Concession 3 Trailer Park Proposal: An Update
By Judith Grant & Jack Ellis
Most of our readers have followed the issue of the trailer and amusement park proposed by Dr. Donald Stubbs just west of County Road 29, south of Concession 3. The proposal calls for some 290 sites for trailers or RVs, tents and group camping, 10 cabins for year-round use, a treatment center and diverse recreation and amusement outlets. The “park’s” potential population would exceed that of Wyevale, in a part of the Township where our Official Plan says that there are to be no new subdivisions. Because previous Councils, starting with one chaired by Anthony Lancia as Mayor, did not reject the proposal as being in conflict with the Official Plan, it has moved forward ever since.
The current Council was preparing to go to an OMB hearing on the matter, but decided instead to negotiate major changes with the developer. This led to Minutes of Settlement being drawn up by the respective lawyers, and the Township is no longer a party to any OMB proceedings.
FoTTSA and the County of Simcoe, however, are not satisfied with this potentially precedent-setting situation, and are proceeding through the OMB process. The first events were OMB pre-hearings, held on March 9th and June 13th, at which the Federation established itself as a “party” through Mr. Karl Jaffary, a well-known municipal lawyer.
The Minutes signed by Council just before the OMB’s June pre-hearing conference exclude paint ball, but do not deal with other matters of serious concern. Dr. Stubbs is still allowed to install 290 seasonal sites for tents and trailers, seasonal group camping, and 10 cabins for year round use). The settlement also allows significant parts of the proposed development to occupy land currently zoned Agricultural. Key words like “trailer” and “group camping” and “seasonal” are not defined.
At that Conference, we learned that the County of Simcoe had not signed Minutes of Settlement with Dr. Stubbs regarding road arrangements for the development.
In August, the Township held a public meeting on a proposed omnibus Business Licensing By-law, which includes requirements for Campgrounds. The Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations recommended that the definition of “Recreation Vehicle” not include a mobile home or any similar trailer, and this has been accepted into the new by-law.
At the third (and last) pre-hearing on September 21st, the actual Hearing was set for May 1-9, 2007. Final issues and expert witness lists are to be prepared by the County and by the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations by March 1, 2007.
At this time, we learned that Minutes of Settlement had still not been signed between the County and Dr. Stubbs and that the County is now concerned not only about road arrangements around the proposed development but also about the use of prime agricultural land for a parking/reception area, a use which is in clear contravention of the Provincial Policy Statement regarding agricultural land.
Our list of issues, which was submitted to the other parties at the end of August, and which will go forward to the hearing unless a settlement is reached, is designed to confine the proposed development to the part of Lot 25 that has rural zoning and to keep all the proposed uses off Lot 24, which is prime agricultural land. (The uses proposed for prime agricultural land at the moment include access driveways, parking lot, recreational trails, farm tours, and check-in facilities.
We have expressed our opposition to various aspects of this proposed development at every opportunity – in presentations at two public meetings, in deputations to Council, and now at the OMB.
We are concerned about the precedent this development will set for use of agricultural land not far away from the shore and we are very concerned about its overpowering size in a rural area.
Opposing ill-advised developments like this one is expensive. So far, it has cost us well over $10,000 to commission reports from two planners to tell us how best to oppose the proposed development and to employ an excellent municipal lawyer to present our case to the Ontario Municipal Board.
Membership fees bring in only a little more than $2,000 annually. We anticipate total costs of at least $25,000 before the battle is over. A number of our member associations and two individuals have made generous contributions, but we are facing a substantial shortfall.
We urge you to fill in the form below and make a generous donation. Contributions will be gratefully acknowledged on www.tinycottager.org (unless individuals prefer not to be listed). All sizes of donations, including modest ones, are welcome.