New residential senior housing units proposed

GORE BAY – The Town of Gore Bay is going to try and make things as easy as possible for an Island resident who owns property in town and would like to develop residential senior housing units in the future.

Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne told The Expositor after a town public works committee meeting last week, “if we can make it easier for the developer to carry out his plans, at least in my opinion, that is what we need to do. Any development we can encourage and help with in the town, is a benefit.”  

This comes after Nathan Arthur Hill made a presentation to the committee at last week’s meeting. “My main point for being here tonight is to introduce myself and provide a synopsis of what we are trying to do on the west bluff.”

Mr. Hill had explained in an email August 12 to Mayor Osborne, “as discussed, I would like to take a small amount of time at the public works meeting to present our intentions to the committee regarding our proposed development on Fraser and Dennis Streets on the west bluff. The intent of this presentation is to give some information and field any questions that may arise, with the eventual goal of making sure the Town of Gore Bay has all its interests looked after as we pursue this development. In the coming weeks and months, I would look to develop a document which I will call an “agreement of development” together with the Town of Gore Bay, showing your support in principle with the proposed development. I would then take that to the (Manitoulin) Planning Board in support of our pursuit of this proposal. This agreement of development would detail our proposal, list the concerns/requests that Gore Bay has to do with it, and an itemized plan for how we intend to meet those concerns/requests. I would also be open to any other suggested inclusions in the document.” 

Mr. Hill purchased property on Fraser and Dennis Streets from Blaine Armstrong. “We own lots 17, 18 (note that this lot is in the process of being resold to a private entity), 19, 20, 21, 24 and 25 East Frater (old Laird), as well as lots 16, 20, 21, 25 East and West Dennis Street. We plan to ask for a zoning amendment which will allow for multi-residential buildings on the eight Dennis Street lots and a separate zoning amendment which would allow for duplex residential on the Fraser Street lots. Our intent is to eventually subdivide the eight Dennis Street lots into 16 equal lots and build a four-plex seniors rental building on each one. This would be a maximum total of 16 buildings with four separate units in each, totaling 64 units. Should the four-plex application process be delayed, we may decide to work on some duplex units on Fraser Street while we wait, although we prefer to work on the four-plex units. If all of the available lots on Fraser were rezoned and built as duplex units that would be another six or seven buildings with two units each totaling a maximum of 14 units on Fraser Street. With the intent that we are working with the maximum total units on our property would be 78. Please keep in mind that these will be done one at a time with separate building permits and approvals at every step of the way.”

“We are open to working together with the Town of Gore Bay to make sure services and roads are not overtaxed and that the town benefits from the proposed development,” said Mr. Hill.

Mr. Hill, who resides in Spring Bay, told the committee that his parents are both from Manitoulin Island originally and that he is in the construction business while his wife is a nurse. “We are not a multi-million dollar corporation. We would like to work with the town to get housing developed on the west bluff in town. Right now, we are looking at the zoning aspect,” he said, noting he has been in touch with Theresa Carlisle, secretary-treasurer of the Manitoulin Planning Board. “And I would like to let you know we are very flexible in our plans and will work with the town to move forward.”

“This is a good plan,” said Brian Dittmar, a member of the committee.

“We would definitely like to work with you, and see where this all goes,” said Councillor Kevin Woestenenk. Needed services would have to go with the lots, he said. 

Mr. Hill acknowledged that, “we will need to bring in a substantial amount of fill. I’m hoping to be able to do this work,” he said.

Mayor Osborne told Mr. Hill that the town will provide a copy of the engineer company the town is using to look at the water service for Dennis and Fraser Street looking at water flow rates and what the current system can handle. He also said Mr. Hill is applying for a zoning amendment that would allow for the current rural and development amended to multi-family residential.

Mayor Osborne said that having to survey every property to create lots would mean a significant cost to the developer. He also said there is a difference of opinion from the Manitoulin Planning Board that the lots don’t exist based on the town’s original plot plans and that the lots don’t currently have PIN numbers on them. However, Mr. Armstrong and other lawyers for Mr. Hill feel that they do. 

“They’ve applied for the zoning (from the current rural development to multi-family residential) for multiple unit residential senior housing,” said Mayor Osborne. 

“We have to help the developer any way we can so he can develop the property,” stated Councillor  Woestenenk, chair of the public works committee. 

“At this point our plans are not concrete, we own land with the intention of doing something with it,” Mr. Hill told The Expositor after the meeting. He said what is being proposed at this time is rental unit housing for seniors, but cautioned this could potentially change depending on how the entire process required proceeds.