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Big Bay Point plans passed by council

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In Innisfil
Jan 30th, 2010
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By Chris Simon Innisfil Scope January 27 2010
Big Bay Point Resort has taken a significant step forward.
Town council unanimously passed bylaws that will allow preliminary work to begin on the 235-hectare resort, once specific site conditions have been met. If approval of those conditions are granted, the initial construction phase could run from February to April. It includes tree clearing in a section of the site, grubbing and stumping, haul road construction, marina basin excavation and the shaping of the site’s proposed golf course.
“We’ll start clearing the land sooner than later; but we have to go back for permission,” said Earl Rumm, president of Kimvar Enterprises/Geranium Corporation, one of the resort’s developers. “We’ve climbed some big hurdles, but we still have a fair amount to go. Now we have to prove to everybody that we’re capable of doing this project. It’s time to make things happen.”
Once complete, 1,600 residential housing units and 400 hotel rooms will be built on the site. It will also include 87-hectares of environmentally protected land, a golf course, 1,000-slip marina, conference centre, theatre, an indoor sports, recreation and fitness facility and retail space.
It will also provide temporary and permanent jobs for hundreds of local residents over the next few years, said Rumm.
“For someone like me, whose been with this project for the last eight years, it’s not that far away (from fruition),” he said. “We’re keeping the cutting of trees in town. It’s the amount of jobs being created in building this over the next 10 years, and then the 700 or 800 that will be there (permanently). It’s a great tax base for the community. To provide jobs, it’s a good thing.”
Rumm says the resort will also be renamed, likely by the end of the year.
However, opponents say the approvals will be difficult to get.
“They need all kinds of approvals before shovels go in the ground,” said Innisfil District Association president Roger Parkinson. “This is shooting a shot across the bow to the province. I do not think this project will go through. They have to meet these requirements. I’m very optimistic this project, in its size and scope, will not go forward.”
As part of the plans, Kimvar will be required to notify several organizations and local media, before the tree clearing begins. They will also post plans on the town’s website and at public buildings within the municipality. The developers have also agreed to provide upfront, pre-construction financing for the town’s Water Pollution Control Plant environmental assessment pilot projects.
The town must also formally confirm there will be adequate sewage capacity available, to meet the needs of the development. The environmental assessment has proven that capacity could exist, if the plant is expanded, according to town staff.
“The town has been wrong all the way along on this project, from their joining with the developer in a cost (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) and in terms of caring for the environment,” said Parkinson. “The project is poorly designed; it’s bad for the area and environment. If they applied under the Lake Simcoe Protection Act today, it would not get approved. I’m not very proud of our council on this.”
The financing will be paid back to the developers through future development charge credits. However, the developers will also be responsible for paying town staffing, expense and legal costs associated with the resort.
“When this is finished, it’ll have life,” said Rumm. “It’s unique for anywhere. We’ve got a location that is unparalleled. It’s going to be a phenomenal thing. Without the support of hundreds of people, there’s no way this project would have happened

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