Springer Ponds Development

Standard

On January 25, 2017 a public meeting was held to speak about an application from Springer Ponds Development Inc. where they sought to receive approval for a draft subdivision plan, along with a zoning by-law amendment. Here are the:

That evening, though some will tell you otherwise, nothing was approved.

During the public meeting we heard from the property owner/applicant, many concerned residents in the area, municipal staff, and Councillors on topics such as:

  • The applicant’s financial capacity to complete any site works and related road works
  • The length of time required to complete the works
  • The potential for the pond to be partially filled in (based on past proposals that have since been withdrawn, but were included in the January 25 package anyway)
  • How the applicant planned to have the new lots developed
  • The potential for infringing on another neighbour’s property rights, whom also owns part of the pond
  • Noise, pollution, and related matters
  • Where water that drains from the pond goes (it seems to drain to the larger pond south of Glendon Dr, and then over to the ponds west of Komoka Rd)
  • And other concerns!

There was a lot of back and forth. Ultimately the staff recommendation put forth was to defer approving anything until staff had an opportunity to come up with a list of conditions. That is what was approved; to have staff develop a list of recommendations before reviewing the application and zoning by-law amendment again.

Again, for clarity: the draft subdivision plan and zoning by-law amendments have not been approved.

For me, personally, I’m not someone who allows themselves to be subject to “slippery slope” type issues. The owner of the property is currently seeking to sever the property he owns along Springer St in order to accommodate new homes, and based on what he said during the meeting, sell those lots to individuals/couples and have those folks find their own builders.

Regardless of what the property owner eventually applies for to do along Glendon Drive or Queen St, I will review and assess those applications individually when the time comes. They are not up for review right now as they were withdrawn.

As for the trees that were cut down on the property last week, neither Middlesex Centre, Middlesex County, or the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority had any legal manner to stop that. The property is not designated a significant woodland, nor is it designated a wetland. We were legally powerless to stop it. The property owner later informed us that he was only having dead trees cut down, but I have received information stating otherwise. Regardless, we couldn’t do anything about that.

Moving forward I will be keeping a keen eye on the conditions recommended, any changes to the plans, further variances/amendments requested, and ensuring I listen to the affected residents, and anyone else who can provide pertinent information or opinions, to ensure the best outcome is achieved.

Comprehensive Look at Glendon Drive Shopping Plaza

Standard

If you’re already familiar with the information below, you can fill out this second survey now.

The reason for this evening’s zoning by-law amendment variance request is that the developer is asking Council to reduce the minimum requirement that 65% of the lot frontage of the property include building façades, from 65% to 32%. We got down to 65% after previously approving a reduction from 75%. So, Maverick is essentially asking Council to approve a reduction from 75% building façades, down to 32% building façades fronting Glendon Drive. They also want to increase the maximum front yard setback from 1.5m to 4.75m.

This is, obviously, a huge change and drastically decreases the municipality’s ability to achieve the vision for this property where you would feel like you’re walking in a nice, well-kept, urban environment with sidewalks, trees, and building façades near you.

Think of the best downtown you’ve ever been to. That’s what all the Municipality’s aims and plans for this area are trying to achieve.

Yesterday I put out a survey that looked at a very simplified version of the current site and landscaping plan. Overwhelmingly, many people like the current iteration. That’s great, I’m glad folks like it. I wanted to put together a bit more information and context after reading the full motion to make sure I get a more holistic perspective from residents.

Screenshot of current site plan.

Click the blueprint to view the full set of architectural drawings for the site, as currently envisioned by Maverick Developments.

And here are the elevation drawings I was provided last week. You can see that, for the most part, this is very much similar to the suburban plazas found in areas like Hyde Park Rd & Fanshawe Park Rd in London, and the Southdale Rd and Wonderland Rd S area of London.

So, now that you have a bit more context, please answer this new, short survey so that I can make a more informed vote at Council tonight on whether people are happy with only 32% of the lot frontage being building façades, or whether

Latest Information on Pumping Station and Kilworth Wastewater Treatment Facility

Map of Kilworth, Ontario
Standard

This is the current lay of the land. Middlesex Centre (MXC) staff and Council all want to see the Kilworth WWTF decommissioned as quickly as my neighbours who live even closer to it than I do, and are affected by it more than me. I can walk there in three minutes. I sympathize.

If you have follow-up questions after reading recent information from the Kilworth-Komoka Ratepayers Association and this post, or something you saw on Facebook, I would be happy to do my best to clear anything up for you. My contact information can be found on MXC’s website.

Some Background

The Kilworth Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) was upgraded in 2008 to use the membrane technology currently in use. At the time, the upgrade was done to handle all existing Kilworth wastewater flows. MXC’s Master Servicing Plan – dated April 2010, prepared by Stantec Consulting, and endorsed by the Council at the time – recommended that all future growth of Kilworth be supported by a new pumping station, as identified in the Kilworth Wastewater Outlet Schedule ‘B’ Class Environmental Assessment dated November 27, 2013, which was prepared by Delcan. This new pumping station is planned to be located within South Winds Development’s Edgewater Estates subdivision.

