Dundas University Plaza Metro conversion to Canadian Tire building permits under review

News Feb 25, 2019 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

A request from a Dundas neighbourhood for the same city support that downtown Hamilton received when it wanted a grocery store six years ago didn’t get anywhere with the city’s planning committee and staff on Feb. 19.

Committee members and planning staff ignored past efforts, cited by Abby Murray Wark of the University Plaza Area Residents Association during a delegation, and the process to convert an existing University Plaza Metro grocery store to a Canadian Tire with a 10-bay auto service centre moved ahead with applications for two building permits last week.

“We’re asking council to consider the needs of Dundas now as it did for the downtown,” Wark said. “Simply put, we need a grocery store … we feel the city is obliged to be an influencer.”

City planning staff did not confirm by deadline that final site plan approval had been granted — but within the past week the city received two building permit applications for Canadian Tire’s conversion project, which usually occurs only after site plan approval.

Wark pointed out that the city took on an “influencer” role in 2012 by meeting with several grocery store chains and developers about locating a supermarket in the city’s downtown core, and offering financial incentive to do so.

Wark said the city’s own supermarket development initiative states anything under three feet of grocery space per capita constitutes a “food desert” and the downtown was at 2.35 square feet at the time.

She said Dundas is already a food desert under the city’s definition, at 2.92 square feet of grocery store space per capita, and will drop below one square foot with Metro’s closure.

She also said University Plaza is identified in the Hamilton Commercial Strategy Study as a neighbourhood node plaza — a smaller size plaza serving a neighbourhood’s daily and weekly needs. The strategy states food stores should be balanced between neighbourhood nodes like University Plaza and main streets.

The neighbourhood association asked council to work with them to negotiate with current plaza owner RioCan about maintaining a grocery store there. She asked for a commercial needs and impact assessment under the official plan.

The committee didn’t respond to the group’s requests.

City staff are reviewing two building permit applications for the Metro location at 119 Osler Dr. “to demolish existing interior partitions, ceiling and mezzanines (and) receiving area” and “to construct 10 bays automotive repair centre with technician area, construct new office area, office mezzanine, new service manager’s office.”

A June 20, 2012 planning staff report on the supermarket development initiative states: “A lack of basic amenities such as a full-service supermarket can impact quality of life in a community, and can affect population growth required to help revitalize inner city neighbourhoods, in particular, which impacts the City’s ability to meet growth targets established in the new Urban Hamilton Official Plan.”

The 32-page report includes an extensive assessment of the specific need for grocery stores in local communities.

“Access to fresh food can be crucial to both the physical health of community residents and the economic health of the neighbourhood itself,” the report states. “Supermarkets are high volume anchors that generate customers and attract complementary stores and services.”

Councillor Terry Whitehead told Wark the best option is to pressure the plaza owner to maintain a grocery store presence, which happened in his ward. But he suggested it was neighbours, not the city, who should do that.

University Plaza is owned by RioCan — but the company has been selling its smaller market properties — and Canadian Tire has bought several of them.

Canadian Tire did not respond to a request for comment. In January, a Canadian Tire spokesperson said the company anticipates construction will start this spring and the new University Plaza Canadian Tire and auto service centre will open in the fall of 2019, replacing the existing Metro. The grocery store closure will cost at least 90 jobs. Canadian Tire hasn’t said if they will hire additional staff.

Despite the city’s failure to provide the kind of support it did in 2012, Wark said after the meeting the neighbourhood association would move forward.

“We will approach RioCan about the need and huge community support for a grocery retailer in the plaza,” she said.

Wark said an association member has seen the peer review of Canadian Tire’s noise study that was required for site plan approval, and found several deficiencies. The group contacted the planning department about remaining problems with the noise study not addressed in the peer review.

Canadian Tire also won’t say what the company’s plans are for its current store at 50 Cootes Dr. when it closes later this year.

