It feels good to know that we are not alone with our concerns about developments destroying precious Coastal Wetlands near Georgian Bay.
In a recent letter from the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) to Beachwood Development’s environmental consultants, the NVCA used very clear language to express their opposition to a rezoning and condo development proposal that would destroy 7 acres of wetlands.
The letter, which our group obtained from the NVCA through the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, concludes:
“NVCA staff are not in a position to support the proposed development from a regulatory perspective. […] Staff further advise that the proposed development faces major constraints associated with provincial planning policies, and is generally inconsistent with the Provincial Policy Statement. […] An alternative concept should be explored that does not include removal of the wetland communities from the subject lands.”
The NVCA comes to this conclusion after 11 pages outlining in detail how the developer’s responses to NVCA’s initial comments from earlier this year are inconsistent with the Provincial Policy Statement and inadequate to address the NVCA’s concerns on many levels.
For example, instead of removing vegetation and wetlands from the proposed site, the NVCA suggests that the site should be considered a “Significant Wildlife Habitat for the site’s status hosting a rare vegetation community and habitat of species of conservation concern.” In its response, the NVCA objects to several other claims made by the developer as to why this development should proceed and ends with a request to the developer to deliver a more detailed response, and changes to the proposed plan, that would address all the NVCAs concerns (read the full letter here).
The NVCA response leaves the developer with a steep hill to climb and really no option to proceed with the planned destruction of all the wetlands on the site for 215 units of residential housing. They would have to come up with a new development proposal that respects all existing wetlands including a 30 metre buffer around them, something that looks very different to the dense condo buildings and townhouses presently proposed.
The ball is now in the court of the developer. The Planning Department of the Town of Wasaga Beach has provided the developer with the many comments and questions received from the public, from other provincial agencies like the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), the NVCA, and the Town Planners themselves. It is now on the developer to prepare detailed responses, submit a change to their proposal – or potentially retract their application altogether. Until this happens, it is our understanding that the re-zoning application sits with the Town’s Planning department and would only be forwarded to Council for a decision after they have received an adequate response from the developer.
Our group Save Beachwood will continue to oppose this high-density rezoning proposal, and we sincerely hope that our Mayor Nina Bifolchi and our Council are aware of the fundamental opposition to this project by the NVCA and the public.