The redevelopment of Smiths Falls’ landmark Rideau Hotel is continuing, with town councillors expressing their willingness to amend their official plan and zoning bylaw to allow the developers to convert the building to an apartment complex.
At a special meeting of council’s Committee of the Whole on June 19, town staff presented a report recommending the approval of amendments to the official plan and the zoning bylaw, as well approval of an application to alter a designated structure, and the execution of a site plan agreement. All of these steps in the planning process are necessary to accommodate the unique requirements of the project.
The owners of Park View Homes are in the process of redeveloping the former hotel located at 24 Beckwith St. North. The vacant building, which dates back to 1901, is to be converted into 25 apartments.
The staff report, presented by Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Morris, explained that the developers have purchased the hotel site as well as a number of neighbouring properties in order to provide parking space for the future tenants. As a result, the site plan amendment is required to consolidate four separate lots into a single property.
The report also stated that, having been unoccupied for about 20 years, “The Rideau Hotel and adjacent lands represent an underutilized massing of land within the downtown that has long been neglected and left vacant.”
Morris said staff have concluded that the developer’s plans are consistent with the aims of both provincial policy and the town’s own official plan.
As council’s representative to the Downtown Business Association, Councillor Lorraine Allen said, “We’re looking forward to this. We hope it will encourage others to get on board with restoration, and preserve these lovely old buildings.”
“I think it’s a great venture taken on by what I see as a great company,” commented Councillor John Maloney.