Plan for lots close to Silver Creek Wetlands draws concerns

·3 min read

A proposal to create four new building lots on a Craigleith property adjacent to the Silver Creek Wetlands has prompted residents to sound warning bells.

On June 13, The Blue Mountains council held a public meeting to consider comments about a proposed zoning bylaw amendment at 372 Grey Road 21 in Craigleith. The proposal would create four 828 square metre building lots on the property fronting on the county road.

The proposal generated multiple public and written comments indicating concerns about the proximity of the proposed lots to the Silver Creek Wetlands.

At the public meeting, local resident Pamela Spence said the proposal’s impact on the wetlands needed to be a prime concern.

“The provincially significant wetlands should be protected and proper setbacks encouraged,” said Spence.

The entire property is just over 20 hectares in size. The rezoning would apply to a small portion of the property currently zoned Development-D, which would be changed to the Residential R1-1 zone if the proposal is approved. Lands zoned hazard or wetland would not be changed or impacted.

Local resident Lucy Richmond expressed concerns about the proximity of the proposal to the wetland and said in the past the property had been used as a “dump site” with old vehicles, equipment and a decrepit house, which has now been demolished. She expressed reservations about what will happen while the proposal is working its way through the system.

“I’m very concerned about what might happen to this property between now and the time it is approved,” said Richmond.

Planner Kristine Loft, representing the proponent Rhemm Properties, said the current owners purchased the property in 2021 and worked hard to clean up the site by removing the old building and equipment.

“The intention is that four lots will be created and sold as serviced lots. The owner is not a builder per se,” said Loft.

Coun. Jim Uram noted that both the town’s engineering department and the Town of Collingwood had submitted comments for the meeting indicating that municipal water services are not available at this time for the proposed lots. Uram said development is not generally permitted on private services.

“Are negotiations underway on full municipal services for this area?” Uram asked.

Town planner Travis Sandberg said the proponent is in discussions with Collingwood about water servicing, noting that the property has access to wastewater services.

“There are ongoing discussions about potential solutions to provide those water services,” said Sandberg, although he said the services may have to wait until Collingwood upgrades its water system.

Uram also asked if the proponent had looked at higher density alternatives for the proposed development.

Loft said the proponent did consider higher density options. However, she said more units would require an internal road which was not possible due to the size of the property and the wetlands nearby.

“It’s something we did look at. We were concerned with the wetland and the setback. We’re constrained by the natural heritage feature,” she said.

Coun. Paula Hope asked Loft what the price points for the lots would be if they were approved.

Loft said she couldn’t provide a price point estimate as the value of the properties will be impacted by the servicing discussions that are ongoing.

No decision was made at the meeting and town staff will be bringing a full report to council about the proposal at a future meeting.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca

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