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New massage clinic proposed to open at The Heights

A new medical business is hoping to open on The Heights. Before their regular meeting, the members of the Town of Antigonish council were given a presentation from Paul Dec, a development and policy planner with the Eastern District Planning Commission.

The presentation entailed a recommendation that the town grant permission to an interested party to operate a business in a basement apartment at 62 The Heights, along with a series of recommendations related to running a business at that particular property.

“The only thing it has to go through now is a vote,” Mayor Laurie Boucher said after the Oct. 15 council meeting. “The first reading [in September] was advertised and it just went through public hearing, so we’ll go to a second reading and then we’ll vote on it.”

The proposed business is a registered massage therapy clinic. Boucher said the business that’s seeking to open on The Heights was in a unique category, since “it didn’t fit quite into our home business policy,” Boucher explained.

“The reason it didn’t is because it’s a medical practice, but it’s also going to be in someone’s apartment. The permanent resident lives upstairs, and there’s a renter in the apartment – and from a room in her apartment, she’s going to make a massage therapy practice.”

Boucher noted the massage therapist hoping to operate out of a basement on The Heights would be a temporary arrangement. Additionally, council accepted some recommendations as far as rules are concerned for the business. These include allowing for at least two parking spots for business purposes, hours of operation, rules relating to disturbances, and limitations on signage used to promote the business on the property.

“The practitioner wants to be on Main Street, but there’s just nothing adequate available for her right now. This is just a temporary solution for her business,” she said.

Dec, during his presentation to council, noted the proposal received numerous letters of support – with many of them coming from the immediate vicinity of the property.

During the same discussion, Phil Landry, owner of a neighbouring property on The Heights, expressed his concerns about the business.
“I don’t have an objection to this, except for one thing the mayor mentioned – the signage. It doesn’t fit a residential neighbourhood,” Landry said. “Maybe the white lines could stay there, but not those signs. I have no objection to a small sign on the house for the business.”
Landry added, “I hope this is not a backdoor for a lot of businesses to go rent homes with no homeowner in the house. I think it’s a slippery slope, and I think you should be quite aware of the rules and regulations, and how this could be opening a door to that.”

The old Tim Hortons

The town plans to take the initiative to remove old, signposts at an unused building on the west end of James Street, that once was the location of a Tim Hortons restaurant.

Council made a motion at its regular Oct. 15 monthly meeting, to remove old cement bumpers and sign posts on the property, deeming them unsightly.

Specifically, the large empty sign post near the street that used to be the Tim Hortons sign, the cement bumpers around it and the entrance and exit signs that marked the drive through will be removed by public works.

“The company that owns the property is not local, and they have not been compliant, so we had to deem it unsightly,” Councilor Mary Farrell said in a call with the Casket. “We’ve been trying to work with them, but they have not been cooperating.”

Boucher said the town decided to go ahead with the removal of the signs after attempting to contact the proprietor’s lawyer and not hearing back. She noted the town plans to forward the bill for the work to the proprietor of the building.



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