Politicians didn’t need much convincing to throw their weight behind a dramatic renovation to bring the Kellogg building back to life.
Planning committee unanimously supported a number of zoning amendments required to turn the old cereal factory into an adventure park, brewery, and other office and commercial uses.
“The adaptive reuse of this entire area is really something we should be applauding,” Coun. Anna Hopkins said. “I’m envious. I may want to move up to the Old East one of these days.”
The plans for the 93,000 square metre portion of 100 Kellogg Lane include an indoor adventure park — which E&E McLaughlin promises will boast the continent’s largest indoor ropes course, plus a trampoline park, go-karts and escape rooms — plus warehouse space, offices, and other commercial use.
The zoning amendment would change the site from a light industrial area to “main street commercial corridor.” Most of Dundas Street, which borders the site on the north side, already is zoned for that purpose. E&E McLaughlin also is looking to have parking on three sides of the property.
The amendments go to council for full approval.
Coun. Jesse Helmer praised E&E McLaughlin for using the existing Kellogg structures. The cereal plant, which opened in 1913, closed in December 2014, axing more than 500 jobs.
“It’s easier to buy buildings, knock them over, and build new stuff,” he said.
But Helmer echoed the connectivity concern raised by a local resident, who wanted to be sure the property won’t restrict access into the neighbourhood.
Planning boss John Fleming said the developer is committed to “a decent pedestrian experience along Kellogg Lane.”
Jen Pastorius, manager of the Old East Village BIA, said the community is excited about the project. Residents also are engaged in public consultation, she said, and E&E McLaughlin has agreed to continue that process.
Greg Gillies, the Old East Village resident who raised concern about connections to the larger neighbourhood, agreed the proposed use would be “an excellent development to kick start development in the east end.”
Coun. Maureen Cassidy said the project shows Old East community spirit.
“It’s been down and out in the past, but . . . the community’s coming together to share their community. It’s not just going to be any old thing,” she said. “It’s taking old buildings like this, honouring them, and keeping them part of the community.”
Pitch for plowing match
Coun. Bill Armstrong will ask his colleagues to back a bid for the 2020 International Plowing Match, including a $100,000 contribution, at a committee meeting next week.
Armstrong wants to see the annual event held near Crumlin Sideroad, east of Veterans Memorial Parkway, and has collected letters of support from London residents and organizations.
The International Plowing Match celebrated its centennial in Walton, east of Goderich, last month. Next year’s event is in Chatham-Kent and the 2019 match is in West Nipissing.
Mushroom farm at centre of debate
A local mushroom farm was a hot topic for the planning committee on Tuesday.
The owner of farmland at 6188 Colonel Talbot Rd. is looking for a zoning amendment to allow him to sever a four-hectare portion of the property. Shogun Maitake Canada is renting the land for an innovative hydroponic mushroom farm, where mushrooms are grown indoors. The company wants to buy the land so it can receive financing needed to expand operations.
City staff recommended against the zoning change, saying the severance of such a small portion of land doesn’t line up with provincial rules or the city’s official plan. City politicians were divided on the issue, voting 3 to 2 to support the staff recommendation.
Coun. Anna Hopkins said the amendment would set a precedent, but Coun. Maureen Cassidy argued London should encourage the expansion of a successful business and vowed to raise the issue at council.
Truck terminal raises community concern
Nearby residents aren’t too pleased about plans to develop a transit terminal where transport trucks can park and change trailers in the city’s south end.
London Sufferance Warehouse hopes to develop 4380 Castleton Rd., south of Highway 401 near Wellington Road, for the terminal. But the company needs a zoning amendment to do so.
Staff recommended the change, pointing out that similar uses are allowed on surrounding properties. But neighbouring residents are worried about noise, runoff, and the impact of all those trucks on Castleton. Politicians ultimately voted to support the zoning change, which now goes to council for full approval.