CFN Talks to DURBACON About New Student Living Building Across from St. Lawrence College in Cornwall 111418

Cornwall Ontario –   CFN spoke with Gary Sproules, developer of an actual property in the le Village part of Cornwall, across from St. Lawrence College on Montreal Road.

The building will have  78 units so as to accommodate 168 students on 3 floors, and commercial space on the ground floor.

We asked him five questions via email earlier today.


Are you shovel ready?   Is the project moving forward hinging on any conditions?   (I ask as we’ve seen lovely drawings of too many buildings that never were started or completed in Cornwall)


We are getting there.  Architect has been selected from Gatineau and drawings have been started. There are no conditions,  only the fact that we require a record of site condition submitted by ministry of environment to build which is getting done.


Approximately how much will the units cost to rent?  Is there a waiting list?


The cost of rental will has yet to be determined, however, will be similar to St Lawrence college .

( +/- $6,450.00) There is no waiting list for simple fact that there is no website yet. Will have one  soon.


Are the ground floor commercial units rented yet?


Commercial units yet to be rented . However have had discussions with several potential businesses in Cornwall. Once construction starts should have much more interest.


How strong do you think the student rental market is in Cornwall?


Student housing is a huge market. You would be surprised just how many students rent apartments in Cornwall and if you have a product such as ours will be, more parents will be willing to pay. As you know most of the houses around St Laurence college have students renting. There is enrolment of +/- 1350 students this semester. 42 students rent on campus and +/- 300 other students rent off campus. (numbers supplied by college). They have a waiting list for their units. Hoping that my project will increase their  enrolment at college.


What do you think the City of Cornwall can do to assist investors like Durbacon develop property in our city?


I am presently paying +/- $1,700.00 property taxes. Once building is in place will be paying +/- $170,000.00 in property taxes and creating new jobs with commercial portion.

I think the city should purchase all contaminated vacant properties, remediate the land then put them on the market. Developers in Cornwall will purchase these because they will become properties ready to build.

Montreal is making a huge investment in land remediation for the East End which will kick start that area’s economy. Joliette a town north east of Montréal (attachment included) just purchased a huge piece of land in its city center that will also bring in taxes but will help housing industry (these costs  should be paid by polluters). Too many properties not generating tax revenue for city .(Domtar and Brenntag ). Remediating these two large properties will attract developers from all over. They will bring ideas to the table. Then the population can decide what works best for city. Giving land to industry  will create jobs and construction ( old Target warehouse land).

Was blown away when a question asked at mayoral debate ‘’what is Cornwall’s main attraction’’ and that answer was ‘’the Benson Center’’ .  Never expected that a cities arena would be its main attraction.

Lots of work needed.


It’s always great to see actual development in the River City and it’s important for City Management to assist in bringing this in as it really is the only true route to alleviating the tax abuse that residents are experiencing.

Hopefully Mr. Sproules project moves forward and brings in that near $200K extra per year.    Every dollar counts!

What do you think dear CFN viewers?  You can post your comments below.


  1. Cornwall is not Montreal, Montreal is not Cornwall. The city cannot afford to “purchase all contaminated vacant properties, remediate the land, etc.” It’s a good idea, but financially would bankrupt Cornwall. At one point in time the previous owners were responsible for remediation, like the PetroCan land at Second St W @ York. It should be that way. You contaminate you remediate.

  2. I think that Domtar was supposed to clean up after they left but didn’t. CIP is gone along with many others. Cornwall is a town that is full of cancer and you cannot build on land that is not cleaned up. It can take over a hundred and more years for the contaminated land to heal even cleaned up.

  3. Weird when I agree with Jules. Domtar, CIP, etc should be held responsible for cleaning up their former sites. None of this burying the cleanup in the deep bowels of long sale contracts.

  4. Here in Ottawa where we live there was a Texaco Gas Station in the 70’s era and later no more. The land got cleaned up to a point when we moved back to this very building. Then another gas station came about which is there now and there was no other kind of business on that piece of land except next to it pushed a bit away from as much of the contamination as possible.

  5. Domtar and CIP Research should have cleaned up the lands that they occupied but instead chose to run away and left the land in disarray. No building should be put up on contaminated land and it is bad enough as it is. The idiots who built what is called the Benson Centre on contaminated land have no brains in their heads at all.

  6. LOL LOL. I made a boo boo. I put down CIP Research instead of CIL. I am laughing like a baboon at my end over my mistrake – you see the word mistrake and that is an old joke going back to my 1970s era in the federal government that one woman from Québec came out with. CIP Research is a very big mill in Québec side of Ottawa and that place stunk like Domtar since it is or was a paper mill as we

  7. I fully agree with you guys that if you contaminate you remediate. however the damage is done. leaving the situation as is also not the solution. paying $1,700 in taxes presently .once land remediated and property built will be paying around 175k in taxes. investement has been spent in cornwall economy. land remediation increases revenue to city , cleans up enviroment and creats jobs.

  8. Author

    Mr. Soules welcome to CFN. You make some valid points, but as we’ve seen recently, the city has emptied Brownfield funding while spending thousands in frivolous lawsuits. With taxes expected to rise 7% this year alone it will be a challenge for council to find cash for a smart program like this when they’re also chasing waterfront lands, some of which will most likely also need remediation.

    Sadly we don’t seem to have the leadership and ability to work through these important issues which would lead to more revenue and growth in Cornwall while attracting “New Blood” such as your company to our community.

  9. Yes Hugger it would bankrupt Cornwall to purchase the brownfield lands and it would bankrupt any other city or town as well. Canada is in very big trouble economically as is and people will soon come out of their cocoon and see the shocks of reality. Those big companies should have cleaned up when they left and didn’t and nothing should be built on such land at all.

  10. When contaminated lands are sold the companies us an old trick to sell the land. They make the price so cheap it’s hard to resist. But it comes with the buyer being responsible for remediation. The laws need to be changed to make the polluter responsible for remediation.

  11. The vitality that accompanies a student population, may add a little style and feed a starving culture and social scene… it may even rejuvenate a neighborhood that’s becoming a literal burn-out.

  12. If Mr. Soules quality of fence is any indication of the quality of building he intends to construct, god help his tenants. I wish that I could post a picture of the mess we (his Cornwall neighbours) are living in. How a child or someone’s pet hasn’t drowned is a miracle. Mr. Soules also neglected to say that the City is giving him a substantial tax break and reimbursed him for the remediation.

  13. Sharon Larin, I truly doubt that Sproules will build anything on that property much like the Second and Pitt street property will never be built upon. City council has to do more.

  14. Yeap, the city / taxpayers paid for the remediation via twists and turns. They tried to hide it, but couldn’t.
    Remediation should be paid for by the company that caused it, not the city or taxpayers. And no the city should NOT buy all contaminated vacant properties. Companies get out of their duty by going bankrupt, etc. Arrggghhhh!!!!!

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