Category: Niagara Falls News

    Party Time on Clifton Hill

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    The Niagara Falls Review ran an article on the proposed developments on Clifton Hill today. The article mentions two waterparks (one indoor, one outdoor), roller coasters, a ferris wheel and a 28 storey hotel.

    The proposal goes before city council this Monday, May 30 as we had mentioned in a previous post.

    Party time on Clifton Hill
    HOCO seeks city approval for rides, parks, new hotel

    By COREY LAROCQUE Review Staff Writer
    Local News – Saturday, May 28, 2005 @ 02:00

    NIAGARA FALLS – Roller coasters, a ferris wheel and two water parks would take Clifton Hill’s “festive atmosphere” to a new level if HOCO Entertainment and Resorts gets city council’s approval to build up to 20 amusement park rides, says Harry Oakes, the company’s president.

    “We’ve looked at the whole market in Niagara Falls. We’ve picked our niche,” Oakes said Friday. His company already concentrates on attracting families and fun-seeking couples.

    “We just want to improve on what we do.”

    HOCO has asked city hall for a zoning bylaw amendment to build up to 20 amusements park rides and a 28-storey hotel along the top of the escarpment between Clifton Hill and Robinson Street. That parcel of land is 12.5 hectares (31 acres) and represents what one report calls “Niagara Falls’ most important underdeveloped site.”

    The site isn’t big enough for a full-size amusement park like Marineland or Canada’s Wonderland. Oakes describes his proposal as a family entertainment centre, a “right-sized version for Clifton Hill.”

    It’s modelled after Tivoli Gardens, a 160-year-old downtown amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Rides would be installed on the site’s north end, toward Clifton Hill. The 28-storey hotel and two water parks (one indoor, one outdoor) would be built closer to Robinson Street.

    Ferris wheels have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity since the London Eye was built as a millennium project in England. Roller coasters are “timeless” attractions, said Oakes.

    Both appeal to families who have visited the falls in the day and are looking for at night entertainment, Oakes said.

    Only the proposed 294-room Comfort Suites hotel and the 54-metre Ferris wheel would be visible above the treeline.

    “You really only see the top 25 per cent of it when you’re in the park, due to the trees,” Oakes said.

    HOCO already owns most of the property on the south side of Clifton Hill, where numerous attractions already operate, including the Great Canadian Midway and the Boston Pizza restaurant. Oakes opened them in 2002 and sees the family entertainment centre as a chance to expand on their success, he said.

    City council is scheduled to debate HOCO’s zoning application at a planning meeting Monday night at City Hall. The city’s planning department recommends council approve the project, with some technical changes to the zoning bylaw. The city’s architectural peer review panel is largely satisfied with the project, but wants proof that the hotel won’t affect wind patterns, a report states. But the Niagara Parks Commission has concerns about proposed changes to the Jolley Cut area and doesn’t support it without discussing some changes.

    The entire project would require an investment of $100 million and would see the companies total number of employees increase to about 1,250 from 750 now, Oakes said.

    If council approves the project Monday, HOCO would gear up immediately and be ready to start construction of the first phase in October with the goal of opening it next April, Oakes said.

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