Fergus apartment proposal draws some criticism

·2 min read

FERGUS - A sign about a proposed apartment application in downtown Fergus has raised concerns from some residents.

On Friday, Eric Van Grootheest, realtor and developer of the proposed apartment complex, put up a sign at 350 St. Andrew St. W, which states:

“The purpose of the proposed Zoning By-law amendment is to change the current zoning of “C1” Commercial and “EP” Environment Protection to “C1-Exception”... The effect of the amendment is to allow an increased maximum building height of five storeys from the permitted height of three storeys to construct a new residential apartment with ground floor commercial space.”

Many local residents like Laurie Kells took to Facebook to express their opposition.

“I wonder where everyone is going to park. Personally, I don’t think this is a good idea, but that’s just me,” said Kells.

In an interview, Van Grootheest noted they are supplying the legal amount of parking necessary for downtown, plus they will be supplying around 30 to 40 bikes.

“I’m hoping the layout will be inside parking for bikes and a huge area for a bike park,” he said.

Christine Weber, a local resident commented from the Facebook post that she doesn’t think there needs to be housing at that particular location.

“I know the area needs housing but just can’t see an apartment there of all places! I hope the council won’t allow this travesty to come and take a look at what you are proposing there,” said Weber.

However, Van Grootheest explained that there’s a desperate need for the niche market of smaller apartment units for single, older people and that since the proposed apartment complex is in downtown, residents do not need to drive; they can just walk.

“This apartment complex is to create smaller, economical units that will fulfil the need for affordable and attainable housing,” said Van Grootheest.

“My company has a lot of rentals and there’s a lot of people we noticed that are looking for a two-bedroom apartment, and there are not a lot of available units in the area. Also, there are a lot of people who do not want to drive; they just want to walk or bike around.”

Grootheest said he wants to build a beautiful 36-unit complex with a rooftop green space, a smaller unit with a lot of common space, a glass elevator and a ramp for accessibility purposes. He also proposes that the average unit cost will be around $1,250 a month.

“I just think that we really need this complex here for people who are looking for housing,” said Grootheest.

Angelica Babiera, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com

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