Expressions of interest for Hutton Heights development open again

NORTH HURON – The second round of expressions of interest for developing the Hutton Heights subdivision began on Nov. 1. It will run until Nov. 28 at 2 p.m.

A report prepared by Economic Development Officer Demetri Makrakos updated North Huron council on the process.

“The Township of North Huron is seeking a design-builder to construct a new subdivision on a vacant parcel of land in Hutton Heights, in the East Wawanosh Ward,” Makrakos said.

North Huron purchased a 37-acre property in 2007 for residential development. The area to be developed is approximately 18 acres and is located south of Lloyd Street and west of the existing Hutton Heights development.

“There are four other potential future development parcels in the Hutton Heights area owned by private individuals who have expressed an interest in developing their lands,” said Makrakos.

The installation of municipal water and sewer infrastructure began on Sept. 22, with work expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

The expression of interest is being conducted to:

- generate interest in the property;

- identify and communicate with those parties who are interested;

- act as a vetting process of interested parties and development concepts; and

- present North Huron council with various development ideas/opportunities for the land.

Interested parties will have until Nov. 18 to ask North Huron staff questions for clarification on the expression of interest components. The application period will close Monday, Nov. 28 at 2 p.m.

Although there were several submissions of interest in the first round, council decided not to accept any of these proposals. Council made this decision in a closed session.

“During a recent meeting with BM Ross regarding the Hutton Heights development, there was a discussion regarding the Phase 2 external servicing tendering process. BM Ross informed staff that the tender document could be prepared based on council’s preferred subdivision concept,” the report explained.

“If council is willing to entertain other subdivision concepts, it was suggested the expressions of interest process be commenced in hopes a successful design-builder could be selected by the end of 2022. If a design-builder is selected in advance of the tendering process, there is an opportunity to adjust the infrastructure design and minimize financial impacts.”

After much discussion, staff agreed that commencing the process in advance of the Phase 2 infrastructure expansion tender was appropriate and would enable the location for the “entrance and exit to the parcel from Lloyd Street to be known (infrastructure design) and it reduced the possibility of increased costs to adjust the infrastructure design after a design-builder is selected. Issuing the request for expressions of interest now versus the same time that the Phase 2 tender will be released will save the township thousands in infrastructure costs.”

According to media reports, the Bank of Canada recently increased interest rates to slow the rate of inflation. As a result, higher interest rates may affect the type and number of design-builder proposals received. All submissions received will be presented and discussed with council in a closed session at a future meeting.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times