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Development on Nunnery Hill will be contentious: Galgay


St. John’s Coun. Jonathan Galgay expects debate over development on Nunnery Hill to become very contentious.

On Monday, Galgay was the sole member of council to vote against considering a developer’s proposal to rezone 21 Holloway St. from a Residential Downtown Zone to an Apartment Downtown Zone.

“They’ve given the green light to begin further studies about the potential to put in a condominium or apartment building on that site,” said the representative for Ward 2. “If that is going to happen, it’s going to completely ruin the viewplane in the downtown. It’s going to have a huge impact on our landscape. I would prefer to see residential units on the site — and that’s still somewhat controversial, but I would prefer that over a large-scale condominium or apartment building.”

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Residents blindsided by downtown project

Various development proposals on Nunnery Hill have been talked about since before Galgay was elected in 2013, but none have been successful.

Galgay said whenever potential development is discussed, he gets a lot of calls and emails about it. He said he supports development, but it needs to be appropriate and realistic, such as small homes or townhouses; he doesn’t believe this development fits the bill.

“The pictures that were submitted to the committee earlier in the summer, staff thought that was a little out of context. But regardless of how they modify that in the look, it’s still going to be a massive apartment or condo building in the downtown core, which is going to have a huge impact in terms of traffic, your parking issues and the view in particular. And that’s why I ask: can we go back and protect this area? Is it something that we can do after the fact?” he said.

“I predict that this development will perhaps be one of the most contentious issues that we will face in the downtown into the future, perhaps for this year.”

Council did not vote to rezone the property, but to Commander Ventures to go on what Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth calls a “fact-finding mission.” The developer now must conduct a land use assessment report, and advertising and public consultation will be required.

Coun. Danny Breen voted in favour of that, along with the majority of council.

“I personally wasn’t a keen admirer of the renderings that were provided, but it was approved by the Built Heritage Experts Panel, and they made some recommendations with regards to the colouring of the exterior, so based on that, I don’t see any reason why, if the developer wishes to proceed, that they shoudn’t be able to move forward with a land assessment report — at their own cost — and go to a public hearing so that we get feedback from the public,” he said.

But Galgay doesn’t believe it’ll do any good.

“I don’t think there’s anything the developer can do to make it work in the neighbourhood. I think they need to step away from the proposal to change for rezoning and work with the existing zoning for that neighbourhood. I think that’s the best approach,” he said.

“I can tell you when this goes to a public meeting, it’s going to be unanimous that the people in the downtown area do not want this, and I fully support that.”

lpower@thetelegram.com

Twitter:@TelyLouis

On Monday, Galgay was the sole member of council to vote against considering a developer’s proposal to rezone 21 Holloway St. from a Residential Downtown Zone to an Apartment Downtown Zone.

“They’ve given the green light to begin further studies about the potential to put in a condominium or apartment building on that site,” said the representative for Ward 2. “If that is going to happen, it’s going to completely ruin the viewplane in the downtown. It’s going to have a huge impact on our landscape. I would prefer to see residential units on the site — and that’s still somewhat controversial, but I would prefer that over a large-scale condominium or apartment building.”

RELATED STORY:

Residents blindsided by downtown project

Various development proposals on Nunnery Hill have been talked about since before Galgay was elected in 2013, but none have been successful.

Galgay said whenever potential development is discussed, he gets a lot of calls and emails about it. He said he supports development, but it needs to be appropriate and realistic, such as small homes or townhouses; he doesn’t believe this development fits the bill.

“The pictures that were submitted to the committee earlier in the summer, staff thought that was a little out of context. But regardless of how they modify that in the look, it’s still going to be a massive apartment or condo building in the downtown core, which is going to have a huge impact in terms of traffic, your parking issues and the view in particular. And that’s why I ask: can we go back and protect this area? Is it something that we can do after the fact?” he said.

“I predict that this development will perhaps be one of the most contentious issues that we will face in the downtown into the future, perhaps for this year.”

Council did not vote to rezone the property, but to Commander Ventures to go on what Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth calls a “fact-finding mission.” The developer now must conduct a land use assessment report, and advertising and public consultation will be required.

Coun. Danny Breen voted in favour of that, along with the majority of council.

“I personally wasn’t a keen admirer of the renderings that were provided, but it was approved by the Built Heritage Experts Panel, and they made some recommendations with regards to the colouring of the exterior, so based on that, I don’t see any reason why, if the developer wishes to proceed, that they shoudn’t be able to move forward with a land assessment report — at their own cost — and go to a public hearing so that we get feedback from the public,” he said.

But Galgay doesn’t believe it’ll do any good.

“I don’t think there’s anything the developer can do to make it work in the neighbourhood. I think they need to step away from the proposal to change for rezoning and work with the existing zoning for that neighbourhood. I think that’s the best approach,” he said.

“I can tell you when this goes to a public meeting, it’s going to be unanimous that the people in the downtown area do not want this, and I fully support that.”

lpower@thetelegram.com

Twitter:@TelyLouis

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