Residents say no to proposed downtown hotel

Dave Bartlett
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

St. Johns’ resident Jack Lanpher voices his opposition to a planned 12-storey hotel for downtown. — Photo by Dave Bartlett/The Telegram

A proposed 12-storey, 150-room hotel for the corner of New Gower, Springdale and Pleasant streets met with a mountain of opposition Wednesday night at St. John’s City Hall.

About 50 people turned out to a public meeting, lining up to voice their opposition on a number of grounds — from traffic to the proposed height to a loss of privacy and property values.

But Jack Lanpher summed up what most people had to say and received a resounding ovation. “What do we as a neighbourhood get out of this? We get nothing,” he said as the meeting passed the hour mark.

Lanpher said the neighbourhood is being boxed in by all the development that’s going on in the area.

He also suggested the city should stick to its own rules on height restrictions for buildings, even if developers threaten to cancel projects.

In this case, the developers are asking the city to go above a 10-storey limit for the area. Lanpher suggested, “Let them walk.”

Others brought up the amount of development in the neighbourhood, including proposed projects and those under construction.

Mike Guilfoyle’s main issue was traffic, especially on nearby Hamilton Avenue.

“It seems like we’re adding to it all the time,” he said, not only of the hotel but the nearby Fortis office tower under construction, and an office building proposed for Job Street and Hamilton.

The noise from the construction on the Fortis building was brought up a numbers of times at the meeting.

Many in the room said they didn’t believe the results of a traffic study presented at the meeting which suggested the hotel would not add any significant amount of traffic.

Most agreed a traffic problem already exists in the area without adding any more cars.

Guilfoyle also proposed the land be kept for a park or other green space.

“Why doesn’t the city acquire the property... and build such an area that can be used by seniors and young people, people walking their dogs ... rather than put another building in the middle of a residential community,” he said.

Renee Finlayson lives adjacent to the site.

“I’d like to know where else in this city is there a 115-foot building situated 21 feet from the property line and 35 feet from a house?” she asked. “To me, that seems awfully close and I don’t think that’s acceptable.”

Finlayson said the privacy of the homes in the area would be lost, as would the sunlight — blocked out by the proposed building.

Gerry Beaudry’s house would by cloaked by the hotel’s shadow.

“One of the things I enjoy about my house is getting that morning sun,” he said.

One woman suggested she would sell her home and move if the project is approved. Others wondered if the value of their property would fall as the hotel went up.

Several people noted they would put additional comments and concerns in writing before the project comes before city council for approval.

But before that happens, the city’s heritage committee will also have to have its say, as the building falls within a heritage district.

Geographic location: New Gower, Hamilton Avenue, Job Street

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Glen
    January 28, 2012 - 13:56

    Come on by's,someone has got to get their heads out of the sand or other places.Downtown needs more hotels,restaurants and shopping,what other downtown city has none ot the above.It is time for the city to start some real progress and stop listening to all the rubber booters.We are our own worst enimies leave everything like it was 100 years ago.Maybe they miss seeing the bubble.

  • kevin
    January 28, 2012 - 09:34

    I dont understand why people would be against development of the downtown of st,johns its 2012 people and why hinder progress? move to another neighborhood for the love of God. NL is growing in leaps and bounds and why not let it continue? Was there any objections to the 50 million dollar ROOMS When they built the Delta and the federal building next to it, people learned to cope with the change, so why not youi people grow up and cope with the change...we are a province on the move and lets keep moving. We are still the envy of most Canadians as more and more of them come here to vacation and live out retirement years here in our little corner of the world! Again if you dont like development in your area......bottom line......move!

  • Ian Lambert
    January 27, 2012 - 17:18

    YES to the hotel. Just look at a photo of that part of town: vacant lots and rundown houses. This is the part of the downtown where this type of development should go. The area is directly off the Harbour Arterial and will hotel will be next ot the expanded conference centre. This is a no-brainer but there is a BUT. The city's height restriction should be respected. The hotel should be no more than 10 storeys.

  • Gordon
    January 27, 2012 - 07:45

    I think St. John's would be well served with more hotels downtown. However, I think St. John's would be well served with public space such as parks as well. I was inspired when I visited the cities of New Zealand which used downtown space to build such things as giant slides for children and for families to spend pleasant afternoons. If "progress" means St. John's has to become another non-descript Anytown, USA with nothing downtown except tall buildings, then I guess I have to be with the "backwards" crowd, by the standards of the Anytown, USA people.

  • joe
    January 26, 2012 - 20:23

    Some of you need to travel and see that there is more to life and progress than tall buildings. There is lots of space for such structures so go build there. How inconsiderate and idiotic to suggest expropriation of peoples property. How many of you remember the expropriation of the farmland where Holiday Inn now stands and what an injustice that was. Then we had no recourse but to let Smallwoods government expropriate and allow large profits in a very short time ( in one case almost night) Now we have the power of protest to demand what is just. Congratulations downtown residents.

