Mayor Ruttan’s reply to request to consult architect D’Ambrosio on Port Place plans

I want to acknowledge receipt of your email and request to retain Frank D’Ambrosio for a third-party review of the Port Place Mall redevelopment plan.

As you may or may not know, the redevelopment plan includes the following applications:

1.Rezoning to permit a high-rise residential tower (application received: 2009-Jun-02).

2.Development Permit to authorize the construction of a freestanding Commercial Rental Unit on 9 Nicol Street (application received: 2009-Jun-02).

3.Development Permit for the overall mall redevelopment plan (application received: 2009-Jun-02).

This is an extremely complex redevelopment plan, especially given the owner’s attempt to accommodate existing anchor tenants (i.e. Thrifty Foods, London Drugs) and the practicality of retaining significant on-site infrastructure, such as the above-ground parkade. The owner has made a concerted effort to balance the needs of the tenants and existing infrastructure against the City and provincial policies and regulations in the creation of the redevelopment plans.

Many trade-offs have been made by the owner to address elements of the City’s downtown Urban Design Plan and View Corridors policies, and to deal with provincial access requirements. In particular, the interconnection of Terminal Avenue and Front Street with a new access road has formed a fundamental starting point for the redevelopment plan and goes a long way to addressing the “de-malling” of the site.

The review of these applications has been underway for a considerable amount of time, with one application currently approved and all been considered by the City’s Design Panel on several occasions. I have been advised that both Staff and the Design Panel are recommending that Council approve the developments as proposed. It is my understanding that the overall development permit application and rezoning application will be ready for Council’s consideration in the near future. The rezoning application, in particular, will allow for input from the public, as part of the Public Hearing process. The construction of the Commercial Rental Unit on 9 Nicol Street can proceed to construction as soon as the owner would like to start.

We are extremely appreciative of the owner’s vision for the mall and their commitment to the City’s downtown redevelopment. I am confident that both Staff and Council’s Committee system have provided the necessary evaluation and adequate review process for this project.

I am not supportive of a third-party review at this time. The application has been through a full and proper technical review and it is time for Council to consider the merits of approving the application as presented. Thank you for your interest in this project and I would encourage you to keep involved as Council considers the owner’s request for rezoning and development permit approvals.

John Ruttan
M A Y O R
ECS/hp
Prospero: DP613/DP614
ec: Council Members
Al Kenning, City Manager
Douglas Holmes, Assistant City Manager and General Manager, Corporate Services
Andy Laidlaw, General Manager, Community Services
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