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April 30, 2012

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atleast it will bring in jobs, with the condos, I am pretty indifferent about it, sooner or later things downtown would have to change and I feel this is for the better.

18 floors for a building isn't too bad, but the civic league has to realize there are people out there in Guelph who have fallen upon hard times something like this especially those in construction will help them a lot, as well as plumbers, electricians, carpenters / cabinet making (where I am in but things been slow) will keep people working for the next little while

... considering the sectors that will benefit going forward, it's a big win for the downtown: Retail and hospitality. Arts and Culture. Recreation. Insurance. Service. Real Estate.

On a scale you wouldn't achieve with the downtown bars. Or public services.

Not to mention the benefits for the environment, with some adopting a downtown lifestyle that includes less driving.

If we are losing commercial space for parkland, it needs to be justified. Intensification seems to be the argument for it. This nod for the condos represents a big shift in thinking. As applications come forward, it remains to be seen how open we are to embracing it.

The Guelph Civic League was happy with much of the plan, but we were trying to represent widespread community concerns about the 18-storey building heights. Considering the scope and scale of redevelopment in the plan, reducing the height of four buildings from 18 to 12 stories would not have had a large impact on density. And it would probably have resulted in MORE construction jobs.

I was stunned to hear several councillors say that a council meeting is not the time to 'tinker' with the plan, citing the 'integrity of the process'. This was the only opportunity for our elected representatives to have an impact on the plan, based on the wishes of their constituents. It boggles the mind that some councillors think it is not their responsibility to suggest changes to staff recommendations. That's what they are there for, not just rubber stamping!

Craig, We are NOT losing commercial land for parkland. Read the damn report and you will see that we actually GAIN more retail on the other side of the street and nearby.

In terms of 18 floors, I am not against it totally. I would liked a bonus program in place at 15 + 3 bonus that way we get some more extras instead of just the building/taxes/people. I do not understand this city sometimes. Toronto is condo central and they could have learned a thing or two, alas the GUELPH FACTOR (blind and dumb) always rears it head.

For the most part it sounds great! I think it is win-win-in. I'd throw one more win in they didn't intended to demolish all those businesses along Wellington and Gordon. What a shame, I shop there regularly, Angels Diner is an institution, the barber shop is a landmark, I buy at the Beat Goes On every month. Councillor Guthrie's proposal to have a limited amount of retail was a GOOD idea, but unfortunately it was rejected by the narrow minded, unicorns and rainbows, gang of eight. Shame on them!

It would have made a nice bookend to the proposed development on the other side of Gordon.

All in all, more large residences downtown should increase the customer base, increase property tax values and bring more business downtown. Maybe the Petrie building will finally get is due. The space will be needed!

Karl,

The report envisions "small-scale" commercial within the new park, which would be a complementary use much as the Boathouse complements Royal City Park.
Cam's amendment would actually have increased this to "medium-scale" to allow more commercial at that corner, but councillors voted it down.
They later voted down a motion from Coun. Van Hellemond to remove all commercial from that corner, on the basis it would handcuff future potential uses.

Thanks Scott,

I'll have to take a look at the "small scale" idea envisioned. The Ref's no commercial just doesn't make sense. We all want more parkland, but there already is a lot downtown. Everyone I talked to thinks demolishing retail for more parks is crazy. The downtown area is surrounded with parks, how much more do we really need? And that corner is prime retail.

Putting retail buildings that close to the river was a mistake, and one we now have a chance to rectify, thankfully. There'll be plenty of room for retail in the proposed development on the other side of Gordon, at a more reasonable distance from the river banks.

If that Angels Diner is an institution, someone should apply for heritage status on Taco Bell and KFC. Franco's Barber Shop is the only retail business of any historical merit in that whole area.

It's a shame that people's businesses will be affected but personally, I wont miss anything in that mall. Good riddance to fastfood alley too. I like the new plan.

Used to be Guelph Casket
Works, "institution" flew out the window when it became a Canadian Tire. Geez I'm old.

Why not build the privately owned student residence downtown? That way when the children are done drinking and making a mess in the hallowed downtown they can just stay there. Then in the morning or the late afternoon to be more realistic they can clean up after themselves, at no cost to the taxpayers.

Most of these bars will be pushed out over time because obviously, people who live downtown would want real restaurants and pubs to hang in.

I am shocked nobody knew that we already have a 18 story building in Guelph beside Riverside Park.

I pointed that out last year in my submissions regarding the Downtown Secondary Plan that the average height was 10-12 floors for most apartment/condo type buildings as well.

Here is a list of the top 5 tallest buildings in Guelph (Estimated Height from Emporis):

Riverside Residences On The Park at 19 floor @ 59.17 m

Twin Towers 1 & 2 at 14 floors @ 43.60 m

Park Mall at 13 floors @ 40.48 m

Glengarry Hall at 12 floor @ 37.37 m

I have no idea where most of those buildings are, just by their names.

As for the downtown bars, does anyone know if the bars own their buildings? Or, who does own them? I would imagine a pretty nasty set of negotiations - and possible concessions by the city for god knows what - to "push" out the bars. They've done a pretty good job of not only staying put, but multiplying, despite general distaste for what they are and what they do (directly or indirectly, depending on your position) to the downtown.

Riverside: Riverside Park
Twin Towers: Speedvale and Woolwich (just down the street they stick out)
Park Mall: That ugly building downtown
Glengarry Hall: University of Guelph Campus

I think a significant number of bars (and the buildings they are in) are owned by one person. I forget who it is, but I do know that McCabe's, Bobby O'brien's, Cowboy Bar, and Trappers Alley are owned by the same guy. I think the Diplomate Hotel is also owed by the same individual. It looks like the lower level of the Diplomate is being renovated right now. Not sure what is going in. Anyone know?

Cowboy Bar no longer exists as it is the Guelph Concert Theatre . Trappers Alley and the rest is part of the whole Partytown Group based out of Kitchener.

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I was really saddened when the plaza at Gordon was demolished. The place was important to me because I spent most of my childhood days in this place. I even saw different painters in the plaza including Cincinnati painters.

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About Chris

  • Chris Herhalt
    covers municipal affairs and politics for the Guelph Mercury. Prior to joining the Mercury he worked at The Record of Waterloo Region and at The Canadian Press. He can be reached at [email protected]