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Developer looks at upscale condos for Picton harbour

Joseph Fras

Joseph Fras

A Calgary company is visioning an upscale 122-unit condominium project on 6.5 acres at Picton harbour.

Joseph Fras, president of Vericon Real Estate Ventures, out of Calgary, shared his plans with members of the Picton Rotary Club on Tuesday.

“I have been visiting the County for the past six or seven years and saw there weren’t many multi-family developments for the 55-70 age demographic,” he said. “Not everyone wants to live in an older home. Some want to have a maintenance free lifestyle.”

Fras said that reaching an agreement for the 6.5 acre Lester family property on the south side of the Picton harbour, brings opportunity for development of 110 upscale apartment condominiums (850 to 1,500 square foot) and 12 townhouses (1,600 to 2,000 square foot).

Price ranges are forecast at $450 per square foot for the condos and $650 to $850 per square foot for the townhouses.

Pre-selling is key, said Fras.

“We don’t want to have a nine-year project where we build phase one, then two and phase three,” he said, noting the company has embarked on pre-sale marketing with an aim to sell 70 per cent before construction. Fras noted the company wants to gauge interest before moving into the official planning process. He estimates that if approved, it would take about 28 months to build after site servicing.

The development plans have not yet been brought to the municipality.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Paul Cole says:

    Just another example of why this County is running a deficit and you all moan and whine about water rates and taxes..Picton Terminals will be another victim of the County Nimby Patrol. However the Non Conforming clause may throw a wrench into your Nimby plans a Non Conformity clause is basically a grandfather clause…

  2. Fred Flinstone says:

    Hey Barnie, what you think here! We have a Council wanting special event fees for a private party on private land, want yard sale fees, want a 25 year business to change it’s sign, but support a dangerous terminal in a God given harbour. And we await the OMB to provide us voter equity. Can’t come soon enough!

  3. Chuck says:

    What great news! Time to take this County back. Something has been very fishy with this Terminal support and few reasons provided to the public. Something smells on this file.

  4. MICHAEL says:

    Many of you will have seen the recent news articles in both the Wellington Times and Picton Gazette this week discussing water quality and Doornekamp’s plan to ship garbage through the County and across Lake Ontario!

    We need to keep this in the public eye and I would urge each and every one to write letters to the Editors commenting on these stories. Please also read Gary Whitfield’s’ excellent piece in the Times about the recent report of the International Joint Commission on the Great Lakes, stating that the Bay of Quinte (including Picton Bay) “continues to be an environmentally degraded site within the Great Lakes basin”.

    We are incorporating “Save Picton Bay”as a non-profit corporation and have retained well known environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie, who won the Ostrander Wind Turbine fight against the MOE, to advise us and represent us before Council on the rezoning issue.

    There will be much more to say about this in the near future, but we wanted to ensure that this very serious threat to our waters of Picton Bay is kept front and center in the social and political arena.

    Our facebook group “ Prince Edward County Picton Bay” continues to be a source point for information. We are looking for more people to get involved so if that is you send me your email address.

  5. Emily says:

    Ballast water discharges from tankers can cause extreme marine damage. Welcome to Picton Harbour.

  6. Fred says:

    The terminal requires an approved rezoning to operate as a Port. If approved we get the pleasure of tons upon tons of waste brought into the harbour. And very few local jobs provided by an outside entrepreneur. Council rave about the County being a tourists gem. Speak to harbour development. Does this seem like a good fit? Does it safeguard our water resource?

  7. Paul says:

    It is in fact being used as a port..
    ◦PT purchased the property with the understanding of proper zoning. When we were informed of incorrect zoning, we immediately started the process to reinstate the use.
    ◦Due to pre-2006 zoning (MX-1 & M2 allowances), PT can operate under MX-1 & M2 as per the following from PEC zoning bylaws.
    ◾The provisions of this By-law shall not prevent the use of any land, building or structure for any purpose prohibited by this By-law, if such land, building or structure was lawfully used for such purpose on the day of the passing of this By-law, so long as it continues to be used for that purpose.
    ◾The current use on the site is unchanged from its historic use as an international import/export shipping port service facility. A brief timeline of the on-site operations is as follows:
    ◾1955: original iron ore shipping port built and operations begin
    ◾1978 last iron ore shipment loaded at the port
    ◾Mid 1980’s a load of sand stone was loaded and shipped to Europe
    ◾1993 to present salt has been shipped into port and trucked to local users at an approximate rate of 80,000 – 120,000 metric tonnes per year.

  8. Dennis Fox says:

    I did check out the date for the rezoning. The most recent and up to date info, is that the re-zoning for the terminal will take place early in the new year and NOT in December. I would suggest that we all keep an eye on the local papers to keep educated on this.

