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Friday, December 8, 2023
Residents bring fury to council over Glendale hotel plans
Lynn McDonough is angry that she may have to live behind a hotel. EVAN LOREE

No torches, no pitchforks, but residents came to council mad all the same on Tuesday night.

A proposed hotel and condominium has enflamed the passions of a few Niagara-on-the-Lake residents who live near the site on York Road in Glendale.

Lynn McDonough, who resides on Queenston Road, said she was “absolutely furious” to see the plans.

“They have zero consideration for the residents who live right behind that building,” she said.

And neighbour Monty Slingerland said the proposal was a “monstrosity” and “crazy.”

The proposal from NOTL restaurateur Bob Mavridis consists of a 48-metre tall condo tower, a 36-metre tall hotel, two smaller hotel blocks, each 10.5 metres tall, and a one-storey fast-food restaurant.

With 77 metres between them, the site is “significantly buffered” from the nearest home, said Max Fedchyshak, of NPG Planning Solutions. His firm was hired by Mavridis.

The proposed condos would diversify the housing stock in Glendale, which is mostly made up of low-density, single-family subdivisions, Fedchyshak said.

Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Glendale secondary plan, which the town is currently updating, would zone the area between York and Queenston roads for mixed-use projects like this one, he added.

The plan also envisions a 12-storey building south of the proposed condo and hotel, he said. 

The town has enough hotels, Slingerland said.

“We’d rather have a subdivision in there,” he added.

His wife, Helen Slingerland, indicated that demand may not be high enough for hotel accommodations – she said the existing hotels in the area are “never full” with guests.

The site sits between the Hilton Garden Inn hotel to the east, commercial buildings to the west and houses to the north.

The development has been designed with the neighbours’ sensitivities in mind, said Michael Allen, of ACK Architects.

He told council the hotel on the site would all be facing York Road, away from the houses to the north and toward existing commercial properties in the area.

Allen also said he felt it was “very important to position the condominium north to south” and direct viewpoints to and from the site to the east and west. 

McDonough, however, said the proposed condo would invade her privacy.

“What do you want me to do, keep all my curtains closed? 24 hours a day? I can’t look out my bloody windows because I see 400 eyes staring at me?” she asked.

“I can’t go in my own backyard? Come on.” she said. 

Brenda Green, also “furious,” challenged councillors when she said they too would be “passionate” if someone “stuck 150 to 300 windows in your backyard.”

“You’re gonna chase me out of somewhere I’ve been for 40 years and I’m supposed to like any of you?” she said.

There are a lot of traffic issues in the area caused by an abundance of diesel trucks using the road, Helen Slingerland added.

“We have tractor-trailers coming out the wazoo,” she said. “It’s so crowded you can’t get around them half the time.”

The addition of the condos and hotels would worsen the situation, she said.

Allen said up to 77 per cent of the site would be kept for landscaping, but Green still worried the loss of grass would worsen existing flooding problems on her property.

As Green grew louder, Coun. Sandra O’Connor, who chaired the meeting, interjected to say the town is aware of shortfalls with stormwater management infrastructure and would work with residents on a solution.

“You better,” Green said in response, “because I’m gonna come at you with everything I can get.”

No decision on the proposed development had been made, O’Connor said.

Green said she did not see a future where council decided in favour of the few residents who live near the area.

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