Crystal Beach Gateway Development (South Beach Condominium)

Welcome to the Crystal Beach Gateway Development (South Beach Condominium) Site Plan discussion thread. This thread has been established to provide up-to-date accurate information on the site plan for Bay Beach Development. It will also provide a platform for discussion on the topic.

You will be able to view various plans that are being reviewed at the present time. The plans are still draft but they are getting close to a final submission. You can review the preliminary site plan, elevations of the proposed building as well as a landscape plans.

On August 24th there were presentations by myself and technical experts from the applicants. You can view the presentations in this blog as well.

The site plan is a technical document that sets out in some detail how the site will be developed. Eventually (September or October 2011) the site plan will be before Town Council for approval. Once approved it will be the blueprint for development of the site.

I will be reviewing comments made on this site on an ongoing basis. From time to time I will prepare a response to overall questions. We don’t have the staff to respond to every question or comment. I will make a comment to provide some response once or twice a week and post it on the blog.

Thanks for taking the time to review this information.

Certainly, when the time of the site plan to be reviewed by Town Council is known, I will ensure that the date, location and time is placed on this site.


Richard F. Brady

Director of Community & Development Services

31 thoughts on “Crystal Beach Gateway Development (South Beach Condominium)

  1. Jay Brownsword

    Great to see that the Town is making an effort to communicate Bay Beach information via social media. I’m looking forward to following the two way conversation on this development. Hopefully it will be a place for people to have meaningful conversation and be presented with up to date information.

  2. Linda

    I am so glad this forum is here. I do have some questions that I hope can be answered. When I look at the diagram I was wondering: I can see the toad habitat and the walkway and beach and parking lot appear to become the property of (or retain ownership of) , but, are there other areas? And am I correct in this? It’s a bit confusing as to whether the public promenade, the town pavilion on the ground floor, the public lookout/stage, the public washrooms, the commercial area, and places marked public open space become ours or are most of those part of the condo footprint and remain under condo ownership? Hopefully you can clarify that for me. I have heard over and over we were going to be getting free amenities worth somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2.7 million so, just wondering if you can clarify what those are and stop me from resorting to speculation. Also wondering if you have an estimation of the potential costs of the areas that will become our responsibility? I think that’s it for now…lol. Thanks for your help.

    1. Richard F. Brady Post author

      Hi Linda, thanks for your questions and interest in the Bay Beach Development.

      You are correct that the promenade, podium, pavilion, beach level washrooms, podium on top of beach level washrooms, open space lands and beach stay in public ownership. The Town will own the surface rights for the podium while the condominium corporation will own the sub-surface rights for the parking garage. The commercial units inside the building are part of the condominium.. The map below illustrates the agreed upon ownership arrangement for the site.

      Within selected areas of publicly owned lands there are proposed protected toad habitat areas which will be roped off to restrict public access to habitat areas as proposed in the Town’s Overall Benefit Permit Application for the Fowlers Toad. These areas are also illustrated on the Toad Landscape Plan provided on this blog (posted August 24th). This plan also illustrates the boardwalk access and other access points from the podium to the beach.

      Click here to view the Ownership Arrangement Map

      In reply to your question on value of amenities and potential costs you should find the following link to the Bay Beach Project-Fact vs.Fiction sheet already posted on the Town’s web site of some assistance.

      Thank you,
      Richard F. Brady
      Director of Community & Development Services

  3. Derek Crane

    Errors and Omissions in the Official Shadow Study by KNY

    1.) Label on Chart Heading page 18,

    Column 3 “Solar Azimuth Degrees” should be changed to “Solar Altitude Degrees”
    to correctly reflect the data presented.

    2.) In same chart, column 6 “Hours of Sunshine”,

    the entry for summer sunset should read 21:01 time of sunset on June 21 Eastern
    Daylight Time.

    3.) Spelling of “Beachwood Ave.” on

    photos 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 should be corrected to read “Beechwood Ave.”, and
    elsewhere throughout the report.

    4.) “Affect” should be replaced by
    “effect” throughout the report.

    5.) The description of the building as

    “Tapered” and section 5.4 should be looked at very critically in light of the

    proposed west elevation drawing that indicates little if any tapered effect of
    the building proposed.

    6.) The study omits consideration of very

    important beach usage times near the summer solstice and Canada Day and Fourth

    of July holidays and does not give a complete picture of shadows cast on the
    beach at that time.

