East-end development turfed by city council, again

East-end development turfed by city council, again
Cornwall City Hall

CORNWALL, Ontario – The political football that is an east-end development on Montreal Road has been punted again – with city councillors voting again to boot a tax-savings plan for the project right off the field.

Two weeks ago councillors couldn’t come to a consensus on the project, where proponents were seeking a $1.8-million Heart of the City tax-savings plan for the Montreal Road development on the former Courtauld’s property.

But a motion to reconsider that decision, put forward by councillors David Murphy and Bernadette Clement, was raised again Monday night.

It was turned down again, by a razor-thin 6-5 vote.

“This is on the former Courtauld’s lands,” said Clement. “We know that we should be talking about places that need revitalization and this is an ideal location that needs revitalization.

“The last discussion we had left us with a tie. Which means the matter was not finally disposed of. It wasn’t finally finished and Robert’s Rules allows us to renew such a motion.”

Councillors who supported the development were frustrated that the project seemed to have the support of their colleagues, who a month ago approved the development at the committee level.

But when council voted on it two weeks ago, opponents were worried in part over concerns that the project would create a precedent for approving similar initiatives outside of the Le Village area, where Heart of the City grants are mandated to take place.

There was also a concern that the city would be losing out on tens of thousands a year in revenue over the next 10 years by allowing the tax plan to proceed. But proponents of the project point out that city would be in store for more lucrative tax payments after that – more than the $2,000 in annual taxes it gets right now.

Council couldn’t come to a consensus, tying at five votes on either side for approving the tax-savings plan. Coun. Denis Thibault was absent from that meeting, but voted against it Monday night.

“I am a full supporter of the Courtauld’s land,” he said, but added city “expenses over the next 10 years will go up by at least the cost of living, and where are you going to get the dollars to offset…the taxes we should be getting if we don’t have those particular programs?”

Gary Jans, who along with partner Ray Brunet and landowner Jack Haines want to build a multi-unit complex at 1154 Montreal Road which will also include a strong commercial component.

Councillors who voted for the tax plan also included Maurice Dupelle, Andre Rivette and Gerry Samson, while the balance of council were against it.

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