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Climate Change - Let's not ignore what is staring us in the face

Wasaga Beach is recognized as the longest fresh water beach in the world. The creation of natural beauty is within our reach to enjoy each summer and throughout all seasons.

My home was built in 2000 on the property west of 74th Street known as The Hideaway Inn. The surrounding property around my home including Plot 82 was zoned as Residential 1.

Acting in “good faith” with the Town of Wasaga Beach, I accepted and trusted this residential zoning, never thinking a developer would be requesting to re-zone from R1 to R4-X high density housing.

We are an evolving community of cottages and homes with close proximity to the Nottawasaga Bay. It is a pleasure to enjoy nature in our own backyard. Every summer there seems to be a quest to locate Tiger Rock out in the Bay, by swimming, kayaking, canoeing or motor craft.

Our area does not include commercial or service infrastructure; instead, it is known for walking, hiking, and biking on narrow streets that have no sidewalks. We practice neighbourhood watch, we are good neighbours who care about each other.

Beachwood Development Inc is now planning to “plop” an urban sprawl in the midst of our single dwelling cottages and homes. Their plan goes against the recommendations of the Towns current Official Plan to not increase density west of 71st Street. The plan goes against an important rule which guides future development of an area in the best interest of the existing community as a whole.

The 5.88-hectare parcel of land being referenced as Plot 82 contains approximately 3.1 ha of wetland, all of which are classified as coastal wetland based on the close proximity to the Georgian Bay shoreline and other site-specific characteristics. This plot of land, which is part of Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) Regulated Area is identified as an Area of High Aquifer Vulnerability.

The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) includes strong policy direction to protect the province’s natural heritage (such as wetlands and woodlands). The PPS protects Ontario communities through policies directing development away from areas of natural or human-made hazards where there is an unacceptable risk to public health or safety, or property damage. It also provides for the consideration of the potential impacts of climate change (for example, flooding due to severe weather) that may increase the risk associated with natural land hazards.

Each time the landscape is altered I have experienced many issues with the natural drainage to the Bay, such as roads flooded on the route to my home, or deep ditches with fast flowing water. A few years ago, my basement was flooded, mine being one of six other neighbours who had flooding, with backup sewage as a result of human error.

My plan of attack at the time: back flow valve added, battery backup power to my sump pump and lastly the installation of a gas generator. I was luck enough that my Home Insurance Policy includes Water Protection Plus … accidental entrance of surface water, ground water or the rising of the water table.

I firmly believe further development will interfere with the wetlands and alterations to shoreline and watercourses. There is an existing problem and it must be addressed. Urban sprawl as anticipated with this development will only compound the problem.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Let's not ignore what is staring us in the face.

Yes - let’s not forget climate change and how that it is affecting us today and how it will affect us tomorrow too.

The Blue Print to a healthy community has already been written. Respect the boundaries of the wetlands; develop within the existing Residential 1 (R1) zone requirements.

I look forward to my grandchildren being the 6th generation at Brocks Beach to swim in the Bay and go on a yearly summer quest to find Tiger Rock.

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