Reed Bousada, the mastermind behind the St. Paul’s Church condominium development project in Knowlton, held a public information meeting Tuesday evening at Sapin – Bistro du Lac to address concerns that have been raised by residents in recent weeks.
The project, which is still in its proposal phase, has experienced some pushback from the local community. But Bousada told The Record that the meeting seemed to quell many of the residents’ concerns, including those living in the neighbourhood near the church.
“What I’m doing now, maybe I should have done two years ago when we first launched the project, going out and getting community acceptance, but I didn’t have the experience to know how to do that. I didn’t know that was one of the steps that needed to be done,” he said.
Bousada has reduced the size of the building by 30 per cent, from 42,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet, making it a 12- to 15-unit complex. He also eliminated a previously proposed driveway, and he got rid of the outdoor parking lot by moving it underground.
He also assured everyone in attendance that the building wouldn’t steal the spotlight from the St. Paul’s Church, adding that the condominium will be lower than the church and out of sight. He’s also donating just under two acres of land to the Brome Lake Land Foundation.
And while he’s trying to check every box, Bousada’s most pressing task is garnering support from the people living in the neighbourhood directly impacted by the development project. He asked the town to change the zoning bylaw to begin construction, but he needs signatures.
“There’s 239 people from that zone and I think those people, that matters, round numbers I would need 120 votes. I got signatures, but a lot of these people are in Florida, they’re away in the winter, so we’re going to their homes and nobody’s there,” said Bousada.
According to Bousada, he sent out an online survey where “a couple hundred people” voted in favour of the project. But many of those voters are redundant, as they don’t have a say in the project, since they don’t live in the zone that will be affected by the change in bylaw.
Bousada has no intention of moving his project, either. He wants to help the church. The purchase and sale agreement came out to $1 million. And although the money will go to the diocese in Montreal, it will be used to keep the church up and running for years to come.
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