Condo controversy

Brad Works
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Proposed project to be debated at public meeting tonight

AMHERST - Mayor Jerry Hallee wants to breath new life into his towns core; a group of residents in the East Victoria / South Adelaide street area wants compromise.

Tonight the two sides are likely to square off at the second and final public meeting into a controversial proposal for a new condominium project to be located in the neighbourhood on the east side of town.

A lot of people want to come back to Amherst to retire, Hallee said Monday. This is probably where they are going to go.

We have a real opportunity here.

Bob Janes, one of the projects potential neighbours, said he doesnt disagree with the mayor, just the concept being proposed.

This is a major building, argued Janes. Its going to look like a sore thumb in this neighbourhood. All we are saying is lets use some common sense and cut down on the size of the thing.

The compromise would be to put a smaller building in - it would be a win-win situation.

With recent history not on their side - Amherst town council, at its last meeting, approved first reading of the development - Janes and his supporters have not given up, noting that council passed the proposal by the slimmest of margins and they only need to sway one councillor before the final vote next Monday.

For his part, the mayor said opposition to any type of development is not uncommon and he expects to see the same faces tonight as council did at the first public meeting nearly two months ago. But, he added, he is hoping to see people representing both sides at tonights session.

Our objective is to revitalize the downtown and I would like to see some people in favour of this project show up tonight so we can get a different viewpoint, Hallee said. The difference between this meeting and the previous one is that the developer heard the concerns and has taken action to address them...just not reducing the size of the building.

In a Letter to the Editor in todays Amherst Daily News (see Page 6), Les Carrie, president of Excel Real Estate, the company behind the project at 155 Victoria St., said the proposal is an upscale, 32-unit building that uses only 32 per cent of the property and that has incorporated elements of Victorian architecture to fit in with neighbouring properties.

Organizations: Amherst town council, Amherst Daily News

Geographic location: AMHERST, Victoria

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