A local developer has allayed fears some Burlingtonians have about a third high-rise building going up at the northeast corner of Brant St. and Lakeshore Road. At least temporarily.
Vince Molinaro, President of The Molinaro Group which has been busy with other projects around the city like the Paradigm development at the Fairview Street GO station, said it will be anywhere from seven to 10 years before there are any changes to that corner.
High-rise condos already have been approved for the corner of Brant and Elizabeth Streets, across from City Hall, and the corner of Lakeshore Road and Martha Street.
The Molinaro Group owns the stone building which currently is occupied by La Pita Halal Shawarma & Grill, but still is in the process of assembling more land in the block, which extends east to John Street and north to Pine.
The City recently asked Pepper Parr, editor of The Burlington Gazette website, to alter a column in which he said City officials posted a rendering of a high-rise residential development without the permission of The Molinaro Group.
The letter from the City accused Parr of calling staff members liars and making things up about developments. Parr, on the other hand, said he talked directly to two of the principals who said they were unaware of the rendering and did not give anyone permission to have it done.
Kwab Ako-Adjei, senior manager, government relations & strategic communications for the City, said that in his column Parr seemed to be saying the owners of the property didn’t know anything about the renderings.
“The Molinaros were fully aware of the renderings,” Ako-Adjei said.
He said Parr was not asked to take down the entire column from The Gazette website, rather to remove the reference to staff breaching the professional code of conduct.
City manager James Ridge also asked The Hamilton Spectator to make changes to a column written by Joan Little, who quoted from a letter the Engaged Citizens of Burlington (ECOB) sent to the City claiming staff is not following the Professional Code of Practice of the Ontario Planners Institute.
Ridge countered that staff have met or exceeded all requirements of their professional codes of practice, and have far exceeded the requirements of the planning act and other legislation in terms of consultation and provision of information.
Little, who herself served on city council for many years and is used to taking the heat, said editors were able to remove the reference to breach before the printed edition of The Spectator hit the streets.
Still, she said she believes City staff have become very antsy about local press coverage.
“I think they’re just so super-sensitive,” she said. “We’re not their P.R. people.”
Parr’s Burlington Gazette has been a frequent thorn in the side of city council and staff in a community not accustomed to the kind of tough journalism provided by Parr. Parr has been in the news business since high school, interned at the Globe and Mail, worked for various newspapers in the Barrie area, and as a publisher, produced some 14 books. He freely admits his style gets under people’s skin.
As for the property in question, the Burlington Historical Society reports that a branch of the Traders Bank of Canada opened on that site in August of 1900. It was the first branch of a chartered bank to be established in the village.
The Traders Bank ceased to exist in 1912 as a result of its merger with the Royal Bank. It remained a Royal Bank branch for a century.
Dedicated in 1912, the King Edward VII Memorial Fountain used to be located in front of the bank, but it was later moved to property adjacent to City Hall.
A few steps to the east on what was then Water Street (now Lakeshore Road), the Hume Theatre opened in 1930. The movie theatre, which later became the Roxy then the Odeon, was the only place flics were shown in the village. Children could see an afternoon matinee that included a cartoon, a newsreel and the feature for just 12 cents.
Next door to the theatre was the Victoria Lunch restaurant, where world-class performers like Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong and Guy Lombardo used to go for after-midnight snacks after stints at the old Brant Inn.
R.C.’s Boardwalk, an ice cream shop full of memorabilia and old photos of Burlington, is now on the former site of Victoria Lunch.