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Deal breaker: high-rise tower not predicted

By Mike Cloutier
After having heard most of the testimony at the OMB hearing and read most of the witness statements, all of the Town documents and all the commentary there are two points that stick out.

One is the question of where does the “dynamic beach” end.

Clearly, if there were no shore protection structures already in place, the beach — which includes the dune system — would stretch all the way to Erie Road.

Is the area behind the shorewall part of the living dune system? If not will the development proposal affect the cycle of erosion and deposit that is part of the natural ecosystem?

Two sets of experts have different views on it, and both provide interesting perspectives.

The second point — and the one that might turn out to be the deal breaker — is that the 12-storey condominium project is a departure from what people could reasonably expect from the community consultation that took place since 1995.

On one hand, there is a three-storey limit imposed by the Crystal Beach Neighbourhood Plan for development in the rest of the community.

On the other, the Town says it’s only a guide, and it wiggles on the description for the Bay Beach property as being a potential site for a “multi-storey” commercial building.

Everybody could be excused for not knowing that a residential condominium complex is an approved use for commercially-zoned land. They can also be excused for not thinking that “multi-storey” might mean the limit that the soil can bear, in this case 12-storeys.

Reid Rossi undoubtedly has more insight in the issue, but I think if this partnership with the Molinaro Group fails, it will fail on this point.

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