A proposed new development on what used to be the old Fifth Wheel truck stop in Grimsby has been delayed by council after concerns over traffic, parking, and the height of the building as currently proposed by developers.
In a presentation to Grimsby council on September 21 by Paul Lowes of SGL Planning & Design representing the developer George Trifunovic, details of the proposed complex at 362 and 398 North Service Road that would include both apartments and townhouses.
At issue was whether or not council should amend the zoning bylaw to allow for an increase in the allowable height of the building.
Currently, a maximum of 12 storeys is permitted, while the developers would like to see 22 storeys be included in the property.
Along with the height of the building, which if approved would be the largest development in Grimsby, concern among councillors over traffic and parking quickly became apparent.
Ward 1 Coun. Reg Freake said he sees significant problems with the development as currently proposed.
“If this project gets passed, it's probably going to be the biggest project ever passed in Grimsby. But I look at things and it feels like trying to put a gallon into a quart. I am quite concerned about the traffic, and the parking. There are so many things I can’t seem to get my head around.
“As it stands right now, I just can't see this happening”
To bridge the two properties located on 362 and 398 North Service Road, a road realignment on Winston Road would also be required. The process would require the developer to purchase a small plot of land from the town to make changes to the road.
Ward 3 Coun. Randy Vaine spoke of his concern over the layout of Winston Road itself, and the possibility of increased traffic coming down the two-lane street.
“I am very concerned that road way, I am concerning with putting that amount of traffic on that road way, it is a curvy road way.”
Town staff says a traffic study will be done to examine the current traffic flow through the Winston Road area, as well as the possible impact of the development which currently stands at 1287 units along with commercial space.
Lowe, representing the developer, said while he’s not concerned over the impact on traffic, some due diligence remains to be done, including an updated study by town staff.
“Both town staff and the MTO have looked at the proposal, and are satisfied with the traffic, although there are some conditions. We have asked for an updated traffic study with the final plan.”
Others on council took issue with placing such a large development on the Grimsby waterfront area.
Ward 2 Coun. Lianne Vardy voiced her concerns with how such a development could impact accessibility of the waterfront to other residents in the town.
“If we put up residence here, that really takes away from what should be available for everyone, instead of just the people who can afford it.
Once something is built, we can’t change it. We only have one shot to get it right, and I think the waterfront should be for everyone in the town.”
Vardy went on to say the currently proposed 22-storey property didn’t fit well with the town’s image, and clashed with the type of community residents except in a town such as Grimsby.
“It is 22 storeys, it is just overwhelming. The scale of it is so big. I am here to represent the citizens of Grimsby, and they want to keep the small town feel.”
Others on council urged the town to move forward with the development.
Ward 3. Coun. John Dunstall said he is confident town staff will be able to handle any impacts on traffic or parking, and spoke of the need for future development in the town to meet the needs of a growing population.
We just don’t have enough places to live in our beautiful community. This will be around 3,000 people, and take many years to complete this whole complex. I am going to support it, I think it is the right way to go.”
It may be some time before any decision is made regarding the proposed height of the building, or what a detailed site plan may look like.
Hoping to gather more information, a motion to delay accepting the report before council for at least the next two months was approved, with Coun. Dunstall voting against.
In his closing remarks, Mayor Jeff Jordan said more time is needed from both council and staff before moving forward on such a large development.
“It is certainly going to take some time to address the concerns council has, so I think two months is fair.”
Bryan Levesque, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News