It’s the latest twist in efforts to re-develop the former McCormick Beta Brand cookie factory site on Dundas Street, just west of Highbury Avenue. 

In an attempt to address neighbourhood concerns raised after the release an initial proposal, the developer now has a revised plan for the site. But even the revision is causing some division.

According to one man standing outside the former McCormick factory, “Anything other than this would be an improvement.”

The new proposal by Sierra Construction of Woodstock would redevelop the historic front part of the factory. It also includes a lifestyle community containing a senior’s building, residential units and office space.

One of the key changes to the plan is a square parkette in the northwest corner. There are also single-family homes rather than townhouses backing onto existing houses.

Ward 4 Councillor Jesse Helmer is encouraged, saying, “There's a bit lower density in the back part of the site, area three, and a small greenspace. But the core elements really remain - several apartment buildings, higher density as you move towards Dundas.”

The building has sat vacant since 2008 and is starting to deteriorate. But some of the neighbours in the area have grown to appreciate the vegetation that has cropped up in the rear of the property.

Mike Kaye's home backs onto the property and while he welcomes new neighbours and a redevelopment, he thinks the small parkette is insufficient.

He'd rather see the existing trees on the north end of the property preserved. He says, “The opportunity for meaningful greenspace is here right now, and it’s important we try to keep that.”

He acknowledges that the developer has made improvements, but concerns about population density remain. He questions if the area has the capacity to accommodate so many new residents.

According to Kaye, “You are talking traffic, parking and amenities in the area. Is it going to work together and all going to fit? That’s the concern of the neighbourhood.”

Helmer says these kinds of challenges are not unexpected and part of the process during otherwise positive infill developments.

“It’s obviously very positive for the area but people expect things to be done very well in that area and that's what we are striving for here.”

Helmer says the last public meeting he held on the issue drew about a hundred neighbours. He intends to hold another meeting to gauge reaction before this new proposal goes to the planning committee in a couple of weeks.