Council moves ahead on LeMarchant condos

Little support for motion to reject plan based on neighbourhood opposition

Daniel MacEachern dmaceachern@thetelegram.com
Published on December 3, 2013
(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

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

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