BROCKTON – Kevin McKague, who recently opened The Mill Pond art gallery in Cargill, had his application for a zoning amendment heard by council on Aug. 10.
The amendment is for the adjoining property. McKague wants the zoning changed to permit five apartment dwelling units in addition to the existing commercial uses in the building.
The county planning department recommended a decision be deferred pending confirmation it’s safe from flooding for people and vehicles, that adequate off-street parking is available, and an archeological assessment isn’t required.
The building presently contains two commercial units and three legal non-conforming apartments, one of which is on the main floor. The owner wants to add two more apartments; all apartments would be located on the second floor. A replacement sewage system is also planned.
Speaking on behalf of McKague was planning consultant Genevieve Scott, who stressed the need for long-term and short-term rental housing in the hamlet. She termed the plans a “minor intensification” of the legal non-conforming use in a building that’s been on the site for 100 years.
Impact on the natural environment would be negligible; in fact, the new septic system will actually improve conditions on the site, since it means removal of a shed.
Because the land has been “extensively disturbed for 150 years,” there’s little chance of it being of archeological significance.
McKague, who has roots in Cargill, told council he “wants to bring some life back to the town,” and said he’s delighted at the response he’s been getting.
In response to a question, he said he’s been involved in the planning process since purchasing the property in February.
Coun. Steve Adams noted McKague has been waiting a long time.
“We should be pushing this through,” he said. “I think this is good for Cargill. We should be doing everything we can to support people like you (McKague).”
Deputy Mayor Dan Gieruszak commented that McKague is “improving the building, updating the septic system, and moving an apartment up to the second floor.” He further noted there are many other buildings in Cargill located on the floodplain of the Teeswater River.
“We’re not talking about expanding the footprint of the building,” Gieruszak said. “This is good for Cargill.”
Coun. Tim Elphick commended McKague.
“This is a wonderful application to come forward … this application should proceed,” he said.
Mayor Chris Peabody expressed his preference for approving the rezoning, not deferring.
“This type of development is what we want to see in our hamlets,” said the mayor.
The subsequent vote was in favour of rezoning.
The mayor did suggest McKague contact the Saugeen Ojibway Nation again, to make sure all issues connected with the archeological potential have been addressed.
“This is a fantastic project,” said Peabody.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times