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Public offers input on condos

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Local residents showed interest in the possibility of a new condominium in Fort Frances last night as 40-50 people showed up at the Civic Centre for a public information session.

Economic development officer Geoff Gillon conducted the session, explaining the impetus for it and what residents can do to show their interest in a potential development here.

“You may recall last summer [the town] did an RFP [request for proposals] to look for developers who would construct a new condominium project in Fort Frances, and we got a couple of responses, but basically, the developers said, ‘It’s a great little community, but it’s too small to justify a market,’” noted Gillon.

“They need to know there are people who are interested in buying into a condominium project,” he explained.

“Things being as they are in Canada, they’re busy elsewhere,” Gillon added. “They can build condominiums in Calgary or Ottawa or Toronto and have the thing pre-sold before it’s built. That’s the way it’s been for 10 years, and unless things have changed in the last couple of weeks due to markets, etc., etc., it won’t change soon.

“So council has asked us to find out if there are people who are interested in a condominium.”

In order to gauge local residents’ interest in buying condo units if a second one was to be built here, Gillon has put together a survey, which was given out to those on hand last night.

“If you’re interested, we’d like to know hat level you’d be interested in, and what amenities you’d like to have,” he noted.

The surveys asks for information like buyers’ age, what size of condominium they’re looking for, how many people would be living there, what amenities they’d like to have (air conditioning, etc.), and what they would expect to pay.

“All of these things would gauge what type of facility we would ask a developer to look at,” said Gillon.

He also encouraged people to spread the word.

“This is basically the start of a process . . . if you know of friends and family—I’ve got phone calls from people in Calgary and Winnipeg from people who are expats—we are looking for people who are interested in condominiums,” he remarked.

Those who want a survey, can pick them at the Rainy River Future Development Corp. (608 Scott St.), have one sent to you by calling 274-3276, or in the near future, get them on-line at wwww.rrfdc.on.ca

The results will be kept confidential.

In response to questions from the audience, Gillon said a new condo probably would feature 30 units, like Riverwalk Condominiums does, although this ultimately would be up to the developers and buyers’ demands, as would other details, like unit sizes and the numbers of bedrooms.

Likewise, it possibly would be built on land currently owned by the town on the waterfront, although the exact location would be up to the developer if building elsewhere would be more cost-effective.

Gillon stressed there’s no actual plans for a development at this point, adding last night’s meeting was strictly to gauge interest.

Other than as a facilitator, Gillon stressed the town will not be involved in any condo development such as it was with Riverwalk Condominiums.

“As far as I know, the town has got a piece of land that’s available for sale for a condominium. They’re not interested in doing anything like stick-handling the condominium at all. It would be full private-sector.

“The town may or may not sell the land; that’s entirely up to council as to how they would do that. But they’re not going to become involved,” said Gillon.

One woman in attendance said she had put a deposit on a unit in the first condominium, backed out, and regretted her decision now that she is looking to “downsize.” She added she’s “very much in favour” of a new condominium, and if anyone would like to start a new condo committee, she’d like to be involved.

“I’m very much supportive. If the town was willing to sell that property to a developer, I would sure step up,” she said.

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