    7.) The study leaves a misleading

    impression that there will be no shadows cast on the beach in the summer and

    the Town has relied on this incomplete information in its statement “

    We do not

    anticipate any shadow effects on the beach, as the beach is located south of

    the proposed buildings. A shadow analysis is normally required as part of the
    zoning approval process when multi-storey buildings are proposed”. This conclusion is entirely due to
    the incomplete nature of the report in failing to consider important sun times.

    Conclusion: The Shadow Study report is flawed and incomplete and the Town

    should correct the facts of record. The town should reevaluate its assertion

    regarding anticipation of shadows now that the limitations of the very biased
    and incomplete shadow study are known.

  4. Greg Bonito

    Ok Derek, fair enough. Now if the town comes back and still comes to the same conclusion are you going to find another issue? Look how well the toad issue worked. Now we lost a whole park because FEWPA and some of our council wanted the MNR to come down, thinking that the MNR would conclude that the condo can’t be built because it would impact the toads. Instead the condo is still getting built and the park that was supposed to be there is now a toad zone. Becareful what you wish for, you will end up with no shade at all and then you guys will complain about how hot it is and there is nowhere to go to escape the sun.

  5. Rick Brady

    The issues raised about the shadow study have been raised in the past and addressed. There is one correction that should have been made but it will have no effect on the study. The word azimuth should be replaced by the word attitude. I will pass this along to the archtiect. However the times of the study are the accepted times utilized by municipalities in Ontario and by the OMB. The shadow study was accpted by both the Town and the OMB as part of the zoning of the site and is considered final.

  6. Peter Koutroulakis

    I sat through the OMB Hearing for the plan at Bay Beach and heard every fact and arguement deliberated in person. I read the full report from the OMB and was satified that the ruling approved a plan which is deemed appropriate and “good planning”.
    To dispute this approval will only delay the inevitable and prolong any other forward progress in the immediate community. The other residential developers that have invested alot of time and money nearby are waiting nervously for closure on this issue.
    It might not be what some would have intended but with good leadership and compromise, this plan should move forward for the health and wellness of our great town.

  7. Greg Bonito

    I think that the town and the Molinaro group have done an outstnding job is bringing this information ot the public. It is unfortunate that there are those who still believe that there is something being hidden from the public here and pretend that they are asking incocent questions when all they are really doing is desperatly trying to uncover anything they can to sink their teeth into to stop this developement. I hope that Fort Erie can move forward from this and this nonsense will finally stop. Let me go on record and state that I would welcome this developement in the North Side of Fort Erie anyday. I see the value something like this brings to a society. Unfortunatly, it makes more sense in the part of town that doesn’t recognize the value. Lets move on and bring the raceway next!

  8. David Dimberio

    I also would like to see a condo development in the North End. I do know that the Bridgeburg BIA would support such a development, unlike the Crystal Beach and Ridgeway BIA.

  9. Lesley North

    I too would welcome this kind of development in the north end of Fort Erie. In order for Fort Erie to grow and prosper we need growth.
    Kudos for the Great Job at the open house. You, all the staff and the experts did a wonderfull job. I just wish everyone could put all the differences aside and get on with the project instead of all the law suits that are doing no more than wasting tax payers dollars. Unfortunatly there are people out there that will try to stop this at any cost.
    I was thinking ahead to the great things that this could bring and also the parking problems that might come along with events and busy days at the beach. Niagara Falls was quite sucessful with off site parking and a small bus to transport people to their first Casino. Much like was done at the race track here. Perhaps this could be incorporated in the future of Bay Beach to solve some of the parking issues.

  10. Ellen C.

    Can you tell me why there was no “Request for Proposal” put out for bids? Mr. Schlange told me at open house that there were the only two developers that could do this kind of work in the province and those two were FRAM and Molinaro. Neither of those two names are on the Port Dalhousie development, so there are obviously more than two.

    The cost of the public amenities is supposedly over 3 million dollars. Is that money what the builder pays (his cost) or is that what the market will bear? Are we getting over a million dollars of landscaping and is that really necessary? There seems to be a lot of existing items (sidewalks, trees, etc.) being removed which would normally add up to a lot of money. If these are part of the amenities then a lot of money is being spent that may not be necessary and the actual amenities are inflated.

