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A proposed development on Dever Road in Saint John. Image: City of Saint John staff report

54-Unit Development Approved For West Saint John

By Brad Perry Feb 10, 2023 | 10:04 AM

Saint John council has given the green light to a proposed development on the city’s west side.

But the decision has raised concerns about the future of a daycare that will be forced to move.

Teneo Ventures Ltd. plans to convert the current home of Butterflies and Bumblebees Daycare into a pharmacy.

In addition, 54 residential units will be constructed in four buildings to the west of the commercial building on Dever Road.

The property is already zoned for this type of development, but previous conditions restricted what could go there. Council voted to remove those restrictions on Monday.

Greg Theriault was one of a handful of people who spoke during this week’s public hearing.

Theriault, a parent of a child in the daycare, said he worries about the potential loss of daycare space.

“I think that it’s important to recognize that there is a need for houses and affordable homes, but I would argue that the need for preschool childcare is greater than that,” Theriault told council.

The daycare hoped to relocate to a house on Starburst Lane and submitted a rezoning application to the city.

But council denied the application later that same night after neighbourhood residents expressed concerns about traffic and parking on the narrow dead-end street.

Proponents said that with long wait lists for daycare spaces, the city cannot afford to lose a daycare.

According to the daycare’s owner, the building owner is only required to provide her with six months’ notice of cancellation of the lease.

But Jonathon Rasenberg, who is managing the development, told council they plan to be flexible and help find a new space.

“I’m not going to push a daycare out on the street with no home to go to. We want to work with them, we want to facilitate,” said Rasenberg.

Another resident who spoke during the hearing asked whether council could look at the pharmacy and the residential development as separate applications.

“The west side does not need another pharmacy,” said Andrea Leblanc. “There’s five pharmacies within five minutes of this location.”

Rasenberg said the residential development is contingent on there being a pharmacy in the commercial building.

“Part of their financing requirement is that they’re owner-operator in the space. It would dramatically change the path we would go down for financing,” he said.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if we weren’t putting a pharmacy there, I can tell you that for sure.”

The residential development will include 27 one-bedroom units, 19 two-bedroom units, and eight three-bedroom units. Twelve of those units are proposed to be affordable housing, according to a city staff report.

Construction of the residential component is anticipated to begin later this year with the construction of the first two buildings.


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