Brockton’s new council discusses report on MZO

BROCKTON – One key achievement of the 2018-22 term of council was the Minister’s Zoning Order for the East Ridge Business Park area. It will pave the way for some sorely needed residential development – an estimated 500 units of varying types including rental apartments, and much more.

A report was presented at the Nov. 15 inaugural meeting of the new council, by CAO Sonya Watson.

The MZO has been in the works since Dec. 14, 2021, when council approved proceeding with the measure for the East Ridge business park. Brockton has a wealth of “employment lands” but a desperate shortage of land zoned for residential development.

As stated in the report, “The MZO application was initiated to rezone specific lands within the East Ridge business park (ERBP) that would be better suited to residential use as well as to rezone newly acquired municipal lands to the north of ERBP from agriculture to industrial uses. The total affected land was 24.18 hectares or 59.75 acres. The proposed residential lands have the potential for more than 500 additional housing units, including the proposed hospice, residential care facility and apartment building complexes.”

Municipal staff worked with developers and consultants (from Monteith Brown Planning Consultants) to prepare a Planning Justification Report and the Order.

The application was submitted in March 2022. The provincial and municipal elections affected the approval process for the application. However, on Nov. 7, word was received that the MZO had been approved.

As stated in the report, “This process helped to extend the municipal boundaries of Walkerton and provides the appropriate zoning to advance various residential developments... in the coming years.”

Watson further stated in the report, “We see this a real victory for the community in the push to expedite the development approval process to support housing initiatives.”

Deputy Mayor James Lang commented, “This is exciting for our municipality… I congratulate everyone here.”

Coun. Carl Kuhnke said, “I know the excruciating pain you all went through to make this happen… amazing job… I’m stunned.”

Mayor Chris Peabody provided a bit of insight into one quirky element to that “excruciating pain” of hard work and lobbying that made the MZO a reality, when he told about attending the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Ottawa. He waited two hours at an elevator, and when Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark entered it, Peabody followed him in order to get some face time with the minister.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times