  9. Dennis Fox says:

    I have been told today by a harbour resident who is involved in this issue that he received information that this rezoning for the terminal will take place on Dec. 7th – not in the new year like i was told by a member of council. I will check it pout and get back, if people are interested.

  10. Susan says:

    For some reason Council seems to be fully supporting this terminal development with little concerns to neighbouring properties or the environmental impacts. They don’t want you to open a can of beer in your own backyard after 11:00 p.m. but this business that does not appear at all to fit with the harbour long term use strategy is being well received.

  11. Dennis Fox says:

    To respond – no I wasn’t at the opening for the condo, plus I am not opposed to them.

    I did contact my councillors re: the zoning for Picton Terminal – it was changed from a terminal use in 2006 and will need to go through a rezoning to change it back – apparently to take place in the new year. So is the current operation legal? I personally have doubts that it is.

    My concerns also centre around me attending the Consolidation By-law mtgs. back in 2005/06 and remembering the comments made by both the public, councillors and business people – all wanting to make the harbour “a peoples place.” So for me the condos are a fit, the terminal operations are not. I told my councillors that I expected to see a proper process put into place that will protect the public’s interest, as well as, them showing the same level of thought for wanting to go back to the old that took place 10 years ago. So who knows what will happen – but it is time for some of you who like to complain to get active in fact finding.

  12. Susan says:

    You implied it already has full port usage zoning. I don’t believe that is the case. It was never a quarry but it is zoned as such.

  13. Paul says:

    A mistake made during amalgamation it was operated as Bethlehem Steel shipping ore for Marmoraton Mine. It was never a quarry Susan…

  14. Susan says:

    Not so Paul. The port lost it’s zoning status as a port in 2006, and the rezoning was such as a quarry. No materials could be shipped or sold from the location. They are applying for a zoning change which means a public meeting followed by a planning meeting of Council. Some believe that the operation is presently in contravention of bylaws.

  15. Paul says:

    Picton Terminals is already zoned and in operation it has been a port for a very long time. The new owners are merely asking council to support its attempt for Fed or Prov funding to expand the operation…

  16. MICHAEL says:

    Hey Dennis Fox were you even at the presentation last Friday on the Picton Harbour Condo development? I doubt it.

    Also are you actively involved with Victor Lind’s group concerning the Picton Terminals or do you just stand on the sidelines?

    It seems all your comments do not originate from any personal participation in these two important issues.

  17. Mark says:

    Dennis; Do you know when the OMB for Council size will start? With the next election under 2 years now wouldn’t it have to be soon in order to bring changes for the next election. Sort of off topic but not really as they are the decision makers going forward on the Terminal.

  18. Emily says:

    Petcoke damage to neighbouring property. Loss of enjoyment of property. Loss of land value. Salt leaching into the Picton harbour. Heavy trucks on roads already in crisis. Now they want to bring tons upon tons of garbage waste into our harbour? Where is the public meeting under the planning act? Does all of this make any sense?

  19. Chuck says:

    People in the past were told to keep their nose out of business that wasn’t there’s to know. That’s why we have heavy metals on the bottom of Picton harbour.

  20. Dennis Fox says:

    hockeyman – Believe it or not, what happens in the County is everyone’s business. If people are being asked to pay top dollar for water, and more on their taxes every year – seeing that the right decisions are being made gives us the right to at least ask questions. This harbour development has serious issues that need to be addressed. To date, very few answers(if any)have been given to the public. The town’s intake pipe lies in the middle of this activity – in only 8 feet of water! With the sludge that these ocean ships stir up – how does that affect the water quality that people are drinking and paying large water bills for? Does this terminal comply with the zoning? “IF” it doesn’t, then that raises even more serious questions that the public shouldn’t have to ask about – but unfortunately we do.

  21. hockeynan says:

    Maybe you all should keep you nose out of everything that happens in the county

  22. Dennis Fox says:

    I will investigate more on the zoning of the terminal – but the residents I have talked to who live in the harbour area tell me that the owners of the terminal are seeking to have it zoned to allow for it and that our council is taking a low profile because they want it. Maybe what we should all do is contact our councillor(s) and the mayor and just ask them. If anything, it will be interesting to compare the answers we get. Let’s do it!

  23. Susan says:

    Is this terminal operating under approved zoning?

  24. Fred says:

    I suspect the bottom of Picton harbour is heavily laden with life threatening contaminants from past shipping practices as well as foolish disposals.

  25. Gary says:

    Agree. This terminal is a huge issue to property owners (already been pollution issues), water quality, cargo tankers releasing contaminants, disturbing sludge from the bay floor that is toxic and not a reasonable use in a residential,recreational tourist area. I don’t however see a local entry into the Provincial election.