  • Don
    January 26, 2012 - 19:35

    I agree with does building a hotel in downtown St. John's which is already littered with hotels and motels bring us into the 21st century? It's outrageous to me that everyone thinks that refusing a huge hotel keeps us behind the times! To me it seems more distressing that we have a council that obviously doesn't give a hoot about its residents, just looking to capitalize and profit. Where are the services downtown for the people? Other cities have things for people to do downtown other than shop, drink or eat. How about focusing on green spaces, possible theatre or some areas for extracurricular activity? Adding another hotel would be a step backwards and in the wrong direction. Plus, how about answering some of the problems with parking before adding a hotel that would only make things worse? I would also like to point out that I am a young Newfoundlander and I believe that this would indeed harm our downtown, I don't believe moving forward means adding more big buildings.

  • bennett
    January 26, 2012 - 15:03

    Expropriate the land at fair market value, move them and bull doze the area. Enough with stifling the progress of the down town area by silly people.If we did not have progressive councils in the past we would not have any modern office and hotels down town. We would have rat infested fire traps and eyesores. Everything from Lemarchamt Rd south should be expropriated, bull dozed and developed. Enough already with the cancer of opposition to progress and growth.

  • Cliff
    January 26, 2012 - 14:30

    Nancy....thanks for your comment. You, like us all, are, without a doubt, entitled to your opinion. Having said that, I will stress though, that if we are going to have a growing city, and conventions held here, and visitors on a regular basis, we need more hotels. During the past few Summers/Falls all of the hotels have been filled, and B & B's....all good for business. So, if we don'thave the new hotels, where are people going to stay?Let's be sensible about this. That is the reason why the City is expanding the Convention Centre. Halifax, has, or is getting a new one as well. I don't know if you have ever been to Boston, in New England. I have been there several times. It is a beautiful city. The old is blended with the new. It is called progress. You have a certain percentage of citizens that just DON'T want development....period. They are living in the day of Queen Victoria. So....come on City Council..let's get this new development on the go. Can you imagine the tax revenue that will generate for the city, and the jobs that will be provided. Maybe you don't care if your taxes increase. Because, that is what will happen when we don't have new commercial developments on the go. It is that simple. So, you either want progress, or not. It can't be both ways. Our unemployment rate is high enough already. Let's be realistic about it. Oh.... I support the developments...period...regardless of where I live....'s either your property taxes increase, or development.

  • Bill
    January 26, 2012 - 14:05

    I keep hearing that the city, my home, needs to move into the 21st century! SURE!!! I'm all for that! But can you tell me how maybe a year's worth of construction work, and mostly minimum wage jobs into the future brings the city into the 21st century??? I'm reminded of Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" ... It's bypass... you gotta have a bypass!!! Downtown already has hotels and office space how can one more or less be the difference in bringing the city into the 21st century??? I have been across the country many times and stayed in many an urban center, and always look forward to coming home because there isn't the gridlock associated with other north american downtown centers. What I can't understand is building just for the appearance of looking modern. If it is "needed" then by all means build it because it is needed, but if it is just for appearance sake and just to make a few line their pockets then rop it, I am sure they can find another place to build if it is that important to them! Thanks for letting me have my say.

  • maggy
    January 26, 2012 - 13:16

    Does the city stop development just because people live downtown? This sort of thing wouldn't happen in another large city. Other cities would only envy our position whereby developers are will to invest money to create jobs, jobs, and tax revenue. It's a no brainer for the City, approve the project !!!!

  • Chris Chafe
    January 26, 2012 - 12:58

    Ahmmmmm last time I checked we already have that mentality "moving to the burbs adopting a svu culture", because the residents are vehemently opposed to taller buildings in the downtown core. Gripes man where have you been living the past 25 years under a bloody rock.

  • dontgetmestarted
    January 26, 2012 - 12:40

    It should be put out by the airport where most of the visitors enter the City. Oil business is not just downtown & not just in St.John's.

  • sealcove
    January 26, 2012 - 12:12

    Any wonder people make jokes

  • seanoairborne
    January 26, 2012 - 11:54

    Welcome to St.John's....The Hooterville of the great white north!!

  • Tommie Ozburn
    January 26, 2012 - 11:48

    Well done to the residents. The naysayers to your position on the comments here all live in a treeless subdivision and are jealous of your downtown neighborhood. Stay the course and let's not end up like all the other North American cities - ie: moved to the 'burbs adopting an SUV culture.

