Density and traffic issues dominate Market Street development concerns


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15 Market Street Corp. partner Brett Nodwell (top left) assured members of the Town of Saugeen Shores planning committee during a virtual town hall meeting Feb. 22 that the planned development of a woodlot near Port Elgin beach would include affordable housing. [YouTube screen grab]
15 Market Street Corp. partner Brett Nodwell (top left) assured members of the Town of Saugeen Shores planning committee during a virtual town hall meeting Feb. 22 that the planned development of a woodlot near Port Elgin beach would include affordable housing. [YouTube screen grab]

Too many people. Too much cars. Not enough trees.


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These recurring concerns, and more, were voiced by residents and several councilors for the Town of Saugeen Shores during a February 22 statutory virtual meeting of the planning committee over the demands of 15 Market Street Corp. to develop its 4.2 hectare woodland site near the Port Elgin waterfront.

Fifteen residents expressed their opposition, raised concerns and asked questions about pedestrian and traffic safety, loss of wildlife habitat, impacts to woodland, character and compatibility of high density apartments and the need of affordable housing in the development – a deciding factor for Mayor Luc Charbonneau.

Bruce County Senior Planner Daniel Kingsbury detailed the official plan and zoning by-law changes required for 15 Market Street Corp. conservation uses dedicated to the City.

The 4.2 hectares of largely forested land on the corner of Market and Geddes streets, 100 meters from the beach, has been intended for residential development since the mid-1980s.

The size of the property makes it a significant woodlot where development is not permitted unless it will not negatively impact wildlife. The development requires a special provision following the recommendations of the environmental impact study and a tree retention plan to preserve 33% of the trees.

Planning consultant Ron Davidson, backed by developers Randy Von Heyking and Brett Nodwell, and consultant John Morton, said the current plan – the only one to have come this far in the planning process with a public meeting – is the third version, reached after the city rejected all single-family units on the site and “strongly suggested” that higher densities were needed, along with a “very large parcel” of land being dedicated to the city.


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“Apartments will be condominiums — they won’t be rented,” Davidson said, adding that 50 of the 150 one-, two- and three-bedroom units would be “in the affordable housing range.” Later, it was estimated that a 700 square foot one-bedroom apartment would cost $295,000.

Davison said they “do not disagree” with the line of thinking of critics who fear that even if the developer sells the units as affordable, there’s nothing stopping an investor or owner from flipping them for a higher price. high, but that puts the developer in a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t position themselves”.

“Landlords want to provide affordable housing. The city wants affordable housing, but we don’t really know what we’re supposed to do or say when the proposal to provide affordable housing comes into question,” Davison said, suggesting they stop focusing and talking. of affordable housing and look at the product itself and not the price at which it will sell,” he said.

Fourteen residents representing 15 property owners, mostly neighbors to the property, expressed their opposition and concerns and posed questions to planning staff and developers.

Following the public comments, several councilors expressed concerns and questions, including Coun. Matt Carr, who said he was “rather disappointed” that a traffic impact study was not recommended by staff, asked how council could request one.

Carr said he’s heard “a lot of complaints for ages” about traffic jams and speeding in the area where there are lots of small children.
“We’re going to add 400 to 500 (vehicles) movements a day in this little corner when we already have an awful little corner and we’re saying the road isn’t up to standard…” Carr said.


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City manager Kara Van Myall said the city engineer determined that a traffic impact study was not required on the application due to work that had just been completed. as part of the city’s main transportation plan, adding that staff would report back with additional information.

Deputy Vice Mayor Mike Myatt said a hydrogeological study was needed, as well as a transportation study before approving a development that could add 400 to 500 vehicles to the shopping area and make it “even more dangerous”.

Noting that the applicant wants relief from the city’s forest policies and that up to 70% of existing trees would be removed, Myatt asked staff why the approval made sense from a planning perspective and how his approval would not would have no impact on the natural heritage of the land.

Planner Kingsbury said it was still at the decision-making stage and had not yet made a recommendation on the significant woodland issue, but any decision would have to be in line with the county’s official plan of Bruce and provincial policies.

He noted that the city had twice in the past changed the 4 hectare policy to allow development on land considered significant woodland – one area is between Port Elgin and Southampton and the other north of the River Saugeen at Southampton.

In response to questions about the level of previous archaeological assessment carried out at the site following the discovery of Aboriginal human remains at the adjacent Nodwell Park site, Market Street Corp. planner Davidson said the Saugeen Ojibway Nation ( SON) had requested a new evaluation. his own archaeologist is watching, and SON wants to peer review some of the existing archaeological information.


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In conclusion, Mayor Luke Charbonneau said staff will respond to questions and concerns raised and that ultimately SON’s approval on the archaeological assessment of the highly sensitive site is required.
He said the inclusion of affordable housing in the development is “really critical” and he “cannot accept” previous comments that this was not going to happen with the development.
“I’m just not going to vote for new developments that don’t include affordable housing…” Charbonneau said, adding that he must also include rental housing.

“I think the developer should bring us some accessibility here and it should be real accessibility and that, to me, is the bottom line,” the mayor said, adding that he wasn’t targeting this developer. , but it is the same for each and every new development. .

Charbonneau said they needed to find a balance between residential development and preserving important woodlots. He pointed to the Biener Bush in northeast Port Elgin where a significant number of homes have been and will be built and 80 acres of forest has been given to the town and protected forever.

He suggested the developers reconsider their plans to determine if they are “appropriately respecting a significant forest in this location and whether, if so, they might be overdoing it in terms of what they offer and the amount of wood they’re getting out…” Charbonneau said.

Developer Nodwell said that from day one their goal has been to work with the municipality to deliver what the public wants and needs, and affordability is their “main focus”.

Comments and questions regarding the 15 Market Street Corp. can be sent to: [email protected]

In the words of their owner: Some comments made by residents during the public meeting.


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