The Town of Brome Lake has decided against moving forward with a zoning bylaw change for the St. Paul’s Anglican Church condominium development project due to a lack of signatures from residents in the affected neighbourhood.
After the town’s municipal council voted in favour of the project last year, pending residential approval, condo promoter Reed Bousada was tasked with collecting signatures from residents in the area. The deadline was last week, and Bousada failed to garner enough support.
And there won’t be an extension this time, according to Brome Lake Mayor Richard Burcombe. For the moment, the project is dead, he explained, sharing the promoter has received several extensions. Bousada has about 35 signatures, but he needs around 125 for a majority.
“Nope, nothing has been extended. They’re going to keep working on getting signatures, but as far as we’re concerned the project that was given to us, that we approved last year, we stopped it there, we aren’t going ahead with the change of zoning,” said Burcombe.
However, Bousada made it clear to the council that he will continue to promote the condo development project. Burcombe anticipates another project will be presented to the town sometime during summer. But, he noted, Bousada needs to meet the basic requirements.
“They have to present a new project, whether it’s the same one or not, and at the same time they have to bring a majority of signatures from the concerned people stating that they’re in favour of the project, failing to do so council is not even going to look at it,” said Burcombe.
Bousada has already reached a purchase and sale of land agreement, set at $1 million, with the Diocese of Montreal. He also made an upfront payment of $25,000 to the church and Reverend Tim Wiebe, which was used to upgrade the church’s audio and visual system.
But Burcombe clarified to Brome County News that there has not been an official sale of land. There are no documents on record stating the land has been purchased by Bousada. It’s just an agreement, he continued, and there are several steps before it can be made official.
“Well I mean it has to go through town and it’s public knowledge. Any sale of land is public knowledge, so nothing has come through the hands of the town hall. It’s still zoned institutional and in the hands of the St Paul’s Diocese of Montreal,” Burcombe said in a phone interview.
He added that the sale is contingent on the zoning bylaw change to allow Bousada to build his proposed 12 to 15 unit condo complex, which, according to the promoter, would be tucked in behind the church, shorter than the local heritage site, and out of sight from the population.
When asked whether there are any other project proposals for the church land, Burcombe told Brome County News that there isn’t anything on the table right now. He fully expects to hear from Bousada in the coming months, though, so the chapter has yet to close on this saga.
“From what I understood he’s going to keep pursuing it, trying to get the signatures and it will go from there, so it’s up to them […] But if another project is tabled, council will look at it again, first the
number of signatures, and second if they’re going ahead with it or not,” he said.