Tower development gets green light from Kitchener Council, despite Grand River Rocks concerns

A multi-tower development on Victoria Street between Margaret and St. Leger Streets, has been given the go-ahead by Kitchener City Council.

The development in question has been under fire recently for the impact it would have on one local climbing gym, Grand River Rocks.

After announcing last year that they would be taking over the former LA Fitness location on Victoria, the now approved development means, in a few years, Grand River Rocks will have to move again.

When speaking at a Special Council Meeting Monday night, Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said there have been huge wins in discussions with the developer.

This includes making sure Grand River Rocks can have the remaining years on their lease and getting 32 affordable housing units in the deal.

“As frustrating as it may be, the reality is, that part of the role that we have, does not contemplate, in the legislation, that we consider a financial lease or agreement between two parties.”

Vrbanovic pointed out that if council were to turn down the application and the case were to end up before the Ontario Land Tribunal, those wins could be lost completely.

Council’s decision to move forward with the development was not unanimous; Councillor Stephanie Stretch voted against.

Councillor Bil Ioannidis also said “no” to the application.

‘I’m still not going to support the application, even though I know there have been some good concessions. Realistically I was hoping we could have a win for the community, a little more than what is there.” said Ioannidis.

Gym Co-owner Mike Cieplak said earlier this month, they would need a minimum of ten years to make back the investment they have already made in the new location.

“The way our business is built, the capital investment is entirely all up front, which is in the climbing walls. The climbing walls are built specific to the building. They cannot just be taken apart and moved.”

The gym’s current lease only has four more years on it.

Grand River Rocks reportedly met with the developer Monday to work out the possibility of other concessions.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today