Former Lions Thrift Store to be turned into apartments


Jam packed Council meeting on March 21

The most recent meeting of North Dundas Council on March 21 opened with a public meeting regarding a request to allow the former Lions Thrift Store building to be converted to residential dwelling units. The property is located at 541 St. Lawrence St. in Winchester. 

Council heard a presentation on what is proposed for the site, including a plan to move an existing ramp in order to allow access to new backyard parking spaces. The building would continue to have a commercial space in the front, with two residential units being added in the rear of the main level. The basement would be converted to a dwelling unit as well, for a total of three units. Council heard a recommendation from Township staff to approve the plan, along with an explanation that the developer has been faced with a unique task in converting what was originally built as a church into a partially residential property. 

Councillor Matthew Uhrig expressed some skepticism about the ability to fit a laneway in the proposed location, even with the ramp being moved. Councillor Gary Annable commented that it’s nice to see the building owner taking the initiative on revamping a building as old as the one in question. 

The required zoning amendment was passed later in the meeting. 

Nearly two hours of other Council business

Following the public meeting, Council heard a general information presentation of Rebecca Luck, the Director of Library Services for the SD&G County Library system which operates branches in Chesterville, South Mountain, and Winchester. Next, Council approved the creation of an employment contract for an Engineering Technician position, to be executed by the CAO. 

The next motion before Council was a proposal to designate April 15 as an “office cleanup day” at the Township office in Winchester, with the office closed to the public on that day. The day was proposed to be set aside not to make major changes to the office layout, but rather as a “freshen up” exercise for the office. The proposal raised concerns from some North Dundas residents who questioned the need to take an entire taxpayer funded workday solely for cleanup. Councillor Matthew Uhrig spoke up in the meeting to express that while he supports the clean up day this year, in the future he would prefer to see the office kept clean and organized on a proactive, ongoing basis, rather than letting it get to the point that it needs a full day cleaning. The “office cleanup day” was approved. 

Council quickly passed several routine items, including the official legislation to approve the 2024 municipal budget. The budget had been effectively passed on February 29 after being modified from its original version. The motion on March 21 officially ratified it. 

Council agreed to make a popular Winchester event – the “Garden Party Market” – a committee of Council. All finances of this year’s 7-part series will therefore have to be cleared through Council, with a member of Council sitting on the Committee. The Township will foot the bill for the required event insurance, and each event is expected to attract up to 500 guests. 

As a grant offer through the Township’s Community Improvement Plan, Council agreed to award some money to the owners of the former Lions Thrift Store building, and its neighbour – the former Winchester Press building – for improvements to the buildings’ facades. A new business is expected to open in the latter of the two buildings in the near future. Such funding was also granted to Precision Diesel. 

Other business took place in the second half of the meeting, including the designation of several of this year’s events – Dairyfest, Bike Nights, Art on the Waterfront – as “events of municipal significance”. This allows for certain privileges that are critical in planning these events. Deputy Mayor Theresa Bergeron and Councillor Uhrig also brought motions forward, both involving advocacy (one regarding the blue box program, the other regarding requirements for adding housing) to the Province, giving official Township positions on issues within the purview of higher levels of government. 

Council considered the first draft of the 2024 water and sewer budget on March 21, more details of which are provided elsewhere in this issue. 

The next regularly scheduled Council meeting will take place on April 11. 


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