New building to be built at 45 Thames Road
By Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
At last week’s Council meeting, it was authorized that the Mayor and Clerk sign a Site Plan Agreement between the Town of St. Marys and St. James Service Club 73 with regards to the planned development for 45 Thames Road.
St. James Club’s new building will be built on the west side of Thames Road North, roughly across the street from the entrance to the Grand Trunk Trail. The property, which was formerly used as a rail corridor of the Grand Trunk Railroad Company, is approximately 0.284 hectares in size, with 31.5 metres of frontage along Thames Road North.
The proposed structure is to be roughly 3,800 square feet (355 square metres), designed to host the organization’s club meetings.
Council also reviewed a request from St. James Club 73 President Stephen Hearn, requesting the waiving of clause 11 of the agreement, which required for security to be posted during development.
“Our proposal to relocate was necessitated by a new Government mandate requiring Veterinary Purchasing to build a new class 5 structure. Due to its existing building footprint and development layout, Veterinary Purchasing needed to acquire an abutting property in order to have physical space and access for its new building. Our existing property was the Veterinary Purchasing’s property of choice for its expansion. Rather than have this large employer relocate some or all of their ongoing operation to areas outside of the Town, our membership decided to assist,” Hearn noted in his letter.
Per clause 11, the required security to be posted is $20,000, and this sum would normally be returned to the developer once all conditions of construction had been satisfied. Given the limited funds available within the Club, and given that St. James had agreed to relocate for the betterment of the Town of St. Marys, Hearn proposed that the security requirement be waived.
In reviewing the Formal Report to Council submitted by Grant Brouwer, Director of Building and Development, Councillor Jim Craigmile noted that the Town owes St. James Club a $15,000 credit from a prior matter relating to the 2018 purchase of 45 Thames Road North. Craigmile presented to Council an amendment to satisfy all parties.
Craigmile characterized the development as a “win-win” situation for the Club, Vet Purchasing, and the Town of St. Marys. While the Councillor stated his agreement with the sentiment expressed by Club President Hearn, he believes it is important that the Town continue to maintain the precedent of holding security so to ensure satisfaction of Site Plan Agreement terms.
Craigmile proposed “that clause 11 of the Site Plan Agreement be amended to require $10,000 in securities for performance of contract and damages and to require $5,000 for landscaping as outlined in the Agreement and that the $15,000 credit owed by the Town of St. Marys to St. James Club 73 be retained by the Town until the end of the project as securities.”
The amendment was passed unanimously by Council.
With regards to the new structure to be built, Councillor Fern Pridham asked about the location, and whether it would adversely impact Maple Lane Park seniors’ community. Brouwer noted that there has been a lot of discussion about noise mitigation issues, but there does not appear to be cause for concern. The Club typically only holds one outdoor event per year on premises (the annual steak BBQ, normally held in June but deferred this year until September due to COVID-19).
“There is no requirement for a landscaped strip (between St. James Club 73 and Maple Lane Park) because it is an institutional use versus a residential use, so there is no requirement for trees or a fence between the two, but they are willing to put down a noise mitigation strip if they need to,” said Brouwer.
“I think it looks really quite nice and I like that the parking is to be located on the opposite side (of the homes within Maple Lane Park),” said Pridham.
St. James Club 73 has operated in St. Marys since approximately 1860. Prior to moving to Thames Road in 2000, the Club held meetings on the 3rd floor of the Bank of Montreal building since the 1800’s.
Per President Steve Hearn, St. James Club 73 has just over 100 registered members. For those who are interested in club membership or learning more, Hearn can be reached at 226-880-0862 or email@example.com.