Northdale sale comes to a halt

In June, homeowners in the student area north of Wilfrid Laurier University came together hoping to auction off their properties to a developer. While interest was high in purchasing the area, not a single buyer put an offer on the land.

Northdale resident Paul Ellingham, who has been spearheading the sale with his fellow area residents, said the problem lies with the zoning of the properties. “[Developers] feel they could not take the risk of getting the zoning they needed in order to do a project on this site,” he explained.

Currently the area is zoned as SR2, single residence, meaning the area is for low rise residential homes. Developers, according to Ellingham, are more interested in a mixed use area that would allow for building stores and businesses along with residential housing.

Considering this plot of land is between Laurier’s St. Mike’s campus and the Northdale campus, Ellingham stated interest in having the university purchase it. “To have these two full blocks assembled … is a phenomenal opportunity for the university and the city,” he said.

“At this point we feel, we’ve been told that there’s no money at Laurier to purchase this,” Ellingham added, further commenting that he would like to see a partnership between a prospective developer and the university in the long term.

However, any potential plan for site is dependent on its sale. Ellingham and the other 38 residents are pushing to have their land rezoned.

“We’re applying for a rezoning for the area and we’re going to negotiate on the price of the application fee,” said Ellingham, referring to the cost of the application.

Most often, applications for any given area are presented by a single developer and cost approximately $25,000. In this case 39 individual landowners are seeking the application, meaning they could each be required to pay that price.

The residents want to be treated as a single applicant.

At the Aug. 15 city council meeting, Ellingham presented the zoning application along with the request to be charged a single fee for applying.

“They’re going to let us pay the fee that the developer would pay for the $25,000 to apply,” he said.

However on the application as a whole, Ellingham added, “[Council] said it was not the proper way to present it to them, so they rejected it.”

Ellingham and the Northdale residents will be continuing to push forward their application. In the event that the application is fully rejected, Ellingham said they would be taking their case to the Ontario Municipal Board for re-evaluation.

For updates on the “Northdale for Sale” issue, keep visiting and read our next print edition on stands September 4.