Businesses owners and town staff packed into Station 1 Coffeehouse to share updates and concerns about development in Grimsby.
Grimsby and District Chamber of Commerce organized the Town Talk, which is the first of a planned series intended to run quarterly. The events will allow town staff to provide updates to businesses and for businesses to provide feedback on projects.
Rebecca Shelley, executive director of the chamber, said the idea for the talks came about to create a bridge between the town and the business community, and there was great feedback on the event from both sides. “We got tremendous positive feedback from staff and business community,” she said.
At the inaugural meeting on Nov. 1, town staff discussed new developments, including Century Condos, Casablanca Hotel and the Woolverton. They also discussed the Downtown Reimagined project and what it could mean for traffic and parking.
The first part of the meeting was allocated to providing updates on the developments throughout Grimsby.
Walter Basic, from the town’s planning department, said plans for the Century Condos development were currently being finalized by town staff after the site plan was approved by council.
Gabe DeSantis, president of DeSantis Homes, the developer of the project, said that 90 per cent of the units were sold, and construction was expected to start in spring. “(We’re) really excited for the opportunity to finally put shovels in the ground,” he said.
Casablanca Hotel in Grimsby-on-the-Lake is also scheduled for redevelopment and town staff provided updates. The plan is for two buildings, at 12 and 19 storeys, which required an official plan amendment by council.
It will be mixed use with a hotel component and more than 900 dedicated parking spaces. It’s currently in the site plan application stage.
The final development that was discussed at the meeting was the Woolverton development, which integrates the historic Woolverton Hall and House.
The proposal is for 73 residential apartments, with a community space between the house and hall. It was declined by council, but appealed by the applicant to the Ontario Land Tribunal, where it is currently in the pipeline.
The concept is that all units will be available for rent, owned by the building and they will be put on the open market, which will decide the prices.
The second half of the session was geared toward discussing the Downtown Reimagined project.
Grimsby’s water mains are aging and need replacing, which gives the town an opportunity to rethink the way the area looks, according to Basic.
As part of that, parking will be examined and staff have budgeted for a comprehensive parking study, which will involve a consultant out on the roads, examining parking and predicting future demand.
That study may well occur while the construction workers will be present for the Century Condos development, which will be taken into consideration, according to Brandon Wartman, director of public works.
The project will also involve a traffic study, as Wartman said they had heard concerns about the traffic situation.
The studies should be carried out in spring and summer 2023. The government funding for the project stipulates it must be finished by Oct. 2026.
Staff could not provide an exact date for the replacement of the water main, but promised it will not be announced with limited time before it starts. Wartman said the community will know in advance and there will be dialogue with the business community regarding the road closures.
Chris Pickles, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News