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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Editorials Making A Decision Can Cost You Your Job

by Doug Harvey

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.

Prespa Public Meeting Set For March

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 condominium ownership.

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 isn't it?

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?

Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 July 2018 15:37:15 PM EST

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