Downtown Revitalization Held Up By Condos

New condominiums under construction in downtown Chatham seen on February 3, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Construction of Chatham’s downtown condo has taken up public space on King St. and Simcoe Lane, but that space is expected to clear by late December.

During Monday night’s council meeting, Councillor Doug Sulman brought up concerns regarding the condo project – specifically the blocked lane on King St. and blocked sidewalks on King and Simcoe.

“The real problem is the public owns Simcoe St., King St., and the sidewalk and they’re not allowed to use it right now,” says Sulman. “The bigger problem of course is we need to re-do King St.”

Council has already approved the revitalization project for downtown Chatham, but Sulman says they can’t do anything until construction from the condo project clears.

The condo project started back in 2011, and Sulman says he would like to see things proceed in a more timely manner.

However, the construction blocking Chatham’s streets is not the developers fault, says Sulman.

Victor Boutin obtained permits in 2013, which allows the closures on King St. and Simcoe Lane at a total cost of $100 (plus a $1,000 security deposit for each permit).

During council, Boutin announced that the streets should be clear in a few months.

“If Mr. Boutin hold true to his word, by the end of December he should be off the street and off the sidewalk,” says Sulman. “If that isn’t the case, I’ll be bringing it back to council.”

Sulman adds, although he would like to see things move quicker, it’s still an important project for the municipality.

“It’s a very positive thing to get that condo project in the downtown and get it completed,” says Sulman. “But we also have to get the sidewalks and streets back for the public as soon as we can.”