    I always thought that when a developer does a project like this, they are the ones who have to pay for the curbs, upgrades and amenities pursuant to a site plan agreement, for the benefit of the development, not as a public amenity. For example, Bay Beach Woods. It was the developer who had to pay for the roads, curbs, etc.

    1. Richard F. Brady Post author

      Hi Ellen,

      The process to secure a developer/builder for the Bay Beach Condominium project was lengthy and extensive. It involved direct invitations to prospective builders (over 50 invitations) as well as advertisements in the Real Estate section of the Globe & Mail. There was very little interest with the exception of two firms, that eventually provided proposals on the project.

      The Port Dalhousie project developers/builders could have responded to the Globe & Mail advertisement; they choose not to respond. Given the extensive and lengthy planning approvals process for their development in Port Dalhousie, it is no wonder they did not want to be involved in another expensive and lengthy approval process in Niagara.

      In regard to your question about the amenities and benefits of this proposal, please take the time to review the document I’ve linked below which illustrates the amenity details.

      Bay Beach Project – Fact vs Fiction

      Thank you for your interest in the Bay Beach development project.

      Richard F. Brady
      Director of Community & Development Services
      Town of Fort Erie

  11. Ellen C.

    Hi Mr. Brady,

    Could you post a copy of the invitation sent to the developers as well as a copy of the ad placed in the Globe and Mail.? I would like to see it.

    1. Richard F. Brady Post author

      Hi Ellen,

      The Request for Proposal linked below was sent to over 50 developers and the Globe and Mail. It was widely distributed.

      Unfortunately, the scanned RFP document available to me is a little sideways, I apologize for the inconvenience.

      Bay Beach Request for Proposal


      Richard F. Brady
      Director of Community & Development Services
      Town of Fort Erie

  12. Ellen C.

    Hi Mr. Brady,
    This document is dated 2003. The council that voted to go forward with this was not elected until 2006. Can you explain? Thanks.

  13. Ellen C.

    Sorry, but did the Molinaros and Fram respond to this particular RFP and if so did they put down a 5% deposit with their proposals as requested?

    Also, who prepared the cost estimates as stated in your “Fact vs. Fiction”? Thanks.

    1. Richard F. Brady Post author

      Hi Ellen,

      neither the Molinaro’s nor the Fram Group responded to the 2003 RFP. An expression of interest from these two firms was received in 2008 after Planning staff contacted several firms with experience in waterfront development. Council approved of Planning staff taking this initiative. The proposals that were subsequently submitted by these firms were reviewed and Council accepted the Molinaro proposal in 2008.

      It was a very lengthy and open public process that lead to the selection of the Molinaro group for the Bay Beach project. I believe I have now answered all of your questions (Ellen) on project initiation.

      In regards to your question about the Bay Beach Project – Fact vs. Fiction; that document was prepared in-house by Town staff.

      Thanks again for your interest in the Bay Beach project,

      Richard F. Brady
      Director of Community & Development Services
      Town of Fort Erie

  14. Ellen C.

    Hi Mr. Brady,

    I don’t remember a lengthy public process that lead to the selection of the Molinaro group for the Bay Beach project. The only public process I remember was after the Molinaro Group was chosen. Please refresh my memory.

    You also said that the Fact vs. Fiction document was prepared in house by staff. Did they also prepare the cost estimates in that document? I would like to know how the public amenities costs were determined.

    I do want to thank you for making this blog available and helping to clear up any misconceptions.

    1. Richard F. Brady Post author

      Hi Ellen,

      The selection process for the developers of the Bay Beach condominium started in 2003 and has been open and public throughout with many public reports to Council.

      As previously stated, the Bay Beach Project – Fact vs. Fiction document estimates, including the public amenities costs, were prepared by Town staff.

      Richard F. Brady
      Director of Community & Development Services
      Town of Fort Erie

  15. Ellen C.

    Hi Mr. Brady,

    I still have unanswered questions.

    I don’t understand why a RFP was put out in 2003 and there was ongoing open public reports to Council when the Neighborhood Plan was implemented in 2005. Why go to all the trouble of meetings and discussions if the plan was to sell the land in the first place? Also a decision was made during the term of the Town Council under Wayne Redekop that the land was to be designated a public park. How would a RFP still be in effect? In the RFP it is asking for a deposit so the land was definitely for sale and it also says that the Town did not yet hold title as of the date of the RFP. Why would they propose to sell land they did not own and some five years before the decision of council was made to sell it?

