Setting Precedent for High Density in the West End
In January 2021, Beachwood Development Inc. submitted applications for an Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment and Draft Plan of Vacant Land Condominium for the lands located along Beachwood Road between Shore Lane and 74th Street North, in the Town of Wasaga Beach. The Draft Plan of Vacant Land Condominium will facilitate development of 33 units for single detached dwellings, 48 units for Townhouses, and approximately 134 units for high density development in the form of condominium units in 2-6 storey buildings.
Site of the proposed development
The 14-acre site along Beachwood Road west of 74th Street and south of Shore Lane includes 7 acres of NVCA protected wetlands.
The white spot in this area marks where the developer has already cleared, drained and filled part of those protected wetlands without permits, and had subsequently been fined by the NVCA.
If approved, the developers applications have the following consequences:
Proposal allows for 215 residential units on less than 6 hectares
The current proposal includes two 6-storey condo towers towards the east adjacent to properties on 74th St and Shore Lane, 48 units in Townhouses along Beachwood Road, and 33 detached homes on 30ft lots. Even the applied-for exceptions for the current R1 zoning would reduce lot frontage minimums of detached homes by 25% to 9m / 30ft, and lot sizes by almost 50% to 250 sqm / 2,700 sqft - tiny lots optimized for maximum density and profits.
Re-zoning permits any future purchaser of the property to increase density even more
Once the application for re-zoning the property has been approved, the present owner might decide to sell the property to a third party developer who could use a R4-X zoning to increase the density to even more units
Building would irrevocably destroy Class 1 / Class 2 NVCA protected wetlands
Those wetlands are not only habitat to existing vegetation and wildlife, they are also critical in buffering water levels and prevent flooding along Shore Lane during periods of spring snowmelt or heavy rain.
Add hundreds of new residents to a residential-only area
The proposed density would add hundreds of new residents to an area with virtually no existing retail business, no groceries or schools nearby, no amenities or healthcare providers, and access to only a 25ft wide stretch of public beach. It will also add pressure on an already stretched water, sewer and drainage infrastructure.
Fundamentally change the fabric and feel of this community
The area at the very western end of Wasaga Beach is quiet with with leafy green, narrow roads and is home to a tight-knit community. Adding shoebox condos and houses on tiny lots will irrevocably change the nature of this neighbourhood - without any benefit to the community as a whole.
Set a precedent for transformation of the entire West End
There are various other developers who brought forward their own proposals for additional high-density development along Beachwood Road. Approving this proposal without regard for the tenets of good urban planning will set a precedent that will be very difficult for the Town to walk back in the future.