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.