    I previously asked about the improvements to the roads and infrastructure in the amount of $736,000.00 (according to the fact vs. fiction document) being for the benefit of the community but is it not something regularly required in every site plan agreement? I In addition it clearly improves the value of his property and future sales of condos. As I said before when Bay Beach Woods was developed, it was the developer who had to pay these costs.

    The landscaping as well is to the benefit of the developer. The land that was supposed to be public open space which has now been designated for the toad, no longer has the same improvements so the costs must have changed for that. Could you please advise what the changes in the amenities costs are as a result?

    In regards to parking the public has to pay for parking but what about the residents of the condo? Will they be given some sort of pass or will they be asked to pay just the same as the public? There is only one space per unit in the under ground parking garage but that will not be enough – how is this going to be resolved?

    Again, I thank you for your answers.

    1. Richard F. Brady Post author

      Hi Ellen,

      The development of Bay Beach as a condominium took a long time and Council made several different decisions. All resulted in the final decision to enter into the purchase and sale agreement with the current developer. Several attempts were made to find a developer. However, clearly Council has made the decision to enter the purchase and sale agreement and when finalized it will result in the land that will be used for the condominium to be sold to the developer for that purpose.

      While some developers are responsible for some off site improvements to roads and infrastructure, this normally occurs when the improvements are required for the development. The amount that is being paid in this case includes additional off site improvements.

      Some of the landscaping is to benefit the developers. Much of the landscaping is on Town property for the benefit of the community. Furthermore, the public deck, community pavilion, boardwalk to the lake, etc. are all being paid by the developer as amenity costs.

      The public parking will be open to all at the same rates.

      Despite lengthy answers to a series of your questions, you seem to have continuing questions that I believe would be better addressed through a meeting. Please contact me at the Town Hall to set up a meeting if you have additional questions.

      Thank you,

      Richard F. Brady
      Director of Community & Development Services
      Town of Fort Erie

  16. Ellen C.

    Hi Mr. Brady,
    Yes, I agree I have a number of questions and a meeting would probably serve to expedite those questions and answers, however the purpose of this blog is to be open, transparent and to clear up any misconceptions. This is why I would prefer to keep it on the blog.
    The answer you gave regarding my last request is very vague. Even trying to merge the Town’s “History of Bay Beach” with your answers is very difficult. Other than the amount stated as required (3 million dollars) to improve the property being too much for the Town to spend on it’s own and the fact that he has experience, there is no other reason stated as to why we are partnering with this developer. Again, why 3 million dollars? Where did these figures come from and could some improvements be done for less? I think these are legitimate questions that have not been answered. It could be interpreted that the Town is in fact giving this land away as it appears that the value of the amenities has not been vetted. It would seem that since the developer will be blocking the entrance to the beach with the condominium during and after construction, then the boardwalk and deck are actually public necessities, not amenities otherwise there is no public access. The Town appears to be giving Molinaro all the time in the world to get this project off the ground with construction lasting 2 to 3 years. Will anyone be able to use the beach during that time? Parking will be eliminated during construction. What about the parking money lost due to tourists that will avoid the area and will they even come back? What about the mess, the noise, the inconvenience to the citizens? The benefits to the developer seem to outweigh the benefits to the residents and tourists by a very large margin. As well, I don’t see how the toads are going to hang around while this building is going up. I would be very surprised if there were any left there by the time this project is completed. I know I am asking questions that require substantive answers but there is a lot at stake here and the citizens are the stakeholder.

    1. Richard F. Brady Post author

      Ellen, this has been a two-way conversation, which is not really appropriate for the blog. I will endeavor to answer your questions, however several are repeats of former questions that have already been answered.

      1) The community benefit agreement is an agreement negotiated by the Town with the developers. The amount of money and the way it would be spent was agreed upon in advanced.

      2) The Town is not giving the land away, it is being purchased by the developer and they are paying for community benefits as well.

      3) The beach will be open during construction and access will be provided.

      4) When the construction is completed, the public will have improved parking, improved access, improved facilities, and I am sure the users of the beach will enjoy their experience.

      5) The Ministry of Natural Resources is being very careful with the toads and the toad permit will have provisions for the toads to be rescued prior to any construction.

      6) I have answered all of your questions, again if you wish to set up an appointment with me, I would be please to discuss further.

      Thank you again for your interest in the Bay Beach project,

      Richard F. Brady
      Director of Community & Development Services
      Town of Fort Erie

  17. Derek Crane

    “2) The Town is not giving the land away, it is being purchased by the developer and they are paying for community benefits as well.” – Rick Brady

    Mr. Brady, what do you mean by the above statement?

    In addition to the community benefits, how much money will the developer be paying the Town of Fort Erie to purchase this prime lakefront property?

    What’s the purchase price and when will the taxpayers receive this money?

  18. Derek Crane

    How is reducing the parking, improving the parking?

    Is FEWPA responsible for the MNR becoming involved?

    When was the MNR called in by the town and why?

    Is FEWPA responsible for the further loss of land and what date did you know we were losing more land than promised?

  19. Derek Crane

    Why did you ask ELLEN C. to come in for a meeting, I want to know the answers to her questions as well, please post what you would tell her in private. I think the whole public needs to know the answers as well.

    1. John Snow

      “Why did you ask ELLEN C. to come in for a meeting, I want to know the answers to her questions as well, please post what you would tell her in private. I think the whole public needs to know the answers as well.”

      This is the problem, THE PUBLIC ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWERS! This has been talked about to death. There have been more public meetings about this than anything I can remember. (sarcasm to follow) Perhaps Mr Brady is asking her to come in so he can give her a brainwashing serum or maybe he has some super duper double top secret information that only she can here.

      Let’s get on with it and stop letting a small minority bog down the process.

  20. Marcia Carlyn

    Hi Mr. Brady,

    Thank you for setting up this blog. It’s good to have a way for the public to ask you questions about the Bay Beach condominium project and for you to answer our questions in an open and honest way. The exchange between you and Ellen C. has been especially interesting. In your #2 response above, you stated that “the Town is not giving the land away, it is being purchased by the developer and they are paying for community benefits as well.”

    Here are my questions: In addition to the community benefits (which the developer agreed to give the Town in exchange for increased height and density zoning), how much money will the developer be giving the Town to purchase this prime beachfront property? What’s the purchase price and when will the taxpayers receive this money?

    Will the developer be giving the Town additional money for his exclusive use of the public Open Space Land on the east side of the property and the land on the beach that will be roped off for the Fowler’s Toad? If not, why not?

    1. Richard F. Brady Post author

      There have been a recent rash of blog questions that are similar. Therefore I am going to answer all questions collectively.

      1) The blog has resulted in many questions, and answers have been supplied; however, there are some questions that I have already answered being asked again by the same party. Once I have provided an answer I will not repeat an answer but rely on the total blog to supply answers.

      2) The Town has outlined that it is being paid on the Fact vs. Fiction sheet that was provided and added to the blog. The Town is receiving $1.7 million for the land and this money is being used to pay for some of the community benefits. The remainder of the community benefits is being paid by the developer for the increased density and height on the site. This has been explained verbally and in writing on several occasions.

      3) Improved parking that I described in a past entry, describes the improved parking that will exist on the north side of Erie Road. Both of these lots are being significantly improved and paid for by community benefits funding from the developer.

      4) I am not sure if FEWPA asked the MNR to become involved in this project. However, certainly members of the public have contacted MNR on several occasions concerning the need to protect the Fowler Toad and the Toad permit.

      5) The developer is not being provided with any exclusive use of public open space land.

      Thank you,

      Richard F. Brady
      Director of Community & Development Services
      Town of Fort Erie

  21. John Snow

    Hi Mr Brady,

    First off, this blog is an excellent resource for the people of Fort Erie. It seems to be very unique in the region. Please keep the information flowing. When I say information, I mean things that have not already been discussed. It’s hard to believe that the actual head of Planning is answering these questions (good) and that the questions being asked are so repetitive and desperate (bad). Most, if not all, the questions being asked on this subject are by the same person(s) who seem to think that they are lawyers trying to uncover some kind of conspiracy theory. Please move forward with the project. Please stop wasting your time on questions that have been written about, talked about, blogged about, tweeted, facebooked and whatever else. In this case we are the “99%” that want this to move forward. Please stop this thread and focus your attention on providing new information and helping citizens with all the other issues that face us people in Fort Erie and the rest of the country. Thanks again.