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Council hits pause button on proposed condo tower

Published on

Journal Staff

Sarnia has rejected a rezoning application from a local businessman who plans to build a 19-storey condominium tower overlooking Centennial Park, saying the outsized proposal needs more public consultation.

Council made the decision after hearing from five residents who said the 100-condo building is simply too big and too tall for the property at 135 Water St.

An artist concept of the 19-storey condo tower proposed for Water Street.
Image courtesy, Baird AE

The building doesn’t meet the regulations governing height, setbacks, parking, lot size and other restrictions, neighbours noted, adding it will block out the sun, create a wind tunnel and negatively impact end-of-life patients at St. Joseph’s Hospice.

“A great, big monstrosity,” is how resident Terry Robinson of neighbouring Bayview Towers described it.

In a 6-2 vote on Oct. 28, council asked the property’s owner, local businessman Henry Mehta, to hold another public consultation as quickly as possible.

Mehta said he and his staff are agreeable to meeting with neighbours, but noted all tall buildings cast shadows and block views.

“Better to do it and mitigate the number of appeals” later, Mayor Mike Bradley advised him.

An earlier public meeting drew about 10 people with no objections raised.

Mehta purchased the property and Sarnia Rent-All business at 135 Water St. in 2013.

Without any advertising, 45 people have expressed interest in one of the condos, he said.

The proposal calls for a 19-storey tower with commercial space on the ground floor, a parking garage on levels 2-5, amenities floor for gym and recreation rooms on level 6, and 100 private condo units on the floors above.

In a report, city staff acknowledged the building’s size problems but recommended approval anyway because it’s in keeping with other waterfront high-rises.

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