Fort Erie Council Says No To Condo Tower Along Crystal Beach Lakeshore

By Doug Draper

By a margin of four to three, the council of Fort Erie, Ontario has voted down a controversial plan to build a 12-storey condominium along the shores of Lake Erie.

A depiction of the proposed condominium towering over Lake Erie in Crystal Beach.

The vote, delivered at a February 14 council meeting, represents an 11th-hour victory for numerous residents in and beyond the historic Fort Erie community of Crystal Beach who’ve been battling the condo plan for the better part of two years.

Many residents in the area argued that this high-rise condo, advanced by developers who have sited similar multi-storey facilities on the northern shores of Lake Ontario, would constitute an out-of-character intrusion on a community of mostly one- and two-storey homes and business, and would also block access to Bay Beach, one of the last open stretches of beach available to the public along the Niagara shores of Lake Erie.
A bylaw was passed by the last Fort Erie council, consummating an agreement with the developers to build the condo in front of what is a town-owned beach, and was more recently supported by a hearing officer of the Ontario Municipal Board.  And earlier this February, Fort Erie’s new council narrowly gave its okay to the bylaw. That decision all but dashed residents’ hopes that the condo plan would be killed by a council where four of the seven members are new and Mayor Doug Martin (an unwavering supporter of the development) was returned to office by what turned out to be five votes in a race against former Fort Erie councillor Ann-Marie Noyes who campaigned against the condo.

But then this February 14, one of the new councillors, Paul Collard, withdrew his support for the condo, just enough to overturn the town’s agreement with the developers.

“We’re thrilled about the Council’s decisions last night!  The councillors of Wards 3, 4, 5, and 6 made it clear they do not want to proceed with the Bay Beach development project,” said Marcia Carlyn, a Crystal Beach area resident and a leading opponent of the condo plan in a statement to Niagara At Large.   “Given the strong desire of the mayor and senior staff to move forward with this public-private partnership, it was not easy for the new Council to change course.  However, they listened to their constituents and stood up for what they felt was right.  When you have this many people caring so much about one thing – saving Bay Beach – I knew we would eventually prevail.  We’re not there yet, but we’re a lot closer than we were a few days ago!”

It now remains to be seen what, if any steps the developers of the Molinaro Group may take to appeal the latest council decision. We’ll be watching.

It may be of interest to recall that four years ago, a newly elected council of St. Catharines expressed its opposition to a high-rise condominium plan for Port Dalhousie after it was approved by a past council. The Ontario Municipal Board ultimately approved the plan despite the new council arguing against it at public hearings.

We invite you to share your views on this topic in the comment boxes below.

(Visit Niagara At Large at http://www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary on matters of interest and concern to residents in our greater Niagara region and beyond.)

8 responses to “Fort Erie Council Says No To Condo Tower Along Crystal Beach Lakeshore

  1. This is the answer we have been waiting for. Congratulations go out to Councillor Collard ( along with Councillors Lubberts, Steckley and Hill) for having the courage to say no to this development and not to be intimidated by the threat of lawsuits from the developer. Fort Erie finally has a Council that is listening to the people!!! THANK YOU!!!!

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  2. According to Martha J. Lockwood on Facebook: Collard told me Sunday afternoon as I sat in his living roomthat he would not do anything to delay the project. He repeated this in the early part of the last night’s meeting. After all those who support the project cleared out he flipped. Is he a coward or a liar?

    This is the kind of pressure that was placed on Collard by the town. He had time to reflect on his vote on Wednesday evening to support the project. That vote was pushed onto the councillors. Once Paul had a chance to rethink the issue, he requested a reconsideration. It must be noted that Martha Lockwood was once the councillor from Crystal Beach’s Ward 5 and, despite great opposition, voted in favour of the Molinaro Project. She was overwhelmingly defeated in the October municipal election – mainly because of her support of the Molinaro Project.

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  3. I am so happy this did not go through. I have been watching this story since I first read it. Awesome outcome!
    Happy day to one and all
    brenda

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  4. Awesome! So glad to hear it got rejected.

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  5. CONGRATULATIONS FOR MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION..The people who have worked long & hard to reach this step are to be given a huge pat on the back for their time and effort ! Keep on keeping on…… you have good support behind you!! To the Councillors who are listening to their people …….thank you !!! Sometimes once a person is in power , it seems that they put what THEY choose first instead of listening to their constituents and doing what the majority wants. Recently that type of thinking backfired royally to some leaders. Hope the lesson has been learned for the future endeavours!

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  6. Congratulations to the Fort Erie Council for their coutrageous decision. The proposed tower is in a designated harzard area of a dynamic beach and should not be developed. Fort Erie, unlike St. Catharines, took a clear approach with its decision and repealed previous council by-laws against it.

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  7. Congrtulations to the councillors who voted against this development. Finnaly we have people in council that listen to the residents in Crystal Beach. This was bad for Crystal Beach from the start. Shame on you mayor Martin you wanted it for you not the people.Your position is to get what you want not what the residents want. NOW WE GOT SOME PEOPLE IN COUNCIL THAT CARE WHAT WE WANT. Great job Don,Paul,Bob and John im proud of you people. Thanks again Ron Leggett

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  8. This is a terrible injustice done to a very reputable developer who “trusted” our faith to fulfill a contractual relationship between the Mulinaro’s and the Town of Fort Erie! The Town of Fort Erie, ONCE AGAIN, dangled a carrot in front of a potential prospect’s face and then opposes it after the prospect fulfills their obligations to the Town! I do not support the Cystal Beach condo development nor do I disapprove. It is not about this particular project! It’s about doing what is right and ethical once this or any other developer, manufacturer or service industry meets the all 3 government levels of the approval process! If this project wasn’t in retrofit of the Towns plans they shouldn’t have approved it in the first place! This is an injustice served with mud on the Town of Fort Erie’s face! And guess who will have to pay for it!

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