 

Dundas University Plaza Metro conversion to Canadian Tire building permits under review

Planning committee ignores request to play 'influencer' despite past effort

News Feb 25, 2019 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

A request from a Dundas neighbourhood for the same city support that downtown Hamilton received when it wanted a grocery store six years ago didn’t get anywhere with the city’s planning committee and staff on Feb. 19.

Committee members and planning staff ignored past efforts, cited by Abby Murray Wark of the University Plaza Area Residents Association during a delegation, and the process to convert an existing University Plaza Metro grocery store to a Canadian Tire with a 10-bay auto service centre moved ahead with applications for two building permits last week.

“We’re asking council to consider the needs of Dundas now as it did for the downtown,” Wark said. “Simply put, we need a grocery store … we feel the city is obliged to be an influencer.”

City planning staff did not confirm by deadline that final site plan approval had been granted — but within the past week the city received two building permit applications for Canadian Tire’s conversion project, which usually occurs only after site plan approval.

"Access to fresh food can be crucial to both the physical health of community residents and the economic health of the neighbourhood itself." — June 2012 City of Hamilton planning report

Wark pointed out that the city took on an “influencer” role in 2012 by meeting with several grocery store chains and developers about locating a supermarket in the city’s downtown core, and offering financial incentive to do so.

Wark said the city’s own supermarket development initiative states anything under three feet of grocery space per capita constitutes a “food desert” and the downtown was at 2.35 square feet at the time.

She said Dundas is already a food desert under the city’s definition, at 2.92 square feet of grocery store space per capita, and will drop below one square foot with Metro’s closure.

She also said University Plaza is identified in the Hamilton Commercial Strategy Study as a neighbourhood node plaza — a smaller size plaza serving a neighbourhood’s daily and weekly needs. The strategy states food stores should be balanced between neighbourhood nodes like University Plaza and main streets.

The neighbourhood association asked council to work with them to negotiate with current plaza owner RioCan about maintaining a grocery store there. She asked for a commercial needs and impact assessment under the official plan.

The committee didn’t respond to the group’s requests.

City staff are reviewing two building permit applications for the Metro location at 119 Osler Dr. “to demolish existing interior partitions, ceiling and mezzanines (and) receiving area” and “to construct 10 bays automotive repair centre with technician area, construct new office area, office mezzanine, new service manager’s office.”

A June 20, 2012 planning staff report on the supermarket development initiative states: “A lack of basic amenities such as a full-service supermarket can impact quality of life in a community, and can affect population growth required to help revitalize inner city neighbourhoods, in particular, which impacts the City’s ability to meet growth targets established in the new Urban Hamilton Official Plan.”

The 32-page report includes an extensive assessment of the specific need for grocery stores in local communities.

“Access to fresh food can be crucial to both the physical health of community residents and the economic health of the neighbourhood itself,” the report states. “Supermarkets are high volume anchors that generate customers and attract complementary stores and services.”

Councillor Terry Whitehead told Wark the best option is to pressure the plaza owner to maintain a grocery store presence, which happened in his ward. But he suggested it was neighbours, not the city, who should do that.

University Plaza is owned by RioCan — but the company has been selling its smaller market properties — and Canadian Tire has bought several of them.

Canadian Tire did not respond to a request for comment. In January, a Canadian Tire spokesperson said the company anticipates construction will start this spring and the new University Plaza Canadian Tire and auto service centre will open in the fall of 2019, replacing the existing Metro. The grocery store closure will cost at least 90 jobs. Canadian Tire hasn’t said if they will hire additional staff.

Despite the city’s failure to provide the kind of support it did in 2012, Wark said after the meeting the neighbourhood association would move forward.

“We will approach RioCan about the need and huge community support for a grocery retailer in the plaza,” she said.

Wark said an association member has seen the peer review of Canadian Tire’s noise study that was required for site plan approval, and found several deficiencies. The group contacted the planning department about remaining problems with the noise study not addressed in the peer review.

Canadian Tire also won’t say what the company’s plans are for its current store at 50 Cootes Dr. when it closes later this year.

