Proposed Elora subdivision gets mixed reviews at public meeting

·3 min read

ELORA – Centre Wellington residents were mostly supportive but had some reservations about a large subdivision proposed in northeast Elora.

Local developer James Keating Construction is proposing 117 single homes, 62 townhouse units and a 58 unit apartment building on a lot just west of Gerrie Road north of an existing subdivision.

The Township of Centre Wellington held a public meeting Wednesday evening to hear from the developer and registered delegates on what is being called the Ainley Subdivision.

Nancy Shoemaker, planning consultant for the Ainley Subdivision, explained part of the property is considered to have significant wetlands and woodland which will be protected during development.

Nearly half of the development, which totals over 21 hectares in size, will be open space, park or stormwater management.

The registered delegates mostly found the plan to be well thought out but some wanted to stress how important it is to protect the woodlands and wetlands.

Jeff Neely, who lives on Thomas Boulevard, wanted council and the developer to be aware of the sense of community that exists in the woodlands.

He said there is a large group of dedicated dog walkers who meet and take care of the woods.

“There are some of us who go through the trails every year and look for fallen trees or logs that lie across the path and these get removed,” Neely said. “We basically look after the place.”

Janet Harrop, Wellington Federation of Agriculture president, said the organization had to oppose this application as the land is considered to also be prime farmland.

She noted that once farmland is developed for housing, it is permanently lost. She said the township should “lead by example and consider this finite resource carefully.”

Delegate Fred Gordon came to the meeting armed with a presentation of his own urging the developer to more seriously consider protecting the heritage of Gerrie Road.

Gordon said he lives in a historical house, known as Bachelor Hall, on Gerrie Road and this development will surround the property on all sides besides the road facing front.

He said the building is one of the earliest built in the area

“That’s us right smack in the middle of the proposed subdivision,” Gordon said in reference to plan drawing.

He expressed concern about the subdivision furthering urban sprawl in Elora and the impact on local wildlife.

The presentation included pictures Gordon had taken of owls, woodpeckers, turkey and deer that he regularly sees on his property.

His ask was for a study on the land’s fauna—particularly the impact on monarch butterfly migration—and a heritage register for Bachelor Hall which would trigger a Heritage Impact Assessment.

“We want to be actively involved as part of a group in order to create positive change on the plan of subdivision,” Gordon said, adding that it should satisfy the developer, surrounding property owners, Heritage Centre Wellington and the township.

“All of this is for the betterment of our entire community and to protect the heritage landscape of Gerrie Road.”

No action was taken at this meeting and a zoning amendment bylaw will come to Centre Wellington council at a later date.

Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com