By Wendy Elliott
Over 125 people filled the Wolfville Fire Hall on Jan. 22 to air the pros and cons of a proposed residential/commercial structure to replace the old Home Hardware building on Main Street.
The 4.5-hour meeting ended with town council questions to the developer, Antigonish professor Chris Galea.
Mayor Jeff Cantwell said the decision and the remainder of the meeting agenda would resume on Jan. 29.
Twenty-one individuals addressed council regarding the proposal from Micro Boutique Living Wolfville Incorporated. Thirteen raised concerns about the planned 71-unit building. Initially, Galea spoke for over 30 minutes. He said some of the inspiration for the façade came from a traditional Nova Scotia barn.
“The elegance of the design speaks to the past with its peaked roof, but also reaches to the future,” noted the business professor.
Downtown businesses were clearly in favour, but a delegation representing the local hospitality industry indicated surprise at the town’s suggestion that 33 per cent of units could have a short-term hotel use.
Business owner and restauranteur Joe Rafih said the proposal has to either meet apartment or hotel rules. He also raised a concern about whether the town’s sewer system can handle that size development.
John Whidden, who has written a book about Wolfville architecture, was impassioned. He cited both the town’s Municipal Planning Strategy and architectural controls and stated that the building’s footprint will make it as large as Railtown or University Hall.
Several others supported this kind of development in general, but like landlady Maxine McCuaig, objected to its size, appearance and capacity.
The next meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. in town council chambers.
See more in the Tuesday edition of The Advertiser.