A proposal to create four new building lots on a property in Craigleith adjacent to the Silver Creek Wetlands has residents sounding the alarm.
On June 13, Blue Mountains Council held a public meeting to consider comments on a proposed zoning bylaw amendment at 372 Gray Road 21 in Craigleith. The proposal would create four 828 square meter building plots on the property fronting the county road.
The proposal generated numerous 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 wetlands should be a major concern.
“Provincially significant wetlands should be protected and appropriate setbacks encouraged,” Spence said.
The entire property covers just over 20 hectares. The rezoning would apply to a small portion of the property currently zoned Development-D, which would be changed to residential R1-1 if the proposal is approved. Lands zoned at risk or wetlands would not be modified or affected.
Local resident Lucy Richmond raised concerns about the proposal’s proximity to the wetland and said the property had in the past been used as a ‘garbage dump’ with old vehicles, equipment and a dilapidated house , which has now been demolished. She expressed reservations about what will happen as the proposal moves through the system.
“I am very concerned about what may happen to this property between now and the time it is approved,” Richmond said.
Planner Kristine Loft, representing developer Rhemm Properties, said the current owners bought the property in 2021 and have been working hard to clean up the site by removing the old building and equipment.
“The intent is for four lots to be created and sold as serviced lots. The owner is not a builder per se,” Loft said.
Com. Jim Uram noted that the City 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 generally not allowed on private services.
“Are negotiations underway on full municipal services for this area?” Uram asked.
Town planner Travis Sandberg said the developer is in talks with Collingwood over the water supply, noting the property has access to sewage services.
“Discussions are ongoing about potential solutions for providing these water services,” Sandberg said, although he said the services may have to wait for Collingwood to improve its water system.
Uram also asked if the developer had considered higher density alternatives for the proposed development.
Loft said the developer considered 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 nearby wetlands.
“It’s something we looked at. We were concerned about the wetland and shrinkage. We are limited by the natural heritage feature,” she said.
Com. Paula Hope asked Loft what the lot prices would be if approved.
Loft said it could not provide a price estimate because property values will be affected by ongoing maintenance discussions.
No decision was made at the meeting and city staff will present a full report to council on the proposal at a future meeting.
Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca