Council moves ahead on LeMarchant condos

Daniel MacEachern
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Little support for motion to reject plan based on neighbourhood opposition

A planned LeMarchant Road condo development is going ahead, despite a councillor’s motion to reject the project due to opposition from area residents.

(Top, left) View down LeMarchant Road From Cookstown Road. (Top, right) View of intersection of Lime Street and LeMarchant Road. (Bottom) Bird’s eye view of front elevation facing LeMarchant Road. — Submitted images

City council voted at its regular Monday meeting to allow Pinnacle Developments to proceed with a planned five-storey, 55-unit condominium project, but not before Ward 2 Coun. Jonathan Galgay — whose ward encompasses 21-47 LeMarchant, where the condos are to be located — said he wouldn’t support the project.

Concerns raised

“In speaking with the residents and the business owners, there were considerable concerns that were raised about the development,” said Galgay, who chaired a public hearing on the project in September. He noted the development would be in a city heritage zone, and he’s not satisfied the development suits the location.

“I don’t think it’s reflective of the architecure in the area, and I don’t think it will add to the heritage zone as what we’ve defined as the city.”

Galgay said Coady’s Metal Works — which would be next to the development, and whose owner Ron Coady called the condo plans “alarming” in a submission to the city — could be affected by the development, if the use of his forge bothers his new neighbours.

“Some older structures in the city have used chimneys, wood stoves, etc. for years and years and years, and with the new development that’s coming in, there is potential that if he uses his chimney and a complaint comes in from a condo owner, the city could step forward under the City Act — fumes or smoke emitting from a chimney, which results in a complaint from a neighbouring property may be deemed a nuisance.”

Galgay — who also said he’s concerned about the increase to traffic in the area — moved to reject the proposal outright. The motion was seconded by Ward 5 Coun. Wally Collins, but that was the extent of Galgay’s support, and his motion was defeated.

Ward 3 Coun. Bruce Tilley called the proposal a great project, noting there was a similar “racket” when McKinley Place condos next door were being developed.

“This one is no different,” Tilley said. “It will enhance the area. It has underground parking. It’s a $20-million project, and you’ve got to look at the jobs and the contracts that’ll be done for that,” he said. “It’s a real good project for that area. If you go up there now, all that’s up there now is a big hole. So what are you going to do? Leave the hole for the next 20 years? Ridiculous.”

At-large Coun. Tom Hann said he’s confident the developer can work with neighbours to allay their concerns, and said shutting down Coady’s Metal Works is just a what-if scenario.

Sandy Hickman, also councillor-at-large, said the neighbourhood requires “a little bit of innovation” to put the life back in it.

“I think people living in the area would really bring the place back to life. It might have been nice to have some commercial elements on the bottom floor, local neighbourhood stuff, but perfect, a condominium,” Hickman said.

After Galgay’s motion was defeated, council voted to make a site-specific amendment to the commercial central mixed zone, allowing a building with a height no taller than 18 metres as measured from LeMarchant Road, with a residential density of 1.5 dwelling units per 50 square metres of lot area

Geographic location: McKinley Place, LeMarchant Road

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Recent comments

  • G
    December 05, 2013 - 21:06

    And the destruction of a lovely city continues.....

  • dontgetmestarted
    December 04, 2013 - 12:45

    Sorry that should read CAN'T sell them.

  • dontgetmestarted
    December 04, 2013 - 12:41

    I believe most of these developments have to presell a percentage of units before they can be financed. Good luck with that. Methinks there will be a big hole in the ground for a while. Temperance Street development still hasn't started because they can sell them.

  • Joanne
    December 04, 2013 - 12:06

    An Igoe-Pruitt development - Newfoundland-style. If Sandy Hickman thinks Soviet era architecture and housing blocks are "innovative" he should have his head examined. So much for St. John's being cited as one of the most colorful cities in the world (Escape+Travel). Building these drab monstrosities (future slums) will take care of that image.

  • MIKE
    December 04, 2013 - 09:40

    Ugly institutional looking buildings. Reminds me of the old poor house on Alexander Street. This is not 2013 architecture.

  • Mike
    December 03, 2013 - 18:58

    Good idea to move forward and build where a Irving Service station once stood. Great move to renew. BUT.... I think better taste in building design would be more appropriate. These places will look like slums from the beginning, never mind 10 yrs from now. North Americas oldest City just went down another notch in the barn yard.

  • Joe
    December 03, 2013 - 18:48

    Ha. Ha, Ha I only pity the suckers buying them. In ten years time they will be selling for 10 cents on the dollar and half will have nobody in then.

    • B
      December 04, 2013 - 16:35

      And you think people would prefer to live in Suburbia, commuting 30-60 minutes to work every day? These will easily be filled.

  • What Heritage
    December 03, 2013 - 14:16

    I'm crying with laughter (and sadness) at how some of the yahoos down there at the bunker still use the words "heritage", "enhance" and "innovation" in the name of the almighty tax dollar. This "design" is bordering on post WW2 Soviet constructed in East Germany apartment "bloks". The Horror Show the city has become.

    December 03, 2013 - 13:07

    At least Jonathan Galgay is listening to the people in Ward 2 and bringing their concerns to Council. Something that has not been done at City Hall for years. Keep up the good work Jonathan. As for the residents on LeMarchant Road, you cannot stop progress.

  • Kelly Bruton
    December 03, 2013 - 11:18

    Thanks to Jonathan Galgay for standing up and voting against the oversized building that is planned for the corner of Cookstown and Lemarchant Road. This is one whole block and 5 stories high, just right to block all the views of historic and new homes on Lemarchant. Underground Parking with entrances/exits on both Lime and Cookstown Road. Who is making these decisions for a ward already congested with traffic and no this is not affordable housing folks. Condos, yes very ugly and intrusive. Absolutely no green space planned. Architecturally uncreative and cheap. Republic Properties respect our neighbourhood! http://

  • Local Resident
    December 03, 2013 - 10:13

    No one has mentioned that this project at 5 storeys is much higher than any other structure in the area. Also it is meant to be built directly abutting the sidewalk on LeMarchant, Lime, Cookstown. Why not compromise? 3 or 4 storeys and even a thin strip of grass on the margins of the property would help. As it stands now the project is so out of place it can do nothing but HARM this neighborhood.

    • B
      December 04, 2013 - 16:37

      Why not 30 stories high?

  • Nick
    December 03, 2013 - 09:44

    No problem with a development here, in my backyard, but the design is horrendous. I would love some street-level commercial and community space and a less-imposing design. Really disappointed with council.

    • W
      December 04, 2013 - 16:39

      I agree. The design in horrendous. (probably less horrendous than the ugly, 1-story building that was there before). Street-level commercial would be ideal. Other than that I couldn't care less if it was 100 stories tall.

  • Terry
    December 03, 2013 - 09:15

    These proposed condos are without a doubt the ugliest buildings I have ever seen and will do nothing to enhance the character or landscape of St. John's. Isn't it about time the mayor and council looked beyond the revenue that taxes will generate, isn't it about time we the citizens have a say in what e want? These remind me of the old Ebsary Estates on Cashin avenue and those ugly wooden apartments on Torbay Rd. For God's sake stop this development or have the design changed so they at least have some appeal or in 10 years the City will be faced with dilapidated crap that will end up being subsidized apartments for those onn social assistance.

  • Windsor
    December 03, 2013 - 09:07

    The facing on these units looks exactly like the social housing buildings in downtown Toronto. Feel sorry for the area residents.

  • Gekko
    December 03, 2013 - 08:56

    Rookie councilor Galgay needs to learn the fine line between "standing up for one's community" and pandering to blatant NIMBYism. This area has very little heritage value, the residents just don't want to wake up to construction noise every morning. Sorry, but that can be part of living in a city.

  • Wow LeMarchant
    December 03, 2013 - 08:00

    Over the years St John's has changed so much, but somehow LeMarchant Rd always stayed recognizable. Sadly, the times are still a changing.

  • look
    December 03, 2013 - 07:56

    I love how galgary says it wont fit in with the architecture of the area, clearly he don't know his city well seeing there is 2 or 3 other condo buildings already there.

  • original townie
    December 03, 2013 - 07:10

    Galgay....rejecting this development, rejecting the propane tank installation on the waterfront (Keg). If every development had to hurdle heritage, our skyline would reflect 100 years ago. City's have to leave the past and move into the future. I can see this councilor is all about progress. What exactly do you support Mr. Galgay?

    • John
      December 03, 2013 - 08:12

      he did something original. he listened to his constituents and the effect it may have on them. While we may not be able to hold up every development due to heritage if you bulldoze the downtown and put up these overpriced condos everywhere you are losing part of the reason people actually visit St. John's. That being the downtown heritage.

  • dontgetmestarted
    December 03, 2013 - 06:40

    Yes b'y, I'd love to pay 400k to have a balcony right on one of the busiest & noisiest streets in the city. Never mind Coady's, they'll be choking on the fumes from all that stalled traffic. Nuts!

  • Blu
    December 03, 2013 - 06:14


    • pete
      December 03, 2013 - 22:32

      bring in people from other countries to work.

  • Dinner at Raymond's Buys Favour
    December 03, 2013 - 06:09

    When councillors entertain others with public funds, there is a record of the event (meeting) and what it cost. But when developers take council members to posh restaurants and make discreet campaign contributions it is unrecorded.

  • Anon
    December 03, 2013 - 06:02

    Looks like another ugly building is being built in St. John's. Why can't they build anything that looks good? Also, this area has a lot of traffic congestion now, what is it going to be like with 55 more cars?

  • Linda W.
    December 03, 2013 - 05:31

    Instead of building luxury condos - why don't realtors build apartment buildings for lower income people and students that rent for a lot less that it costs to buy a condo. There is a real need for that.

    • Brett
      December 03, 2013 - 08:13

      I think that the increase in condos will increase rental units as people will buy the condo's to rent. Quite frankly the condo's are a lower standard of living that a lot of the buyers are used to. They may work for seniors wanting to downsize, but overall I think it'll turn the properties into rental housing. I just feel sorry for the people living in what will turn into shanty town apartment rentals (like the houses with 18 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, rent of 500/month type stuff).

    • jp
      December 03, 2013 - 08:26

      I can,t believe what this city is turning into, a place where I hate to go out the door, its like a little Toronto, .no thought for the poor, just the bigshots as usual, remember when u go it will your deeds will be remembered, not your condos or how much money you made, god help the poor!

    • Robb
      December 03, 2013 - 08:40

      Well Linda, why don't lower income people better themselves, go to school and get a good education. Then they don't have to go crying for accommodations, and they can mold their own future....or.... just sit back, do nothing and complain all day that no one is providing you with the necessities of life.

    • Thomas
      December 03, 2013 - 09:06

      Shame on you Robb. I am a well educated single parent of 2 who lost his wife to illness some years back. I have a well paying job. The necessities of life are paramount for my family. My gross 70k a year barely covers the need. We struggle daily with the constant increase in the cost of living. You seem to have all the answers. What do you recommend? Or are you one of those cyber bullies living scot free in mom's basement?

    • Nick
      December 03, 2013 - 09:50

      Incredible, Robb. You keep climbing that ladder. Soon you'll be looking down on them all!

    • Brandon
      December 03, 2013 - 10:01

      First, because realtors don't build anything. They sell them. But ignoring that, it is because developers are not a charity, they are a business. Like any business, they stand to make a profit. You are not complaining about restaurants not giving out free meals, or sports stores not giving out free ice hockey skates. While it would be nice, its not realistic. If your issue is affordable housing, then that is fine. But your issue is with city council / provincial government not providing subsidies or hiring folks to do the work and having the tax payer foot the bill. Because those are the groups who have the responsibility to provide affordable housing. Governments, funded by tax payers. Not developers. While it would be nice, it is the mandate of every business to profit, not to provide charity. Social assistance is the job of government. So if we want affordable housing let's raise income tax or property tax 1% and provide it. I hope I don't hear any complaints when someone proposes that. But no, it's fine to complain it isn't getting built when it is someone else's business that is chastised for not providing the charity. Don't touch property tax.

    • B
      December 03, 2013 - 10:28

      Because the city won't allow affordable housing to be built. You know what would really help get some affordable rental spaces on the market? No parking. That's right, if students and low-income earners could rent a place where parking was not available, the rent would be lower. It would also not increase traffic and increase bus ridership. The city forces all new developments to have ample parking. This is an outdated regulation and needs to be changed so that those who do not drive are not subsidizing those who do. To those who have concerns about traffic, this would help you too.