 

Dundas University Plaza Metro conversion to Canadian Tire building permits under review

Planning committee ignores request to play 'influencer' despite past effort

News Feb 25, 2019 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

A request from a Dundas neighbourhood for the same city support that downtown Hamilton received when it wanted a grocery store six years ago didn’t get anywhere with the city’s planning committee and staff on Feb. 19.

Committee members and planning staff ignored past efforts, cited by Abby Murray Wark of the University Plaza Area Residents Association during a delegation, and the process to convert an existing University Plaza Metro grocery store to a Canadian Tire with a 10-bay auto service centre moved ahead with applications for two building permits last week.

“We’re asking council to consider the needs of Dundas now as it did for the downtown,” Wark said. “Simply put, we need a grocery store … we feel the city is obliged to be an influencer.”

City planning staff did not confirm by deadline that final site plan approval had been granted — but within the past week the city received two building permit applications for Canadian Tire’s conversion project, which usually occurs only after site plan approval.

"Access to fresh food can be crucial to both the physical health of community residents and the economic health of the neighbourhood itself." — June 2012 City of Hamilton planning report

Wark pointed out that the city took on an “influencer” role in 2012 by meeting with several grocery store chains and developers about locating a supermarket in the city’s downtown core, and offering financial incentive to do so.

Wark said the city’s own supermarket development initiative states anything under three feet of grocery space per capita constitutes a “food desert” and the downtown was at 2.35 square feet at the time.

She said Dundas is already a food desert under the city’s definition, at 2.92 square feet of grocery store space per capita, and will drop below one square foot with Metro’s closure.

She also said University Plaza is identified in the Hamilton Commercial Strategy Study as a neighbourhood node plaza — a smaller size plaza serving a neighbourhood’s daily and weekly needs. The strategy states food stores should be balanced between neighbourhood nodes like University Plaza and main streets.

The neighbourhood association asked council to work with them to negotiate with current plaza owner RioCan about maintaining a grocery store there. She asked for a commercial needs and impact assessment under the official plan.

The committee didn’t respond to the group’s requests.

City staff are reviewing two building permit applications for the Metro location at 119 Osler Dr. “to demolish existing interior partitions, ceiling and mezzanines (and) receiving area” and “to construct 10 bays automotive repair centre with technician area, construct new office area, office mezzanine, new service manager’s office.”

A June 20, 2012 planning staff report on the supermarket development initiative states: “A lack of basic amenities such as a full-service supermarket can impact quality of life in a community, and can affect population growth required to help revitalize inner city neighbourhoods, in particular, which impacts the City’s ability to meet growth targets established in the new Urban Hamilton Official Plan.”

The 32-page report includes an extensive assessment of the specific need for grocery stores in local communities.

“Access to fresh food can be crucial to both the physical health of community residents and the economic health of the neighbourhood itself,” the report states. “Supermarkets are high volume anchors that generate customers and attract complementary stores and services.”

Councillor Terry Whitehead told Wark the best option is to pressure the plaza owner to maintain a grocery store presence, which happened in his ward. But he suggested it was neighbours, not the city, who should do that.

University Plaza is owned by RioCan — but the company has been selling its smaller market properties — and Canadian Tire has bought several of them.

Canadian Tire did not respond to a request for comment. In January, a Canadian Tire spokesperson said the company anticipates construction will start this spring and the new University Plaza Canadian Tire and auto service centre will open in the fall of 2019, replacing the existing Metro. The grocery store closure will cost at least 90 jobs. Canadian Tire hasn’t said if they will hire additional staff.

Despite the city’s failure to provide the kind of support it did in 2012, Wark said after the meeting the neighbourhood association would move forward.

“We will approach RioCan about the need and huge community support for a grocery retailer in the plaza,” she said.

Wark said an association member has seen the peer review of Canadian Tire’s noise study that was required for site plan approval, and found several deficiencies. The group contacted the planning department about remaining problems with the noise study not addressed in the peer review.

Canadian Tire also won’t say what the company’s plans are for its current store at 50 Cootes Dr. when it closes later this year.