renovation and redevelopment plan that includes building a proposed 975 condo units.
Area residents are worried about the impact of the project, which could take the developer, Malibu Investments Inc., anywhere from two to 15 years to complete.
“[Two to 15 years] is a time commitment that is put on this development only in the fact that the ownership believes these condominiums will sell and hopefully very quickly,” Bridlewood Mall property manager Jeff Nelson said. “It really depends on the market and what the demands for the new condominiums will be: whether the market will stay hot enough for the next five or six years, and if so, the span of this project will be shortened.”
The new condos will be a boon to the mall’s retailers, he said.
“This will drive more traffic through the shopping centre and have the businesses increase their sales,” Nelson said.
But some local residents are concerned about the impact increased traffic will have on their neighbourhood.
“Traffic is going to be ridiculous. Realistically, there are two major roads in this area: Warden and Finch,” said Jordie Scott, a nine-year resident of the area. “They’re going to have to widen the roads or something, otherwise there are going to be big traffic problems. The intersection is busy enough as it is.”
Ward 39 councillor Mike Del Grande, head of the community council dealing with the redevelopment, said traffic problems are inevitable.
“Any new development brings with it structural and planning issues,” he said.
The city’s transportation officials have already considered those issues, Nelson said.
“It is going to make the traffic around this area busier, no question,” he said. “However, part of the approval process is that the transportation department for the city had to do numerous traffic studies and evaluations on the impact.”
In August, the Scarborough Community Council approved the redevelopment plan, which included 975 condo units and allocated $2.4 million for the Bridlewood Library revamp .
The original proposal, made in 2007, was to construct eight buildings in the mall’s parking lot.
In response, a citizens’ group made up of residents from wards 39 and 40 was formed to represent the community’s interests. Three years of community meetings, reports and revised plans for Bridlewood Mall’s future followed.