Opponents of the Johnston Point 15 lot development on Loughborough Lake have not given up the fight. The development received draft approval from the Ontario Municipal Board over a year ago last spring.
That approval included a number of conditions that need to be met by the applicant, Magenta Waterfront Development Corporation, before the plan can be approved and the lots created. Among those are conditions related to endangered species at that location. Early in November, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) posted a notice on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) web site. The notice concerns a so-called “overall benefit” permit that the ministry is intending to issue regarding two species at risk that have been identified on the 36 acre parcel known as Johnston’s Point. It relates to two species, the Gray (aka Black) Ratsnake and the Blandings Turtle.
If the ministry issues the permit, it will be based on a commitment by the applicant to take measures to offset any harm that is done to the habitat with greater measures to improve the habitat, achieving an “overall benefit”.
A delegation on Tuesday Night (November 28) urged Council to support their opposition to the “Overall Benefit” permit on the grounds that two other species at risk have been identified at Johnston’s Point, bats and whip-poor-wills.
“The benefit permit completely disregards significant evidence gathered by citizens of South Frontenac regarding the presence of at least two more species: Little Brown Myotis Bats (Endangered), as well as Eastern Whip-poor-will (Species at Risk)” said Roel Vertegaal in a letter to council.
The Eastern Whip-poor-will was mentioned in the draft condominium approval from the OMB. One of the conditions was the delivery of a study concerning the presence of whip-poor-will. The opponents presented a report that they commissioned, which was prepared by Cambium Engineering, which found whip-poor-wills on the site on three sampling dates in June, 6 on one night, 16 on another, and 11 on a third.
The report also says that there is “probable breeding” within the proposed condominium area.
It also concludes: “The General Habitat Description for the Eastern Whip-poor-will states that an area extending 500 meters from the centre of defended territories is considered part of the general habitat for this species. Therefore, the entirety of the peninsula is considered Eastern Whip-poor-will habitat under the ESA [Endangered Species Act] and damaging or destroying the forested areas without appropriate authorization is prohibited.”
While the conditions for the approval of the condominium are being worked on, some of the lots that have not yet been created have been sold. As well, work has been proceeding on a road that will access those lots.
The development is also being marketed by a corporation called Boneliving, which builds what it calls “Net-Zero Energy Ready High Performance Homes” out of steel “on unique lots”.
In addition to the proposed Johnston’s Point development, Boneliving lists properties on Sweetfern Lane on Inverary Lake.
Evonne Potts, one of the opponents of the project, told the News that she is concerned about the amount of roadwork and shoreline work that has already been done at the site when the condominium approval is still pending.
Joe Gallivan, Manager of Planning for Frontenac County, said that while there are limits to work that can be done on properties before planning is completed in some jurisdictions, there is little in place in South Frontenac to limit that kind of work. He also said that selling lots that have not yet been created but are in process can be done, although the sales are by necessity conditional on planning approval.
Council voted to enter into an agreement with GREC’s aerial drone program. Wade Leonard, who teaches the program, said they were prepared to collect data for the Township in return for permission to use Township property to take off and land.
“We are fully Transport Canada compliant and carry insurance from the school board,” Leonard said. “We need places to fly and data to collect. “It’s really authentic if we have a real problem to solve.”
He suggested things like spotting beaver dams and giving an aerial view of proposed developments etc. Coun. Tom Dewey suggested the Township’s Baker Valley property (where the new trails are located) might be a good place to start. Council directed staff to start thinking of potential projects for the program.
When Mayor Frances Smith asked Council if they had anything to report, Coun. Bill MacDonald stepped up and said: “The Leafs are in first place and I haven’t been able to say that in a long time.” “How many games?” said Smith. “Doesn’t matter,” said Mac- Donald.
Actually, at the time of Tuesday’s Council meeting, the Leafs trailed the Tampa Bay Lightning by a point (15 points to 14 points for the Leafs) in the NHL’s Atlantic Division. (Update from the sports desk - Lightening 17 points, Leafs 14 points.)
In a detailed report to Council, Manager for Economic Development Richard Allan outlined the expected costs for completion of the K&P trail between the CN rail crossing at Tichborne to the Sharbot Lake junction with the Trans- Canada trail. He said that “In December of 2016 construction began on the Tichborne to Sharbot Lake portion of the K&P Trail with the support of $247,000 of matching funding from the Canada 150 Infrastructure program (CIP 150)” and at this point about 3.5 kilometres out of the 13.8 kilometre section are complete and there is only about $65,000 remaining in the budget. “It is important to note that this work was undertaken prior to the identification of the final route through the land acquisition process, and the estimated development costs were largely based on developing rail bed in generally good condition to a trail state.