  26. Dennis Fox says:

    Gary – you have asked the key question. Our council and mayor have rubber stamped this terminal and have ignored the public process. Just keep an eye on future provincial elections and see who step forward – it explains much.

  27. Gary says:

    I agree the terminal is a very poor fit and could destroy the harbour and water quality. I don’t know how it has got so far along without public input.

  28. Dennis Fox says:

    Since we are discussing development & NO I have nothing against this one, but as the Snowman points out, don’t expect miracles from it. I talked today with a person who lives in the harbour area – consider what is in the works right now…. a condo and townhouse development and a shipping terminal – one that is now being planned to become a garbage transfer station for Oshwego N.Y. Add to this beautiful scene, the cement plant and an increased number of huge ocean freighters stirring up bottom sludge – not far from the town’s water inlet. Our Council and Mayor (I am told by this same harbour resident) have end run the public process and have applied to the province for a re-zoning to allow this terminal. Now I hope some will understand my comment about the need for public input on the development of the harbour. If we leave it to our local politicians – ya gotta know they’ll screw it up! It has already begun!

  29. Snowman says:

    Development that stretches water and sewer lines away from the core will do nothing to reduce those costs for urban users. In fact they probably do the opposite This development will use existing infrastructure and broaden the tax base. “Better deals” need to be made with sub divisions. Not in-filling situations like this one, or The Royal and The Legion.

  30. Chuck says:

    We need as much of this type of urban development as we can get. This is where growth needs to occur. Picton has to expand.

  31. hockeynan says:

    The article says the Lester property so I think it is the old castle inn

  32. Bruce Dickie says:

    Just curious. Where is this. I can’t picture a lot on Picton harbor that’s 6.5 acres. The old Castle Inn property doesn’t look that big.

  33. Gary says:

    If it was an attack it was aimed at the discouragement of badly needed development. We need urban growth in the worst way. The urban water crisis has been presented by rurals as our problem and they want nothing to do with it or even hear about it. That being said one wonders why they want to be so involved and offering input that may not be positive in the Town attracting development.

  34. Dennis Fox says:

    You certainly are! Here I am trying to get more out of developers to help with local concerns and all you want to do is to take the low road and attack people.

  35. Gary says:

    Too negative.

  36. Dennis Fox says:

    Gary, you are right – you don’t need a rural type making suggestions. So please deal with your water bill and development problems (or lack of) on your own, and stop boring the rest of the county with your complaining when it all goes wrong – again!

  37. Snowman says:

    125 new homes all using water and sewer,taxed at $5-600 per sq.ft? ( That’s$ 5000.00/ yr folks) Be careful what you wish for? Yeah, right. Some people are happier being unhappy.

  38. Susan says:

    Yes he has agreed with urban taxpayers subsidizing rural for bulk water. And now when they find potential relief through growth he throws sand in the ointment.

  39. Gary says:

    It’s all taxable property Dennis prior to any negotiation perks. We don’t need a rural who believes in sucking the life blood from the urbanites suggesting issues without identifying any.

  40. Dennis Fox says:

    I believe this kind of development requires a lot of thought and public input. If this is the trend for the future, then the County needs to hire additional planning staff who know what they are doing and how to get the most out of a developer. Right now by some of the comments it sounds like all development is good development, provided that it helps pay the water bill. Not a good negotiating position to start from. Be careful what you ask for, you might get far more than what you asked for.

  41. Paul Cole says:

    I agree Gary hopefully it plays out that way Sir….

  42. Gary says:

    The bigger the tax base the better opportunity for affordable housing initiatives.

  43. Paul says:

    Rents have increased dramatically over the last 10 years, It will be interesting to see if a lot of rental units become similar to air b&b type rentals. Gentrification has been well underway here in The County this may add to that situation increasing property values and yes Municipal taxes as well…

  44. Gary says:

    2000 units would suit me fine. We need urban growth. The more the better we all are.

  45. Paul W says:

    I hope this type of development fits within the County’s new Harbour Plan that was being developed earlier this year.

  46. Lil Toronto says:

    The new development can be called “Little Toronto”. Maybe more condo developers can come in and build, build, build! What Fun!

  47. steve says:

    Yes it is what Prince Edward County needs, land not currently used for agriculture, increase the tax base, people that will need gas and groceries, etc. A win all around. Has nothing to do with affordable housing.

  48. Gary says:

    We need the tax base increase and we most definitely need more connections to the municipal water system. So in that regard it is a win. That’s not to say that the need for affordable housing shouldn’t be addressed.

  49. Paul says:

    Is this what Prince Edward County needs ? I suppose if the investor wants to invest here it will bolster the County coffer, however The County is desperately in need of more affordable housing. It will be interesting to see how this plays out…

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