Grimsby council gets “sales pitch” for Century Condos

Project deferred to allow for one more round of negotiation, decision to come Aug. 27

By Mike Williscraft

Despite ongoing concerns among councillors and residents regarding density, mass and parking shortages, Grimsby’s new director of planning presented a “cherry picking” report on a downtown condo development on Monday, according to one councillor.

With a project which was initially proposed at an eight-storey, 86 unit building but has evolved to four-storey with 90 units, Coun. Dave Sharpe said information contained in the 13 -page report presented to council was “cherry picking” the facts.

“This is the all-pro side of this development,” said Sharpe, noting the proposal has key facets which oppose the Town’s Official Plan and small town character strategies.

“We have to look at the good and the bad.”

The report was received for information and a decision deferred to an Aug. 27 meeting planned for council after one more round of negotiation.

In her report, Antonietta Minichillo, Grimsby’s new director of planning, building, and bylaw, cited the following under “Demanding the BEST of this Application” as the only ways to improve the condo project proposal:

• High quality materials
• Lighting Plan
• Rooftop Garden/Community Garden
• Public Realm Enhancements
• Safety for children – road treatment
• Improve sustainability
• Urban Design Review – Alex
Taranu (Founder of the Council for
Canadian Urbanism (CanU) and founding member of Ontario Professional Planners’ Institute Urban Design Working Group)
• Create an Animated Walkway
• Public Art with school children

“That was a great sales pitch. I have to say, part of me feels like DeSantis could have written it,” said Coun. Lianne Vardy.

“I really want to see something built downtown. But I have a few problems with how this is being proposed.”
Vardy cited the report applauding the project’s shift from eight- to four-storeys when “it could never have had eight. That is nonsense.”

There was also considerable concern regarding Antonietta’s plan to discuss parking concerns in closed session.

“That is not the kind of conversation we should be having behind closed doors,” noted Vardy.

“We don’t have enough parking downtown. We already know it is a problem. Why exacerbate a problem? If people cannot park downtown, why would anyone come downtown?”

Despite concerns, Councillors Kevin Ritchie and John Dunstall said the project should proceed as is.

“I’m ok with it,” said Ritchie of the deficient parking outline, adding he is just happy to see a major project proposed for downtown.

For Dunstall, who claimed he was “all about economic development”, he sees Century Condos as a starting point.

“I would like to think of this as the first of many. This is good. Let’s do it. I’m all for it,” said Dunstall.

Council has set an Aug. 27 meeting ahead of the Aug. 30 deadline to make a desicion.

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