Costs for rerouting of trail bed or in the case of failed land acquisition can be significant, and were not planned for during the project development stage due to the lack of clarity around a final trail route,” Allan said in his report. Now that the land purchases necessary for the completion of the trail are complete and the scope of work to complete the trail is clear, Allan’s report sets out a schedule and costs. It will cost about $300,000 to complete those sections that are straightforward by the end of this year. Three more complicated sections will not be completed until about this time next year, and will cost an additional $355,000. The total budget shortfall sits at $595,000. (The land purchase for the 22 parcels of trail that were located on privately held land are not included in these prices as they came from a $300,000 pool of money that was allocated by Frontenac County Council this past spring. The exact costs of the land parcels that were purchased have not been divulged.)
In a telephone interview Allan said that the numbers in this week’s report are what he called “high level” numbers because a lot of the work depends on the state of the terrain on trickier sections of the trail, but that they will be sufficient to get the trail completed. “I don’t want to be going back to County Council asking for even more money to complete this project” he said. He identified possible funding sources, including the Trillium Foundation, and municipal infrastructure funding for portions of the trail that require road work. But the most likely source grant of funds would seem to be the Trans Canada Trail itself. In March, the federal government committed $30 million over 5 years towards completion and improvements to the national trail. The next application deadline for those funds is September 30. Allan suggested that the county raise whatever amount it must come up on its own through a loan from Infrastructure Ontario. “This is consistent with county policies regarding long term infrastructure. It spreads out the payments and ensures that people who use the trail in the future will help pay the costs instead of the current ratepayers shouldering all the burden,” he said.
Back on June 15, 1984, seniors in Arden and Kennebec planted a pine tree to commemorate not only the seniors of the day, but also descendants of those present who represented the original pioneers of the area.
However, nobody really envisioned a day when the tree would get as large as it did nor when needles and cones would cover steps and the ramp, making wet and/or icy conditions all that more treacherous for seniors and others wanting to access Kennebec Hall. Also, the bigger the tree got, the more light it blocked adding increased darkness to an already slippery situation.
So, the District 1 (Kennebec) Rec Committee, along with G. E. Matson & Sons/Kennebec Tree and Lawn Services got together last Monday morning to knock it down.
The pine tree was replaced with two cedars. There were no costs to the Township for removal or replacement of the tree.
“The lady at the store said they won’t get much bigger than 10 feet high and they can be easily trimmed,” said Lorne Harrison.
Rec Committee chair Wanda Harrison said a branch of the tree will be milled and a plaque attached commemorating the 1984 seniors as well as the 2017 seniors who planted the new trees.
Several attendees at the ceremony went home with bundles of pine cones from the old tree.
A lot of people who live in rural areas value their privacy. For those living on lakes, privacy is hard to come by. That view of the water brings a view of other people with it. There are next door neighbours, across the bay neighbours, and boaters and fishers buzzing along the lake whenever they want to.
The attitude of lakefront property owners, and this is played out in planning applications throughout Frontenac County all the time, is basically “last one in bar the door”.
This is not irrational, it is not wrongheaded of people. It is in fact clear-headed. The moment someone buys a piece of waterfront property, whatever they see and hear when they walk out their door on the first sunny morning, is exactly what they have purchased and what they expect to enjoy. Any change is not in their interest.
Now, being realists people know they can not oppose others from buying and selling property and building according to a set of rules that are reasonable for all. One new cottage on a legally constituted lot on a lake, built according to zoning bylaw standards, will not ruin a lake, but a hundred built in a poorly designed subdivision or land use condominium just might.
The role of local township officials is to work with developers in order to make sure that before any proposal that makes it to the stage where it will face public scrutiny it is in a state where a path forward for approving it is there. There may be further changes required, there may be further studies to be done, but everything should be clear, both to the developer and to the public. And there are lots of complicating factors when it comes to balancing out environmental interests for clean water and a robust, diverse watershed with development pressures.
A couple of weeks ago, proponents of a plan of condominium on Loughborough Lake in South Frontenac found out that their proposal, which has been in the works for at least a couple of years, has been put on hold. The reason is that the township planners took a boat ride near the shoreline where the new development was to be located and measured the depth of the water, finding that it is a shallow water body and different rules will have to apply.
Over in North Frontenac the impact of a spawning bed, as well as a shallow shoreline, will surely be felt by proponents of a plan of subdivision on Ardoch Lake. In the case of Ardoch Lake there is an organized opposition to the development, willing to fund their own studies.
The system for evaluating these proposals, is becoming, at least in theory, more consistent and transparent. Township and county planning staff need to work together in a co-ordincated way because township zoning and site plans as well as county planning approvals are always required in every case.
The decision to form a county planning committee, and to include each of the township Mayor’s on that committee, is already beginning to pay off because the committee has political authority. This is in our collective interest because although some of us are lukewarm at best to the idea of development, we cannot thrive as communities without growth. South Frontenac just lost their new manager of development services after 6 months, just when the impact of that position was starting to be felt, which is unfortunate but progress has been made and that should continue.
When it comes down to it, we are all NIMBY’s and why shouldn’t we be.
