The news that CN Rail is appealing the Jamesville housing redevelopment to the Ontario Land Tribunal caught many off guard yesterday. But in an interview today, one of the projects development partners told Bay Observer they have already addressed concerns raised by CN it its letter of appeal.
“The appeal (by CN) is hugely problematic for the progression of the project,” says Dan Gabriele of Marz Homes.
CN’s appeal listed concerns over odour, dust, vibration and noise emanating from the rail line which could lead to conflict between rail uses and people living nearby.
Gabriele says the development consortium have already done required studies and proposed mitigation and have been “back and forth” with CN.
In a statement today Gabriele said,
“We are not in agreement with CN’s position and believe their appeal is without merit while being inconsistent with other recent developments and not in context with the current existing residential use. It is our position that the consultants’ studies and reports have adequately addressed the required guidelines and that the proposed development is appropriate for the lands. We will be responding to their appeal accordingly. We continue to look forward to the completion of this much needed housing.”
Marz Homes and consortium partners Fram Building Group, Homes by DeSantis, and Melrose Investments Inc. had already begun demolition of the 91 housing units at the Jamesville site in North End Hamilton. Though the property is still owned by City Housing Hamilton the partners planned to have demolition work finished last fall. The CN appeal put a stop to work on the site.
Now the graffiti covered, boarded up buildings have become the sort of landmark that no one wants to look at. However continued demolition work to “clean up the site” is problematic.
“It can’t be done without disturbing contaminated soil,” Gabriele says.
In fact 110,000 tonnes of contaminated soil must be removed from the site in the environmental remediation of the property.
Gabriele says the partners remain committed to the project and are working together to see it through.
The redevelopment of Jamesville with 447 units in all would see an increase in deeply affordable housing as well as geared-to-income units.
Yesterday Mayor Andrea Horvath vowed to continue talks with CN in order to prevent the dispute from going to the OLT, a move that could delay progress for a year or longer.
Correction to yesterday’s story. The development consortium have not been given any grants or funds from the city to carry out demolition work