Proposed Regulation of Outdoor Furnaces
Since the issue was first addressed in June 2007, Council has been aware of concerns about lack of regulation of outdoor furnaces, or “outdoor solid fuel combustion appliances”, as they are formally named. There were concerns that too many such furnaces were being installed in built-up areas where their emissions could affect nearby residents. Property owners expressed fears that toxic materials might be used as fuel. At that time, Council considered a planning department recommendation for a zoning by-law to regulate placement of these devices, and decided that more discussion was needed.
In January 2012, the matter was brought to the Committee of the Whole, which could not reach consensus. Fast forward to February 2017, when Council asked the Planning Department to draft a by-law to regulate these appliances, and also asked the building department to create a permit system similar to the wood stove permit system.
This week, following impassioned pleas from residents Mary Royer and her neighbour Jim Varrette, who described the discomforts they endure because of the smoke from a nearby outdoor furnace, Planner Lindsay Mills submitted a full report, with draft bylaw and zoning recommendations. These addressed: setbacks from lot lines and other accessory buildings and trees; installation requirements and listing of permissible and non-permissible fuels. They also recommended prohibiting operation from May 1st until October. Discussion followed, with Council finally agreeing to refer the issue to the Corporate Services Committee, for further tweaking of the proposed by-law.
Unfortunately for Royer and Varrette, any regulations which might be approved will not have jurisdiction over currently existing furnaces.
Council turned down an application to purchase a 4.77 acre parcel of parkland on SIlverwood Lane near Loughborough Lake which was dedicated as part of a 1978 subdivision agreement. Planner Mills commented that this same request has been refused twice before.
Repairs to Fermoy Hall
Councillor Revill reported that he and Councillor Barr had met with a group of Bedford residents to review the proposed repairs needed to maintain Fermoy Hall as a safe and inviting meeting place. The goal is to use the hall on a seasonal basis from mid-May to Thanksgiving. Estimates for the work fall within the funds budgeted, and Council agreed the work could proceed.
Province Developing “Affordable Housing Act”
Mills provided the Committee with an overview of the New Provincial legislation which, when passed, will require amendments to the Township’s Official Plan to include policies aimed at increasing the supply of ‘affordable’ housing in the Township. This new legislation is expected to include initiatives to support creation of secondary suites in single detached houses. Council agreed that this can be deferred until the Township’s Official Plan is next reviewed.
Future of Wolfe Lake Solar Power Project Uncertain
On the day of Council meeting, the Township received notice that the applicant has decided not to proceed with the Wolfe Lake solar farm project, as the property is being sold. Nonetheless, delegate Pam Vaughan spoke to Council of her opposition to the proposal, on the grounds that it would be unsightly, noisy, destructive of the soil, harmful to tourism, and possibly desecrating an archaeological site.
She asked whether the project would still be coming forward with a new owner. CAO Orr said he couldn’t answer this, for it is not known whether or not the solar company’s lease was particular to the previous owner, or is tied to the property itself, in which case the proposal could possibly be resubmitted.