Southgate Council agreed to send on to Grey County the list of the conditions it wants to see in a subdivision agreement for 29 proposed houses at Wilder Lake.
Council made its decision after hearing concerns raised by residents at the lake during the meeting’s Open Forum session, and members following up with questions to the township planner.
Planner Clinton Stredwick assured council that the discussion about the conditions is not closed, and said there would be another chance for township to follow up on concerns during a zoning application which will also be needed.
Developer Randy Bye of H. Bye Construction started talks with the township and other authorities in May of 2018 about developing the Homestead property, according to a report given to council last March about the project.
Deputy-Mayor Brian Milne declared an interest as he is related to the developer and left the meeting for the discussion and vote.
The houses would be about 3,300 sq. ft in size with four to seven bedrooms, the application states, on lots of about one acre, each with its own well and septic. The clubhouse and another building will be maintained but not used for overnight stay.
The location is already deemed a Settlement Area because of being considered Inland Lakes and Shoreline in both local and county Official Plans.
Because the subdivision will be next to the lake, an environmental impact study was needed, as well as a hydrogeological study of the water. That study found that the underground water flow was away from the lake. The township had an independent firm review that study – Burnside Engineering.
In fact, Burnside has presented three sets of comments, each of which the developer’s engineers have had to address.
The latest documents were posted to the township website the Monday before the meeting.
The short period of time for public and council to look at these was raised by a resident who asked council to defer its decision.
Tom and Heather Arnott and Robert Caprini spoke during Open Forum to voice concerns. Other residents have sent in concerns and signed a letter supporting the objections.
They also asked for a lake capacity study, as the lake already has a growing problem with golden-brown algae.
Lakefront lots raise the problem of runoff carrying nitrogen and phosphorous from lawn care products into the water which feed the algae, said Mr. Caprini.
RESPONDS TO CONCERNS
The planner said later in the meeting that the lake capacity study was waived only because the developer agreed to do other studies instead, which have been completed.
The eight existing cottages with septics which are close to the lakeshore will be removed and a 30 metre-buffer created, the planner said, which should improve conditions. At the base of the buffer, there will be a berm and plantings that should reduce the run-off, Mr. Stredwick said.
The planner suggested that in the future the township may want to inspect all septic systems of properties around the lake to guard against water quality impact.
When Councillors Barbara Dobreen and Martin Shipston echoed some of the residents’ questions and concerns, the planner replied that there were further measures still available, such as “restrictive covenants” against chemical use.
The SVCA is satisfied and has provided a draft plan condition to be included in the subdivision agreement, the planner’s report said.
When it comes to the subdivision agreement itself, “if an additional condition is needed, it’s still open,” Mr. Stredwick said.
Another aspect of the development is that the township will maintain the storm water management and maintain it. Councillors questioned whether this was practical and cost-efficient.
Staff replied that this was similar to maintaining catch basins in Swinton Park or in Dundalk, and would probably only mean taking equipment out every three to five years to clear it.
CAO Dave Milliner said that the township does not want to be cutting grass on those blocks and so only wants an easement for access, instead of ownership of the storm water blocks. The storm water plan includes swales and three ponds (two dry and one wet).
The property, 263512 Southgate Rd. 26, is on the west side of Wilder Lake, which is about six km southeast of Durham. About 50 acres of the 125-acre property would be part of the development.
Studies required include an environmental impact study, which found wildlife habitat including snapping turtles that requires setbacks, installation of culverts as a wildlife corridor on the internal laneway near the pond. Other measures include limits to work in certain seasons, sediment controls during building and “dark sky” compliant lighting.
A hydrogeological report and servicing study included assessments of water quality and aquifer yield and draw-down. Both on-site and off-site well records were considered. Tests for water quality and supply were good.
Septic systems will be 30 m or more from the creek and 50 m from the lake.
There was also an archaeological assessment done as required.
M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald