Riverview community sounds off on controversial 10-storey apartment development
The days could be numbered for the Fundy Chocolate River Station in Riverview.
A development proposal put forward by Cordova Realty would see two 10-storey apartment complexes go up in the area if the project gets approved.
“You want your downtown to be dense,” says Shane Thomson, the town’s director of economic development.
“This does exactly that.”
“It’s a $36-million investment into the town, and so we welcome that sort of investment,” he says.
The project would also feature an indoor parking garage and commercial space in the facility.
It’s not entirely clear what opportunities would be there, as Cordova Realty wouldn’t answer any questions about the plans, other than to say the company is excited about the project and looks forward to talking about details in the future.
An online petition to the project was launched, and has received over 1,100 signatures as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Shelly Rogers, who has lived in the town her entire life, says while she supports the development, she’s opposed to the planned location.
“It’s good for the community — where they want to put it is not,” Rogers said. “I don’t want to change the hometown feeling we have.”
She says she, and many other families, enjoys walking along the Riverfront Trail and relishing the ‘town feel.’
“There are other places it can be built,” she said. “I know the Town of Riverview would like to have it sold… It would be nice to see that a small business would take it over.”
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Meanwhile, Thomson says that feeling won’t be lost in the project, and says he couldn’t imagine the complexes anywhere else in the town.
“I think it will, in fact, enhance the trail,” he says. “The developer wants the trail there for their tenants, and so they want the Buddha Bear [Riverview] cafe, for example, to be there as an amenity. They want public art on the trail.”
But for David Briggs, owner and president of Briggs Maples, he’s not sure what the future holds for him as a tenant currently in the Chocolate River Station.
He says he knew the town was trying to sell the building, but he’s not sure at this point if there would be room for his growing maple business in the planned development.
“I do like this area,” Briggs said. “Although, I don’t know what other opportunities are there for me to stay in this area.”
Other residents, like Duncan White, say the project will help the community thrive.
“I think a proposed development along the waterfront would certainly enhance and enrich the area,” White said. “I think it would encourage younger families to move here for a long-term solution.”
But it’s not officially a done deal yet, as the town’s Planning Advisory Committee has started discussing variances for the project at a public meeting that started at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
After that, Thomson says there are still more hurdles to get the project finalized.
“We need to negotiate a purchase of sale agreement between the town and the developer for the Chocolate River Station land and the parking lot land,” he says. “After that, the developer has a number of things to do in terms of environmental study, geotechnical study, probably a market study to see if there is demand for this type of product in the marketplace.”
If the project gets the ‘green light,’ Thomson says construction could be completed by 2022-23.
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