We all enjoy our properties the way they are. The political system is all about mediating between the NIMBY impulse and a need for growth and the need to be a fair jurisdiction for investment even if there are stringent rules to follow. We also must ensure that environmental regulations are in place both at the time when planning is taking place, and through enforcement later on.
It will never be simple or easy in rural areas and particular on the water but it can be a fair process, although it takes time for the process to be followed and provincial regulations need to be changed to reflect that.
There will always be winners and losers in any planning process on the water. There will be anger and controversy along the way. The trick is to allow for development and protect the lakes and the life that they support in their waters and on their shorelines.
South Frontenac Council report from September 5
(note – the following article was prepared on September 5, and would normally have been published on September 7, but as the result of Labour Day and staff holidays it was not published until today.
South Frontenac Council met again as a Committee of the Whole on September 12. Our report on that meeting can be found on page 3) Council’s agenda indicated that Forbes Symon, Manager of Development Services, would be presenting a list of Township conditions of draft plan approval for the Shield Shores draft plan of condominium on Loughborough Lake. (One of the controversial issues has been the developer’s proposal to put right-of-ways across waterfront lots in order to provide water access to back-lots.) However, Symon said that he was recommending the report be deferred, because of late breaking news; “I apologize for the lateness of this, but it’s significant, serious information.”
He explained that the proposed development’s proximity to a shallow waterbody had not been addressed by either the developer or the County’s planning department. On this date (Sept 5/17) Symon and Mills, the Township planner, had gone to the development waterfront by boat, and using GPS and sonar, had determined that even with the current high water on Dog Lake none of the water within 30 metres of shore was no deeper than 6’ to 10’. This means it would be defined as a shallow waterbody, and as such might require significant reconfiguration of the proposed lots to provide larger frontages. Symon said a deferral would give the developer time to address this issue. Mayor Vandewal agreed, saying it was preferable to hold off all discussion of the proposal until this current finding had been incorporated into it. He added, “Not too long ago, we were measuring water depth with an oar; sonar and GPS sounds very professional after that!” Shoreline Rehabilitation Completed Also on Loughborough Lake, a 2001 development agreement on a large property on Brittara Lane had required the property be managed so that the natural soil and vegetation would be maintained, replanted or enhanced within 30 metres of the lake.
In 2011, the Planning Department was informed that vegetation had been removed, earth disturbed and a structure constructed, all within the 30 metre setback and without any permits. After consultation with the property owner and Conservation Authority, an environmentalist was contracted (at the owner’s expense) to prepare a report outlining a remediation plan. Two years later, when the work was still not carried out, a hiding ‘h’ was placed on the lot’s zoning to prevent any further development of the property. The shoreline rehabilitation has now been judged satisfactorily accomplished, so at Forbes’ recommendation, Council removed the ‘h’ restriction, so a residence can be built. Councillor Revill asked about the paving stones still stacked near the shore; Forbes noted that his department will continue to monitor the property. Heritage Committee Proposal Council welcomed Symon’s recommendation that the Township create a Heritage Committee with the emphasis on promoting and celebrating the area’s heritage and history.
All respondents to Symon’s original surveys had been quite clear that they weren’t interested a heavy-handed committee that imposed restrictions on properties. Council will be seeking committee members who have one or more of the following skill sets: demonstrated interest in heritage conservation and an ability to work with Council; an understanding of heritage conservation approaches, knowledge of historical research, knowledge of heritage construction trades, expertise in architectural history; knowledge of land use planning, understanding of municipal procedures, and other related skills. Bedford Road Reconstruction Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth recommended accepting Bricaza Corporation’s tender bid for road reconstruction and storm drainage on Bedford Road just north of Sydenham. The bid of $1,490,941 (including HST) was lower than the other four bids by almost $200,000, Bricaza Corp. is known as a reputable contractor who has done good quality work for this and neighbouring townships over the past several years.
Work on Bedford Road has been planned for this fall and next spring, to avoid the much heavier summer traffic on this strip of road, and to take advantage of the slower construction seasons. The total project budget of $1,800,000 is being spread over two budget years. Council supported Segsworth’s decision to apply for a top-up support grant from the Ontario Infrastructure Fund, in spite of the Township’s frustrating record of having been passed over for similar funding assistance. New Deputy Treasurer Council approved Treasurer Louise Fragnito’s request for a by-law to officially recognize the hiring of Stephanie Kuca as Deputy Treasurer, to replace Suzanne Quenneville who retired at the end of July. Kuca won the position over a number of other applicants in a thorough assessment process that included skills testing and interviews by three senior staff. Outdoor Furnace By-law On Side of Caution The new Outdoor Solid Fuel Burning Appliances (OSFBA) by-law does not permit any such appliances in hamlet areas, in spite of some arguments in favour of doing so. New grades of particulate matter emission standards (PM certified) appliances are considered much cleaner-burning than most of the current operating OSFBAs, but staff recommended takinjg a more cautious approach, and council agreed.