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Public meeting eyes future of Wood site

By Jessica Lovell
Guelph Tribune

Residents of the Ward are being invited to have their say about plans for the W.C. Wood site.
“We’re very much at the beginning end of the process,” said Larry Kotseff, vice-president of planning and development for Fusion Homes, the local company that has agreed to purchase the former industrial site following its remediation.
Kotseff was speaking of the process of planning the future residential development that will occupy the 5 Arthur St. site.
As part of that process, Fusion Homes will be presenting some preliminary ideas for the development at an open house Monday night from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Italian Canadian Club, and asking for feedback from neighbourhood residents. “We’re trying to just understand the community even better,” said Kotseff.
The open house will be largely geared to the residents of the Ward to give them an opportunity to participate in the discussion surrounding the site and also “just to give some sort of up-to-date information with regards to what’s happening on the site,” he said.
Representatives from Kilmer Brownfield Equity Fund, the company that is working on remediation of the property, will also be at the open house to provide an update of its current activities.
Currently, there doesn’t seem to be much going on there.
Demolition of most of the buildings from the former freezer manufacturer was completed last year. The buildings that remain, visible along the river’s edge, were preserved due to their heritage value.
The “earthworks” process, which includes the removal of contaminated earth from the site, is expected to begin in February and carry on for six to eight months, said Kilmer’s development manager Pamela Kraft.
That work didn’t get started before Christmas, as the company had originally planned, because of some issues on the site, such as some old pipes discovered crossing through the property, she said.
“It took us longer than expected,” she said.
The company will take a couple of years to complete the cleanup of the site and must file a Record of Site Condition before Fusion can take over, she said.
Fusion’s plans are still in the preliminary stages, so people shouldn’t expect to see three-dimensional models of proposed buildings when they come out to the open house, said Kotseff.
They may instead get some two-dimensional views, providing some ideas about “what the site could look like in terms of open space,” he said.
The plans would deal with things like sight lines and pedestrian corridors, rather than building heights, said Kotseff, but he noted also that there is a connection between height and building mass on the site.
Simply put, taller buildings need not take up as large a footprint on the ground, he explained.
But he stressed, “there are many, many options for the site.”
Any three-dimensional pictures presented at the meeting will deal with underground parking as it relates to the limitations of the property, said Kotseff. “It’s a complicated site,” he said.
People planning to attend Monday’s open house are asked to RSVP their attendance, as refreshments will be provided. To RSVP, contact Michelle LaMarche at mlamarhe@fusionhomes.com or 519-826-6700, ext. 259.

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