Council took the Crescent Apartments off the Heritage Holding Bylaw, passed the revised taxi bylaw with hardly any changes, they gave the Cornwall Parkade another year long tax exemption, and everything else they touched they passed. Blah-di-blah-di-blah. What? You were expecting something different?
Now on to the important news!
The Z’n’Z Convenience Store has opened on Albert Street! Joy!
Oh sure, there are plenty of convenience stores between me and city hall. But Z’n’Z has pizza by the slice. And when they finish their kitchen (their grand opening isn’t for another week or so) they’ll have a full Indian menu. And that’s something that’s been hard for me to get this side of downtown.
Anyway. Did you know there have been times in my life where I’ve pretty much survived on pizza by the slice and nothing else? Except for maybe coffee? It’s true. And this city has been, until now, poorly served by pizza-by-the-slice places. Do you know how hard that’s been for me to bear?
But now Z’n’Z is open and it’s close to home. On my walk to city hall, in fact.
I expect, Z’n’Z ‘n’ me will become very good friends. I tried their tandoori spring rolls and samosas tonight. They weren’t the greatest I’ve ever tasted. But they were cheap at 75 cents a pop. And they filled a hole in my belly. And my life.
And they soothed the post-council grumpies.
Why so grumpy? you ask. There are few reasons…
1. Council didn’t even pretend to put up a fight on the Crescent Apartments. There were no apologetic speeches. No hand wringing. No pledges to never let another heritage-worthy property or rental property fall to the wrecking ball.
This is what happens when the gallery doesn’t fill with media and angry housing advocates. It was a fairly sparse turn out tonight so the report was dealt with quickly and efficiently.
It did come up that fixing the building, according to another engineer report, would cost the owner closer to $213,000. Quite a bit more than the $140,000 reported earlier.
2. Learned that all of Westland Ventures’ properties in the city are being considered for development. So, the Crescent Apartment and the Black Building at 1755 Hamilton could be just the first wave of demolitions.
Richard Jankowski of Granite Developments, who was representing Westland, said that that includes the Crescent Annex, an apartment block just to the north of the Crescent Aparments. Jankowski says that the Annex, like it’s southern neighbour, is also probably close to what they would consider the end of its useable life.
The Crescent Annex is also a gorgeous old building worthy of heritage consideration. If people are thinking about trying to save it, now might be the time to start doing that.
3. Councillor Browne wanted to let rental property owners in the city know that with the housing strategy the city is working on, there may be incentive money to maintain their rental properties. So, if you, as a rental property owner, are thinking about demolition, Councillor Browne thinks you may want to hold off and see what treats the city will have on offer in a year or two.
Of course, some rental property owners may hear this and think, “Housing strategy’s a’comin’. Better demolish now afore them city men says ah can’t.”
4. The changes to the taxi bylaw went through second and third reading. Only change was in the wording. Something about a reference to “licenses” being changed to “license stickers.”
The more substantial change that the cab companies who showed up tonight seemed to want — that the new seasonal cab plates the city plans to give away in a lottery to just about anyone be distributed among the existing taxi firms — went un-discussed.
5. Cornwall Parkade got another year of its tax exemption. City staff say this is to help the owners transition to when they are going to have to pay taxes on their property.
Councillor Bryce was pretty peeved, saying she thinks the exemption should just end. Still, the exemption passed with only her and Councillor Clipsham voting against it.
6. The apartment block on Osler was approved, meaning we’ll get 12 new units of rental downtown. Councillor Browne called this something to celebrate.
Yay! You said yes to building 12 rental units after saying yes to tearing down 12 others! Status quo maintained! I’ll break out the party hats!