Once they are built, the new pumping station and forcemain will support all existing and future wastewater flows from Kilworth, which will ultimately be pumped to the recently expanded (2011) Komoka WWTF.

What’s Happening Now

The costs associated with building the new Kilworth pumping station and forcemain will, in the end, be shared three ways between MXC, South Winds, and Don Black Investments, with the costs being divided based on wastewater flow contribution. As I’m writing this, MXC remains in negotiation over the subdivision and cost sharing agreement with South Winds. Construction cannot proceed before the agreement is finalized and signed by all parties, at which time all required subdivision servicing will be completed to said pumping station.

Once the proposed works are constructed, the Environmental Compliance Assessment (ECA) recently received from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) does not have an expiry date. Based on the recommendations of the Natural Environment Report detailed in the Environmental Assessment, the timing of actual construction activities should be restricted to between October 1 and March 15 to avoid adverse affects on aquatic ecosystems, ground animals, and nesting activities of sensitive bird species that are present in Komoka Provincial Park.

Therefore, as soon as we can get shovels into the ground, we will. We have every hope, and anticipate, this will start in 2017. However, as stated above, there are a few more kinks to work out in the subdivision and cost sharing agreement. If there was a way to move more quickly, I assure you we would have pursued it by now. But have heart, we will get it done!

Upcoming Public Meetings on January 25, 2017

Standard

Municipal staff recently notified me that there are several public meetings coming up during the January 25, 2017 Council Meeting. These usually start at 7pm, so you don’t need to attend the whole meeting.

If you review these and want to ask me any questions, please feel free to do so via Twitter, Facebook, email, or phone.

If you have any feedback at all, let me know!

Community Energy Plan Stakeholder Engagement Meeting

Standard

Christian Tham, Middlesex Centre’s Embedded Energy Manager, hosted a get together on October 25, 2016 to show off what the municipality has been doing to reduce its energy usage, the results of its efforts, a brief review of the results of a survey Christian put out to the community, and then a discussion on what residents of Middlesex Centre can be in their businesses and homes to help reduce energy usage.

Background

The Community Energy Plan will not be a bylaw, it will not be something to be enforced. It’s going to be a set of guidelines, a plan, for residents, businesses, and other organizations in the municipality to follow in order to help reduce their energy usage. A discussion primer was sent out to survey participants.

Amongst those in attendance were an executive on the Ilderton Fair Board, along with his wife (I didn’t catch their names), the Financial Controller of Coldstream Concrete, a Councillor for Newbury, Middlesex Centre staff like Al Marsman, Brian Lima, Christian Tham, Michelle Smibert, and finally folks from Middlesex Centre council like Mayor Edmondson, Councillor DeViet (now Deputy Mayor as of November 3), and Councillor Berze.

The Meeting

As mentioned, Christian sent out a survey ahead of time to find out what citizens were already doing to reduce their energy usage, other actions they feel could be taken to further reduce energy use, and so on. He said there was a “tremendous response,” much higher than other online feedback initiatives the municipality has conducted. One major highlight is that 91% of the people surveyed were very concerned, or extremely concerned, about energy costs.

I’ve got a few highlights from Christian’s presentation, which I’ve linked to here:

  • Commercial or Industrial sector can get up to 40% of cost to build on-site energy generation with natural gas covered
  • Middlesex Centre’s conversion to LED is saving $97,000 per year; the municipality received $85,000 in incentives from Hydro One to help pay for the conversion
  • It will only take 4.5 years to achieve pay back on the investment
  • Municipal office has been converted to LED too, seeing $8,795.12 per year savings, with pay back in just over a year
  • Middlesex Centre’s newest fire hall will be a Net Zero Energy/Carbon building
  • FCM Green Fund is paying for all of green/renewable/sustainable measures put in place; the fire wall will use 55,800 kWh and generate 70,600 kWh using solar
  • No energy storage on-site, it will use power from the grid when needed
  • Regulation 391/11 mandates municipalities lowering their GHG emissions and reporting on steps taken

Questions & Answers/Idea Discussion

A Q&A portion followed, which led to the discussion Christian wanted to have around what other steps we all can be taking to reduce energy usage (which Christian was going to use to help inform the Community Energy Plan). Unfortunately the Q&A turned into a session for people to complain about high hydro rates, water and wastewater lifecycle charges, the municipality taking advantage of the FIT program and placing solar panels on the roof of the Wellness Centre, and so on.

While I am someone who encourages having these types of discussions, they were well outside the purview of this meeting. And, unfortunately, some of the issues were outside the purview of a municipal council that doesn’t have any control over electricity rates. A few of the notes I made during this time:

  • A resident in a very rural area wants to know where all the money comes from; answer: taxpayers, of course
  • Environmental Registry has document laying out technology, methodology, and review for people who want to engage in co-generation, microFIT, etc.
  • Hydro One is supposed to refer you to energy generation methods available if you want to engage in co-generation, microFIT, etc.

Overall, I’m confident Christian didn’t quite get what he was looking for at the meeting, which is unfortunate. I am, however, hopeful that he got enough information and feedback through the survey to assemble an effective Community Energy Plan.