Developer proposes 119 units on part of former Ridgeway high school land

The former Ridgeway-Crystal Beach High School building could have new neighbours, if a development application brought to Fort Erie council is ultimately approved. In fact, it could be as many as 119 new neighbours.

The proposal brought forward at tonight’s council-in-committee meeting by Upper Canada Consultants’ Ethan Laman and William Heikoop, on behalf of owner Bryce Ivanchuk, would see two separate developments built on the property at 576 Ridge Road North. The applications exclude the high school building itself.

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Proponents for the development billed it as an effective and efficient use of property that will provide a mix of housing options for the area, including homes at lower price points than what many in Niagara have come to expect on new builds.

“It’s a balancing of unit typologies but also the ability to use land efficiently,” Laman told council, in response to a question from Mayor Wayne Redekop regarding the planned use of a condominium style for one of the two developments on the property. “In order to make things sustainable long term for our community, we have to find ways to provide more housing.”

Laman would go on to suggest some of the single detached units could be under the $500,000 mark. “We feel that is hitting a different price bracket,” he said.

The developments would include the creation of 49 lots for single detached homes along Prospect Point Road North, or accessed by a new public street off that road.

A second development would be accessed from Ridge Road North and include a total of 70 units, 45 of which would be single detached homes and the remaining 25 units would be in a townhouse style. A private road network would service it, with two connections to Ridge Road North.

Walkways would connect the two developments, and a third walkway is planned to connect to future developments to the south.

There was opposition to the proposal from nearby residents. Those concerns included traffic, infrastructure, and the impact the developments would have on local schools that are already facing capacity issues.

Ridge Road North resident Bruce Kidd said while the proposals in question on Monday may not be the sole cause of problems, the town needs to be cognizant of the fact there are many developments proposed for the community. “My concern is how this project dovetails with all the other projects going on,” he said.

According to a staff report introducing the application, the lands are within the Ridgeway-Thunday Bay Secondary Plan. The plan envisions 975 new units built in the area and roughly 2,400 new residents over the long term. The secondary plan also calls for at least 40 per cent of all new development in the plan area to be medium density, such as townhomes. No more than 60 per cent of development should be low density, such as single detached homes, the report reads.

A portion of one of the developments could be affected by the results of environmental impact studies that might force an adjustment to the plan.

The western facade of the former high school, which dates back to 1927, is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The building is to be untouched with these developments. Further study and reports would be required in the future to develop the building.

Council didn’t make any decisions at the meeting. Staff will prepare a recommendation report to be brought to a future meeting.

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