An Announcement from the Port Dalhousie Conservancy
(NAL is posting the following March 8 announcement from the Port Dalhousie Conservancy, a St. Catharines, Ontario area citizens group that has been fighting a development group’s plans to build 17-storey condo tower complex, dubbed Port Place, in the heart of a designated heritage district.
This announcement is a response to the recent news that the developers have decided not to move forward with a promised 415-seat theatre that would have been part of the Port Place project and may build a grocery store instead.)
DROPPING PORT THEATRE WOULD COMPROMISE REVITALIZATION AND REQUIRE FULL NEW APPLICATION
Conservancy Would Welcome Scaled Down New Application Consistent With Planning Policies
St. Catharines, March 8, 2012. The Port Dalhousie Conservancy has concluded that removing the theatre and/or making other major changes to the Ontario Municipal Board-approved Port Place proposal, will require a full new application and public meeting process. This conclusion was reached based on meetings with the City’s senior Planning staff, a review of the OMB decision and attendant By-Law and advice from lawyer Jane Pepino.
Three years ago, following a marathon hearing, PDVC won OMB approval of virtually 100 per cent of their proposal despite vigorous, and extremely costly, opposition by the community and the City. At the OMB, PDVC insisted the theatre would work even though they were told by expert witnesses that it would not be successful or profitable and, they were alerted about the likelihood of a downtown Performing Arts Centre. Suddenly, it has been reported that they now see the theatre as a liability and they want to drop it.
“The City Planner supported the proposal, and the OMB approved it ,because of the claim it would revitalize, and the theatre was the key component of the revitalization argument. It was supposed to make Port Dalhousie “a year-round tourist destination” stated Conservancy President Hank Beekhuis. “Without the theatre it becomes primarily a condo tower development in a low-rise Heritage District so, if they want changes, we would encourage them to submit a new application that is consistent with the Heritage Guidelines and other applicable planning policies” he added.
The Conservancy believes this is a unique opportunity for PDVC to introduce a viable, scaled-down proposal that will be less costly to build yet, lead to a more appropriate development for a low-rise, 19th and early 20th century Heritage District.
“We are ready and willing to work with the developer to help craft a more appropriate proposal that will be likely to receive required approvals and respects the wishes of the residents,” said Beekhuis. “We can also provide advice and assistance with improvements to the adjacent heritage components, such as restoring the Harbour Lock, should they decide to invest their funds in these as part of the new application”.
The Port Dalhousie Conservancy Inc., is an all-volunteer community organization with over 600 members. The Conservancy has always supported appropriate development in Port Dalhousie’s Heritage District that is consistent with applicable planning policies.
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