A happy resident’s comments.
Thanks to everyone who came to City Hall last night. Thanks as well to everyone who was there with us in spirit!
There were three items on the agenda last night, of which 55 Delhi was the second. The first item took almost four hours. During this time, S and I were approached by the folks at Vesterra, who asked if we’d like to meet with them in the foyer. We agreed, and for about two hours we spoke at length with RE and his planner, architect and City staff member.
It seems that when Mr. E acquired the property, he believed that the longstanding agreement between the City allowing Child and Family Services to use the small, 18-car parking lot at the rear would be renewed. But staff, who would soon retire from the City, declined to extend that agreement. Vesterra offered to purchase the lot, but this was refused as well. Hence Vesterra was put in the position of requesting what it really didn’t want: a parking lot in the front yard, which would diminish the value of the rental units and which has garnered so much opposition from the neighbourhood. Mr. E would prefer parking in the back, just as we would. The problem was not Vesterra but, it seemed, some unfortunate preliminary decisions by City staff.
It became obvious that everyone the presentations we’d prepared would be something of a charade, with Vesterra arguing for something that was not its preferred option, and the rest of us arguing that this was not our preferred option either. I indicated that if the City had permitted Vesterra to use or acquire the parking lot, we would not be there except (if at all) in a supportive capacity. After all, the acquisition of parking spaces to the rear of 55 Delhi Street was one of our own recommended alternatives.
Mr. E had prepared an email in which he laid out the details of his history with 55 Delhi and the City, indicating that he was quite prepared to pay fair market value for the 18-car parking lot to the rear of 55 Delhi Street if Council would approve such a sale. Mr. E indicated he would also like to buy the rest of the Recreation Centre property at 65 Delhi. It was almost midnight by the time Council moved to the second item on the agenda, so we agreed (both in the interests of time and to present a united front) to stand by Mr. E and declare that the contents of his email, which he read aloud in Chambers, represented our views and preferences as well. Council subsequently approved (unanimously) a motion to consider to amended application and a motion from Ian Findlay to direct City staff to facilitate procedures for the proposed sale of the small parking lot from 65 Delhi back to 55 Delhi, from which it was severed in the past — hence a restoration of sorts. The Mayor herself noted that the potential severance of the 18-car lot from 65 Delhi would not compromise the ongoing call for expressions of interest on that property. Mr. E confirmed that he plans to submit an expression of interest on that property by the deadline at the end of this month. I expressed the view that Mr. E would receive neighbourhood support for the purchase of 65 Delhi Street, whether in two steps (the small lot first, then the rest) or as a whole.
I would say that what happened last night presents a win-win-win prospect for us. No decisions have yet been made. However, if the City should decide to sell the small parking lot at 65 Delhi Street to Mr. E, there will be no need for a variance permitting a parking lot in the front yard of the Residential property at 55 Delhi Street. Trees will not have to be cut down, either. Mr. E can then start to work on restoring 55 Delhi Street while at the same time pursuing the acquisition of 65 Delhi with our goodwill and support.
Thanks to everyone for all their patience and best wishes! CH from the Mercury told me there will be a report on what transpired at Council regarding 55 and 65 Delhi Street tomorrow. Today’s edition will include an account of the first agenda item only, given the large number of delegations and the amount of time devoted to it at Council. I hope, for the present, that I have reported what transpired accurately. JC