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Rezoning sets stage for hotel, offices at Thunder Bay property

Reliable Northern Developments has plans for a $25-million hotel with 150 units

THUNDER BAY — A developer has secured zoning permissions for a hotel and office development off of Golf Links Road in Thunder Bay, a location that was originally intended to host a privately run soccer bubble.

Council approved an application submitted in March by Reliable Northern Developments for zoning amendments for the land, located near the southwest corner of Oliver and Golf Links roads, at a July 25 meeting.

A group of investors led by developer Robert Zanette had originally hoped to build a soccer bubble at the location along with a hotel, and gained approval from council to do so in 2019.

A representative for Reliable Northern Developments declined to comment on development plans for this story, though Zanette provided some details on the project in response to questions from Coun. Aldo Ruberto.

The proposal is for a hotel including 150 units, with a roughly $25-million gross cost, Zanette said, estimating construction on the project will take about one year.

The property of about 11,500 square metres will likely have road access only from Burwell Road, as it’s separated by a hydro right-of-way from Golf Links Road.

Council approved an application to remove a holding symbol placed on the lands, which are zoned IN6 – Prestige Industrial, add office and hotel as permitted uses, and increase the maximum height for a hotel to 21 metres.

The maximum height for the property is 17 metres under the city’s 2010 zoning bylaw, which remains in force, and will be 15 metres under its new zoning bylaw, which won’t go into effect until several appeals are resolved.

“We’re amending the 2010 bylaw because there is no certainty as to when the appeals to the new bylaw will be heard,” senior planner Decio Lopes told council, an approach favoured by the applicant to avoid delays.

The holding symbol was placed on the property until city services were available on site, which is now the case.

The city’s planning services division recommended approval of the application, noting the addition of the office and hotel uses is consistent with the Official Plan’s intent for the lands, and found no concerns over the height change.

“The increase in height is considered negligible given the wide hydro transmission corridor that separates the property from Golf Links Road,” staff wrote in a report.

The city plans to impose site plan control conditions including requirements to submit plans for lot grading and drainage, stormwater management, site servicing, erosion and sediment control, and sanitary sewer and water connections.

Council unanimously approved the rezoning application.

— TBNewswatch