    • Chris Chafe
      January 26, 2012 - 13:52

      Nancy, what you also seem to be ignorant about is the fact that they live in an area that is ZONED FOR COMMERICAL AND RESIDENTAL USE. This is nothing new when it comes to this area.....people complained about the Raddison they complained about the accompying tower.....they complained about MileOne, they complained about the convention centre............if people do not want commerical property around them then they should be after city council to rezone it to "low-rise low-density". As one resident on pleasant street said in a video on the cbc news, if it means no increase in property taxes for residents then she is all for it.

  • Check the meaning of Downtown
    January 26, 2012 - 11:35

    I can see why the resident are against this development, but they need to realize that St. John's is a city and all cities have tall buildings. Its time for Newfoundland to move forward and create more jobs for our people.

  • Jon
    January 26, 2012 - 10:27

    As long as you can see the Irving tanks from your kitchen window, nothing else matters.

  • Percy
    January 26, 2012 - 09:57

    The Mayor said the Personal Property tax rate will double/triple, if the Provincial Govt' did give the City more money. Now, all you NAY sayers re the development of a hotel in the west end...go and think about that one... Don't complain if your Property tax increases. There is NO way to please these HERITAGE/VIEW people.....their brains are stuck to HERITAGE and VIEWS.. Remember the NAY sayers about developing the Sobeys off Merrymeeting Road, and the old Mount Cashel Property????? Look at all of the beautiful houses surrounding these grocery stores. And, you must be losing your memory....housing prices are at all time high..... Get a life.....

    • Don
      January 26, 2012 - 13:25

      Good for you Percy. Very well said indeed. Just listen to them scream when their taxs are doubled / tribled. I guess we should keep St. john's in the 1800's. May as well as it seems thats where the mentality seems to be.

  • ML in NL
    January 26, 2012 - 09:46

    Congratulations St. John's with more backwards thinking, holding back and keeping us behind the times! We need to evolve as a city! I say build!!

  • Cliff
    January 26, 2012 - 09:41

    I am sick and tired of these artsy fartsy NAY sayers...against everything that is proposed for the downtown area. If you don't want development, go and live in the rural areas. The unemployment rate is very high. Just think about the jobs that these developments will create. It is high time the HERITAGE crowd to get a life. You wouldn't know they can take it with them when the past from this world. The City doesn't guarantee view plains. I am so tired of people saying...Oh, I am going to lose my view.... Go to Signal Hill...get the best view of the city. You complained about Fortis developing their Water Street East property, and said, go you are now complaining about the west end.. Go, and take a nap...and, face reality. If we listened to the same old NAY sayers, the city would be like day of Queen Victoria. We are actually living in 2012 Now, go take a walk...and, smell the roses...

    • Nancy
      January 26, 2012 - 10:24

      Hi Cliff; I am neither an "artsy fartsy NAY sayer" nor do I live in this area of Town - but your ignorance has enraged me to the point of where I feel the need to comment. It is obvious that you do not live in this area of Town, and it is quiet obvious that you do not care about the preservation of our heritage. If you had understood the whole article, you would have realized that it's not just about the building of a hotel - it's about the people that choose DT as thier home - and how it affects their daily life. St. John's only has what? Four parks? Yet we have more hotels/motels than I can count. I believe that this land should be turned into a downtown park that is shared and enjoyed by all residents - not turned into yet another hotel by a corporation that does not care about us, just how much profit they can take in.

  • Major
    January 26, 2012 - 09:19

    WOW, how behind the times is St. john's, seems even residents do everything to keep NL in the dark ages. Get a clue. It's time for St. john's to grow a bit. This WILL create jobs GASP. Man NL is so backwards.

  • Marian Atkinson
    January 26, 2012 - 09:11

    No matter how many tax-paying citizens raise objections to anything that means $$ for this City -- the Councillors will approve it. No matter how valid those objections are -- the Councillors will approve it. If it is a 'discretionary' approval, the Appeal Process is a farce because the Appeal Board doesn't have the authority to REVERSE a decision of Council. I feel very sorry for those people in the area now sooo targeted for all the development. For 13 months residents in my neighbourhood have been subjected to construction on our doorsteps. Houses actually vibrated with the heavy equipment; pets were traumatized by the noise and vibrations. The work went on, and is still going on 6 our of 7 days a week from 7 a.m. until after dark! And all this for a darn burger king drive thru and restaurant on Torbay Road where there are already 22 in a 4 kilometer stretch. Good luck to you folks but don't be optimistic anyone in City Hall, councillors or staff, are listening.

