News

Four Points Sheraton being rezoned

By Cathy Pelletier, special to Postmedia News

The owners of the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Thorold are seeking a zoning change to the property to allow it to be redeveloped for use as student housing. (Bob Liddycoat/Special to Postmedia News)

The owners of the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Thorold are seeking a zoning change to the property to allow it to be redeveloped for use as student housing. (Bob Liddycoat/Special to Postmedia News)

NOTE: This story has been updated - the Thorold Four Points Hotel has not been listed for sale. Better Neighbourhoods was at Thorold council on behalf of the hotel to seek a rezoning of the property.

Thorold’s sole hotel, Four Points Sheraton may be redeveloped for student housing.

And while the good news is the proposal would relieve some of the student woes currently plaguing residential areas, it is Thorold’s only hotel, aside from the Inn at Lock 7 and a few B&Bs.

“For the life of me, I can’t understand how the hotel cannot make it on its own as a hotel,” said Coun. Fred Neale after Thorold city councillors were told of the plan during their Tuesday night meeting.

“With so many students and their parents coming, I can’t fathom why a hotel cannot make it in this area next to Brock University.”

Dan Romanko presented a proposed zoning change to council on behalf of Better Neighbourhoods Inc.

“The existing hotel is facing challenges. They’re having difficulty,” he said. “There’s a lot of competition now.”

Mayor Ted Luciani surmised that the “millions of dollars” needed to upgrade in order to keep the hotel’s rating at its current level “is the reason the owner probably has it for sale.”

The property’s zoning does not permit the proposed use requested for “purpose-built apartments.”

If approved, the hotel would be converted to accommodate 129 units, with a total of 277 beds for student housing,

If more beds are needed, the current conference area has the potential to be used for additional units, bringing the number of beds to 305 in total.

“This is not set up like apartments,” Romanko said, adding that two students would share each room with a common section for watching TV and eating meals. No actual cooking — aside from microwaving — would occur in students’ rooms as the rental package would include a meal plan.

Parking issues wouldn’t be a concern because there’s already a large parking lot on the Schmon Parkway property.

Luciani said, ideally, a replacement hotel will come along in time for the Canada 2021 Summer Games.

“Let’s hope another hotel will come in our area,” said Neale.

Eldon Darybson, the city’s senior planning manager, said so far no objections have been received to the proposal, which is now under review by planning staff.

Ghislaine Cloutier, a resident of 31 Silver Maple Dr., spoke at the podium in opposition to the proposal because “numerous students in Thorold” are creating disruptions.

“I think we have enough student housing in the city of Thorold.” she said.

Said Coun. Tim Whalen, “On the plus side, it’s going to drain 220 students from our other areas.”