Midland Bay Landing looks to cleanse palate for developers

·3 min read

Council discussed a common “palate cleanser” zoning bylaw amendment for future development within the Midland Bay Landing site during a recent meeting.

A public meeting was held to discuss the bylaw amendment, which proposed rezoning two outdated areas in the Midland Bay Landing site, 420 Bayshore Drive, from ‘M1-1 BH30’ industrial zone and ‘R/MC-H’ residential/marine commercial zone, into a single ‘D’ deferred development zone, otherwise known as a transitional zoning classification.

Planning consultant Wes Crown of MHBC Planning presented a simplified introduction to the background and history of the project as context for the public meeting.

“With the closing of (aggregate processing facility) Unimin Canada in 2012,” said Crown, who had been the town's planner, “council saw an opportunity to reimagine the future for this former industrial site as a major new mixed-use waterfront community, integrated into the town and surrounding neighbourhood.”

In approximate terms, the division between the two zones occurs on the north side of Bayshore Drive across from Chigamik Community Health Centre; along the water’s edge, to the southwest to roughly Queen Street is the ‘M1-1 BH30’ zone, and to the northeast to the parking area at Bayshore and William Street is the ‘R/MC-H’ zone.

The planning justification report by MHBC looked to remove those zones to create a ‘D’ zone.

A hard-to-hear question from a caller during the public meeting was interpreted by Coun. Jonathan Main, who asked to Crown, “Why are we zoning now, and why wouldn’t we zone later?”

“I think principally,” replied Crown, “the benefit of doing the rezoning to the ‘D’ zone is to get rid of the outdated and outmoded industrial zoning for the property.”

He added that the ‘D’ zone would send a clear message to the development community that there would be opportunities for future rezoning by the municipality down the road, to attract any developers who could be deterred by the industrial zoning.

When the caller asked of the cost, Crown admitted not knowing the answer but speculated that it would be part of the negotiations with future private-sector partners.

The public meeting ended, and council asked their questions.

Main described the ‘D’ zone as a “palate cleanser” zoning “where it’s a placeholder for the next opportunity”, which Crown took a liking to.

Main also asked if rezoning would affect any current or interim uses; Crown replied that upon signing the bylaw any legally-established uses would be allowed to continue on the property.

Coun. Bill Gordon raised a question regarding resident concerns for future development which could impact the popular public parking area at the corner of Bayshore Drive and William Street, which was clarified by Mayor Stewart Strathearn that both the town’s official plan and master plan as seen in Crown’s presentation designated the area as greenspace.

The motion was approved to accept information from the public meeting and council’s questions to return back to town staff for consideration at a future meeting.

Information on the MHBC planning justification report can be found on the town of Midland website agenda page.

Council meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, and can be viewed on Rogers TV cable channel 53, or through the livestream on the Rogers TV website. Archives of council meetings are available through Rogers TV and on the Town of Midland’s YouTube channel.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca

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