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Claire’s Take: Bridgewater Project, and always about the parking

Bridgewater renderingIt’s most likely not a surprise to you, but there is a new development going on downtown. The Bridgewater project is underway on Lakeshore After going to the April 20th public meeting at the Lions Hall, I had a better idea about the plans for development. About 30 public residents from the area came as well to express concerns and ask questions, which the representatives from the Bridgewater and Marriott answered. Before I begin my take on this, I’ll just give a bit of background information so nobody gets a little confused like I was. It is the Marriott that will run the hotel and the Bridgewater that will run the condos, and we are referring to this development as the Bridgewater. Facing Lakeshore there will be retail space for the public. In the end, on that plot of land it will be the hotel as well as two condos.

This meeting was about discussing the variances that the Marriott would like to apply for since they have different standards for service than the plans provide. For the ground floor, there would be an increase in the restaurant and lobby size, as well as adding a lounge and outdoor dining area, along with relocating the swimming and fitness area. The seating capacity would be around 100-200 for the restaurant, and an extra 80 with the patio. Event facilities would be added to the second floor, giving the Marriott the opportunity to host events such as conventions, weddings, etc. The third floor would see an increase in hotel room size and add a net four new rooms. For the roof, there would be a partial floor that would be added for hotel office space. It doesn’t seem like a drastic change, but I’ll keep you posted when their application is sent in and reviewed.

Questions and concerns from the residents were heard and answered well. The representatives had nothing to hide and seemed passionate to provide solid answers with detail. Some of the questions were about the photos used in the presentation just to verify what they are portraying. The photos were 3D with a cool flair of animation, but I could see how some residents just needed some clarification from them.

Of course there were questions about parking, which I now expect. Discussions about how the area will do when there are big events such as Ribfest or Sound of Music. For sure there will be an increase in traffic since more people are operating and living in that area. Residents asked about what can be done about the amount of dust the big trucks would make and the air quality for people living in the area. I understand that, as a person with asthma. I learned that the trucks could be hosed down and the streets to be cleaned by the workers.

Sometimes it gets a little tricky to remember which development is going where and for when. In the mornings when I’m at City Hall doing some writing and the window is open, I can hear the faint sound of a truck rumbling by or the beeping of a reversing machine. We have a nice view here, so I try to look out to see where the noise is coming from. The construction for the Bridgewater project began a day after the public meeting, and a couple days ago I looked out and saw them digging the giant hole. I’ll continue to check in on this development, and when it finally does get completed in a couple years I would take a little tour around it for old times sake.

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

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  1. Downtown Burlington is going to be a construction zone (i.e. Joseph Brant Hospital, Bridgewater, Saxony, Berkeley, Nautique developments) for some time, maybe for even a long time.
    It’s just a fact of life, here.

    BUT, ask yourself “Does the City of Burlington care about the impact of all the added noise & traffic on long-suffering, downtown residents, and if so, what are they prepared to do?”
    They should, given our lucrative revenue: expense ratio.

    Yes, the Sound of Music pre-dates most of us (so buyer beware) but not in its’ current form. As Burlington’s apparent “sacred cow” it’s been happily allowed to grow in time, attendance, trash, policing and decibels, with little to no concern for local residents. Big, bigger, biggest! Ribfest just adds “insult to injury” from my perspective.

    BTW, the only “sacred cow” in Burlington is the Teen Tour Band.

    It’s time for the City, with the heightened noise, traffic & population downtown. to return Spencer Smith Park into being a true park, an oasis if you will, as opposed to a scenic venue with ever-renewable sod, for any and all holders of a special events permit, particularly those who have overgrown the locale and their welcome from downtown residents, to hold their events.

    There are other venues for these events, in full or part, in Burlington!
    Can the City not think “outside the box”?

  2. How is the increase in traffic being addressed? Parking is one thing… getting your car to the parking area in a timely manner… is another.

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