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At what price waterfront development in Sidney?
After spotting a wee ad in the Peninsula News Review about the proposed Seaport Place development, I attended the open house and I could not believe my ears or my eyes.
How could the Town let this developer coerce them into trading Sidney’s most valuable piece, and only piece of water front property available for development, for a narrow strip of green space and property taxes on a few condos. Has this council no vision or even any sense of property value? This developer currently holds the lease on this property and wants to develop it.
The Town wants to see it developed but at what price?
The developer questions the validity of establishing a successful commercial venture on this property; pointing to the abandoned buildings as proof of that. However, this same developer purposefully bought out the subleases of very successful enterprises which were quite popular. When these businesses were in operation the area buzzed with people, winter and summer.
With buildings abandoned and left to deteriorate, the people have gone elsewhere. The developer appears to have created the abandoned eyesores as a tactic to leverage the approvals that he needs to go ahead with his plans. And the Town appears to be overly anxious to let him.
The purposeful lack of maintenance on the buildings of existing subleases operations prompted the Town to insist, at least, that these buildings (which have 10 more years on their lease) get a facelift.
The developer has agreed of course but this agreement is contingent upon the developer getting his condo project approved. I think I know what will happen if he doesn’t.
The Town owns the land but the developer has a lease on it and unless the Town gives the developer what he wants they will remain saddled with derelict buildings on land that will be prevented from realizing its full potential and financial/social benefit to the town. We will, however, have a place to park (or will we?).
Between a rock and a hard place.
I hope the Town doesn’t blink because this development proposal does nothing to nurture tourism and jobs and economic development and is the worst thing that could happen. Worse than nothing at all.