St. Catharines wins its second battle against Ontario St. property owner


Published April 12, 2022 at 2:15 pm

This was the land that St. Catharines successfully protected after a Ontario Land Tribunal decision.

St. Catharine beat them once in court. Now they’ve beat them in the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The Tribunal issued a decision late last week that upheld the City of St. Catharines Official Plan with regards to some large parcels of land, including 282 to 285 Ontario Street, in order to continue with the City’s dream of protecting employment lands and accommodating future residential growth.

Back in January, St. Catharines and the numbered company that owns 282-285 Ontario Street faced off in court in a bid to clean up the refuse and debris littering the property. The city not only won the case but the number company, 2390541 Ontario Inc., saw the total fines against them hit upwards of $140,000 (combined with earlier fines.)

This time, it was more a matter of what could be done with the brownfields. In late 2020, St. Catharines OPA No. 26 redesignated 60 hectares of Employment Land to Mixed Use Land, providing for a variety of housing and employment opportunities, including the properties at 282 to 285 Ontario and lands west and south of the Niagara Health St. Catharines site on Fourth Avenue.

The Ontario Land Tribunal upheld the city’s OPA No 26, dismissing the appeal of the numbered company.

St. Catharines Director of Planning and Building Services Tami Kitay said the end result was a positive one.

“The ruling places OPA No. 26 in effect, which means as a City, we can better guide growth in a way that is responsible, protecting neighbourhoods; revitalizing brownfield properties to accommodate population growth; and providing appropriate space for commercial and industrial development that are critical to our community’s economic future,” she noted.

She added, “The amendment changes the City’s development landscape, providing significant new residential and mixed-use development opportunities within the urban area boundary of the municipality.”

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik also believed the Tribunal’s decision was timely.

“The decision couldn’t come soon enough as it unlocks opportunities at the former GM site on Ontario Street and in west St. Catharines for residential and long-term developments,” he noted.

This was the mess that 282-285 Ontario was ordered to clean up by the courts in January.

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