I arrived at Mondays council meeting just in time to catch the Pretty River Estates rezoning discussion. What this is all about is the developer wants to rezone some of the lots for town homes and I guess during a public meeting some residents of the subdivision stated that they do not want this type of housing in the subdivision because that was not what was on the original site plan. I usually switch off during any of the subdivision zoning items, I like the meat and potatoes rec facility, grain terminals, mushroom farms. But as the discussion and deputations went on I got more and more engrossed in it. Each councilor gave their boiler plate answer “ Can’t support this I support the residents”. Then it was Keith Hulls turn to speak. He said something to the effect of “ In this challenging real estate market and with this subdivision struggling for sales, the developer should be given an opportunity to rezone part of the site plan in order to move things along. The residents are better off if this generates sales and gets houses built rather than as is with 70% of the subdivision undeveloped”. He also stated “Being as the provincial government has legislated higer density in residential developments a negative vote would probably get appealed and rescinded at OMB”. As usual Keith Hull was the grown up in the room. That vote went 8 – 1 against zoning change. The mayor also reminded Keith that we do not make decisions based on whether they will be appealed at the OMB.
This really got me thinking today. I drove past and stopped at that subdivision this evening. It’s the one on the North side of Poplar just east of 124. It looks like one of those post nuclear landscapes with a smattering of houses here and there. I had to laugh when I thought about Mr. Chadwick’s comment “ I can’t support this because there is no allowance for green space”. If he went and looked at the project there’s lots of green space and will be for many years to come.
Are you a home owner? If you are you should rue every one of these subdivisions in the outer reaches of town that have been approved by this town council and the previous administrations. These things sit undeveloped with lots of product available and continue to stunt the growth in price of your home. Unfortunately town councils, this one and most others, are addicted to the revenue the development charges generate and they seem to never give any thought to whether the local market can accommodate the extra housing stock. In the meantime we have to look at these blighted barely started subdivisions for years while they all fight over ever decreasing buyers. I suggest that Pretty River Estates and the other one on the west side of 124 should never have been approved in the first place and should still be farmer’s fields.