  • wayne
    January 26, 2012 - 09:11

    people will protest about anything. I remember the huge protests about the harbour arterial road and about how it would destroy the character of downtown. If this land is zoned properly then the project should proceed....It's not like this is some sort of pristine residentail area.....there have been factories and foundries belching smoke and fumes and lumber yards with dust and noise and a train station with all the assocaited activity in the this area for generations.....what is the problem with a hotel or office tower ? People who buy a house in the area should KNOW how the area is zoned and it has been zoned this way for ages. It's like people who buy a house next the propesed route of an arterial road and then complain when the road is built or those who move into a house near and farm and then complain about the smell of manure. I agree that the city needs to stick to it's own rules about height and such but offices , hotels, condos etc should have no probelms being built in this area.

  • brett
    January 26, 2012 - 09:09

    There is a valid point in that maybe the hotel will be too close to existing properties. The only benefit is for people selling that their house is eventually turned in to a high density condo tower type building too. Maybe the city has to look at how much property around the hotel these projects need to purchase, not just for parking lots, but for green space. That being said, the city needs to grow. The residents get subsidized services from tax revenue generated by the city (property taxes + accommodation tax). Downtown needs to change, it is the hub of the city. Parking needs to be eliminated for water street (and duckworth). A serious look at one way streets needs to be examined too. And serious parking needs to be offered. Real parking towers. I would much rather have a 12story good sized hotel go in to town than have multiple 3-4story hostel type operations dotting the landscape.

  • Jon
    January 26, 2012 - 09:00

    Residents say no to proposed multi-million dollar developments that will provide hundreds of thousands of tax revenues for the city, then complain when the city needs to increase residential tax rates to pay for crumbling infrastructure and increased services demanded by residents. Welcome to St. John's, the most backwards thinking city in Canada.

  • Joe
    January 26, 2012 - 08:24

    Those who argue that tall buildings ("high rise") is the way of the future and thats how its done in any larger cities only see profit for the few. I am not a world traveller but I have seen a few cities. Are there any high rises that block views of La Seine in Paris ? Why should citizens suffer so that a handful of people can become richer ? The view of the harbour is just as important as the view of La Seine . Is it really important that someone from away(you know what i mean) who stays in a hotel every blue moon get a GREAT view while the neighbors live in the shadows. Get things straight for a change and for the right reasons. OH YES-- I guess the hotel guests should be able to walk home from George Street after ????????????????

    • Chris Chafe
      January 26, 2012 - 09:48

      Then why do the downtown residents always say "What About the Tourists?" as their reasoning for being against a development in the downtown core. If they want to live in a strictly residential area then they should voice their concern to city council and have all adjacent land around them deemed "low-rise" low density.

    • Chris Chafe
      January 26, 2012 - 09:55

      I’d like to know where else in this city is there a 115-foot building situated 21 feet from the property line and 35 feet from a house?” she asked. “To me, that seems awfully close and I don’t think that’s acceptable.” That's what happens when you live in a mixed residental/commercial area or you live on the cusp of a commercial district.

  • pat
    January 26, 2012 - 08:13

    you live in the heart of a city what do you expect you got to have large buildings

  • getoverit
    January 26, 2012 - 08:13

    you live downtown, what do you expect, this is hilarious lol.

  • Jon
    January 26, 2012 - 08:03

    Residents say no to proposed downtown .

  • Adam
    January 26, 2012 - 07:53

    Is everything in this bloody city a "heritage site"? Every time someone wants to put something here that will help Newfoundland move into the 21st century and shed the stereotype of being behind the times, city council pipes us and says their favorite buzz word "heritage site" Its time for the youth of this island to be heard we are sick of living in the past. Heritage is fine to have and be proud of, but until we get the DINOSAURS out of city hall, we are stuck where we are. The biggest obstacle to progress in this city is council.

    • Jess
      January 26, 2012 - 08:23

      I totally agree with Adam about NL moving forward...but to say that NL is behind the times, well try coming to the mainland, it's just as bad over in the maritimes, especially NB! St. John's is extremely liberal and progressive compared to NB's capital, Fredericton!

    • Eli
      January 26, 2012 - 08:57

      Sounds like your "living in the past" had everything handed to him on a silver platter & you know absolutely nothing about preservation. God help your parents when they're too old to provide for you. You'd discard them too. When I see comments yours I picture Central Park in the middle of New York City. Look at it from an aerial view and it's a magnificent sight in the middle of those towering canyons. I wouldn't trust you, Galgay, Breen or Hann near it with a chainsaw.

  • Question
    January 26, 2012 - 07:19

    Is this the same project Dean MacDonald is developing? I thought his project was about office space, not a hotel. Clarification please?

    • Jon
      January 26, 2012 - 08:04

      The office building you mentioned is at Job and Hamilton. The proposed hotel is at Springdale and New Gower. The two are very close by each other.

    • response
      January 26, 2012 - 08:09

      Dean McDonaldn's project is on Job Street and is an office complex. This project would be a Hilton Hotel .

  • J
    January 26, 2012 - 06:37

    NIMBYism at its finest. The city should expropriate their property's at market value.