COUNCIL ROUNDUP: Cambridge employment lands conversion deferred to meet with disgruntled manufacturer

·3 min read

REGION OFFICIAL PLAN FOR EMPLOYMENT LANDS

City council voted to defer the region’s conversions of employment lands to non-employment lands and the regional employment area boundary, calling for a workshop to go through the 17 properties “with a clean slate.”

The vote was 8-1, with Coun. Jan Liggett as the lone vote against the motion.

The deferral came after a long discussion by council, city staff and regional staff, and the deferral of two property items asked to be endorsed by council under the review of the region official plan.

Council aims to complete the workshop and bring the item back to the virtual horseshoe before the region’s committee of the whole meeting on April 20.

Prior to deferring the entire motion, the Groh Avenue area and 1140 Main St. were asked to be pulled for a later date.

Coun. Mike Devine asked Groh Avenue be deferred so he and staff could meet with the owner of Canada Tool, as the manufacturer felt they weren’t consulted about the conversion of the employment lands. Their position is adding neighbouring residential development will bring eventual complaints about noise. They have threatened to move if the development is built.

When it comes to the Main Street property, Coun. Pam Wolf asked for that to be deferred, as there is significant development going near the lands, also known as the Boomer property. The land is not recommended for conversion, but councillors said they would like to see what future development in that area would look like before any endorsement of that land.

City staff said the entire deferral will still allow them to speak with the owner of Canada Tool and explore the Boomer lands further.

35-37 AND 39 MAIN ST.

City council unanimously voted in favour of alterations to the façade and rear of 35-37 and 39 Main Street, which are Part V heritage designated properties.

Under the report, council also voted to allow $5,000 from the municipal heritage advisory committee and an additional $5,000 from the designated heritage property grants for the alterations.

Those changes include the installation of new entrance doors, new wood cladding surrounding the storefront, new insulated double-pane windows, removing the rear fire escape and replacing with new elevated decks.

The total proposed budget for the project is $163,838 and the work must be completed by Nov. 1.

The properties have been vacant for some time and the owner is proposing residential apartments on the second and third floor and rehabilitating the main floor for commercial use.

Council later unanimously voted to grant $36,744 from the business revitalization program (BRP) reserve fund and give an interest-free loan of $68,238 from the core areas transformation fund — a total of $104,982 over a three-year term — to cover the partial costs of exterior renovations on 35-37 Main St.

In addition, council approved a grant of $25,374 from the BRP reserve fund and an interest-free loan of $47,122 from the core areas transformation fund — a total of $72,496 over a three-year term — to cover the partial costs of exterior renovations on 39 Main St.

The total redevelopment cost is more than $2 million.

124 COMPASS TRAIL

City council unanimously voted, with no debate, to exempt a part lot control on a proposed 88-unit townhouse development to allow further division of the block into separate freehold lots for individual sale.

There is also a plan to create a common element condominium, including the road, parking spaces and green space/amenity area.

The exemption allows the selling of a portion of the property to allow separate ownership without approval from the committee of adjustment through a severance application.

CAMBRIDGE ECONOMIC RESPONSE PLAN

Council approved $75,000 in funding to support the Waterloo Region Tourism and Marketing Corporation to help boost confidence in the tourism sector as part of a staff report detailing the initiatives implemented to support local businesses since the COVID-19 pandemic started a year ago.

Bill Doucet, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times