When it comes to politics making a decision can cost you your job. With development
being a rather big priority on Central Elgin's agenda after spending over $17,000,000
on a Waste Water Treatment project, the lack of a decision in the Prespa Construction
Limited proposed 9 storey apartment building at 146-156 William Street could backfire
on the current Central Elgin Council. The application raised public concerns dating
back to a January 18, 2016 Council meeting covered by Port Stanley News.
by Francie Dennison
There were no delegations and no correspondence of any type requiring Central Elgin
Council's attention at their January 18, 2016 meeting, but the gallery was packed
with persons interested in Prespa Construction's application regarding 146-156 William
Street in Port Stanley.
CEP 05-16: Application to Amend Village of Port Stanley By-law 1507 - Prespa Construction
Limited, 146-156 William Street:
This was an application for a zoning amendment to permit mixed use development to
construct a nine storey mixed use development on the west side of William Street,
north of Edith Cavell Boulevard. The development proposes 52 residential units within
the 9 storeys with ground floor commercial space and three detached dwellings fronting
onto Edith Cavell Boulevard. It is proposed that the units on the site will be in
Council received this report as information and Councillor McNeil expressed his
concern that the proponent, the owner of Prespa Construction, was not in attendance;
however, his agent was. Mayor Marr said a zoning amendment is required for the project
to proceed and Deputy Mayor Martyn said she wants to give the public a chance to
provide their input. It was decided that the public meeting on this would not be
held ahead of a regular council meeting or in council chambers, but a bigger venue
was needed to hold all interested people and to allow for more than just a few people
to comment. It was decided the Port Stanley Community Centre above the arena would
be an appropriate venue and Mayor Marr said he expected it would be full. Deputy
Mayor Martyn wondered if the municipality should do its own traffic study of the
area before the public meeting, but Jim McCoomb said they could simply do a peer
review of the traffic study done by Prespa, at Prespa's expense.
Staff will provide council next week with meeting date options available at the
arena. Tentatively they are expecting that to occur March 7th, 2016. Council is
also hoping interested persons will read the entire report/proposal on-line before
the meeting and make any verbal or written comments they wish to make.
The Public Meeting
Prespa Highrise Proposal Unpopular
by Francie Dennison
The turnout to the public meeting on Prespa's proposed 9-storey high-rise condominium
apartment complex was strong and solid despite the freezing rain coming down on
March 1st, 2016 and they made it clear that they were not in favour of the proposal.
Prespa representatives gave a clear picture of what they wanted to build and their
vision of how it would impact the area and community, stating they believe it will
encourage a more year-round population and more year-round commercial activity.
There will be three detached units fronting onto Edith Cavell that will be exactly
like the condos Prespa is already building along that area of Edith Cavell. The
main condominium apartment building will front onto William Street and contain commercial
units only on the ground floor, fronting onto William Street, and 52 residential
units on the 2nd to 8th floors. The 9th floor will be a common area with games rooms
and such. They have allotted for 84 parking spaces in total, underneath the building
and on the surface, to serve both the residential and commercial units. It was obvious
in their presentation they are not expecting the commercial units to generate a
lot of traffic and they do not expect the residential units to need more than one
parking space each as they are anticipating they will be bought primarily by empty-nesters
and retirees. Access will be from First Street with additional emergency access
from William Street.
It is intended to be a mixed use building. Residential units will have balconies
and they say there will be minor shadow impact from the building. [However, as one
resident pointed out, the shadow impact is vastly different between noon on June
21st - high noon on the longest day of the year- and 4:30 p.m. on December 21st
- late day on the shortest day of the year. The design plan is not yet finalized
as they still have a new architect working on it and plan to incorporate/address
into it some of the concerns raised by village residents tonight.
After over two years of waiting for any kind of decision from Central Elgin Council,
this matter will now be decided by a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal in late August 2018
and could be the final chapter in this proposed development.
Exactly why there was no decision made by Central Elgin Council could be an interesting
story on political tactics, but in the end not knowing how Council stands on this
or even a similar development on George Street is a true tale that shows their
lack of commitment to Central Elgin's Official Plan and to the taxpayers.
About Central Elgin's Official Plan
Our Official Plan contains Council's policies on how land in our community should
be used. It is prepared with input from staff and the community, and helps to ensure
that future planning and development will meet our needs.
An official plan helps us decide where homes and businesses should be built; where
parks and schools should be located; and where roads, sewers and other essential
services should be provided.
When you take a look at the brief outline of the Official Plan one can only imagine
that when applications come before Council, that Council would eventually make a
decision based on whether or not that falls within the guidelines of our Official
Plan, after all that's what they are there for, right!
Having all these public meetings is great, and they do offer a real picture on what
the public wants, but after the meetings are over, will a paid politician do their
job and offer their decision, after all that's what we as taxpayers pay for and expect
Not making a decision should also not be an excuse for a politician to create two versions (a positive and negative)
of the final outcome, of a decision made by others, to tell people depending on
what side of the fence the people are on. They should have the courage to make and stand
by their decisions, after all they're suppose to be our paid community leaders aren't they?