As open houses for official plan updates go, Saturday’s Central Frontenac meeting was rather well attended, with about 45 people who weren’t staff or Council members showing up to listen to what community planner Megan Ruekwald and Frontenac County director of planning and economic development Joe Gallivan had to say and to pepper them with questions.
“It’s a really good turnout and it’s good to hear that the community seems to have the same concerns about protecting the environment as Council does,” said Coun. Bill MacDonald. “It looks like the community if for sustainable development and I really think science is going to solve any septic problems we might have.”
The presentation was broken down into four areas — Settlement Areas, Affordable Housing, Waterfront Lot sizes and Sharbot Lake.
On Waterfront lots, Gallivan proposed that they could potentially be a little smaller than currently allowed but he also advocated some sort of site plan controls.
“In other words, you don’t get an occupancy permit until all the conditions are met,” he said.
He said that from a study that’s been recently completed, roughly two-thirds of Frontenac County assessment is on private roads and “90 per cent of existing private roads are not available for new development.”
But perhaps the most relevant parts of the new Official Plan pertain to the hamlet of Sharbot Lake.
“What’s most important is the future of Sharbot Lake and Hwy 7,” he said.
Citing the Ministry of Transport’s proposals to turn Hwy 7 into four lanes from Peterborough to Ottawa, Gallivan said there’s a danger of Sharbot Lake becoming a “drive-by area,” and urged residents to give feedback on their ideas.
“Is it time to have a say, especially when it comes to pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly areas?” he said.
Other topics they’re looking for feedback on were White Lake, Kennebec Parkland, Via Rail proposals and trailers on vacant lots, both in settlement areas and waterfront lots.
Coun. Tom Dewey said that given the interest in this open house, perhaps they should have another before the final document goes to Council for approval.
“It’s good to see the interest,” Dewey said. “It looks like maybe we should have another open house.”