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The Solid Gold strip club in Aldershot has reopened for business but it’s future remains in doubt.

The club, which has been closed since the start of the pandemic, is now open Thursday to Sunday evenings.

Coincidental with the reopening, a step was taken this week toward the eventual redevelopment of the Solid Gold property and presumably the end of the decades’ old adult entertainment centre.

The Ontario Land Tribunal held a case conference Friday to discuss the owner’s May 2021 appeal of the City’s failure to make a decision on its 2018 application to redevelop the site.

The Vrancor Group is proposing demolition of the existing building at the corner of Plains Road East and Cooke Boulevard, followed by construction of two mixed-use, mid-rise buildings of 10 and 12 storeys, retail and commercial uses at street level and 450 residential units above. Driveway entrances would be off Clearview Avenue and Cooke Boulevard.

Proposed Vrancor Development on Solid Gold site

The case conference, which is preliminary to the actual appeals hearing, revealed that there have been no negotiations between the City and the developer to try and settle their differences on the file. The Tribunal Officer ruled that another case conference will be held on February 15, 2022 in order to give both sides time to talk through their differences, perhaps settle some, consider mediation for others, and come up with a final issues list for the eventual hearing.

Issues which may be debated at the hearing could include Vrancor’s proposed reductions in property setbacks, landscape buffers, parking requirements and amenity space, all in addition to the height of up to 12 storeys.

The City’s current official plan, upon which the hearing will be based, permits only six storeys. The new official plan which would allow 11 storeys, is not in force because of separate appeals.

Vrancor’s redevelopment plan got tangled up in delays associated with the Region’s need to convert employment designations on part of the property, the City’s Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) planning process and Burlington’s proposed new Official Plan.

Vrancor held a meeting with neighbours in March of 2018. More than a hundred people attended with a variety of concerns including; parking and traffic, the lack of an identified grocery store, worry about contamination on the site and the height of the buildings.

In June 2018 the City hosted a Statutory Public Meeting about the proposal. It was pointed out by City staff that the draft Area Specific guidelines for the area, once approved, would also support heights up to 11 storeys. Three years later, however, these guidelines are still in development.

Even if Vrancor wins the eventual hearing, the option remains to tweak the building design and the phasing of the project.

By Rick Craven

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