SaveOro and WORA withdrawing court application
News release from SaveOro
ORO-MEDONTE — A court application challenging a controversial township bylaw allowing an expansion at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds is being withdrawn by lawyers for local watchdog group SaveOro, after the by-law was repealed by Township Council.
“We’re looking forward to the next phase in what we know will be a long process to ensure that this agricultural land remains in farming,” said SaveOro spokesperson Wendy McKay.
The court action to quash the bylaw, which was scheduled to be heard in Toronto this Friday, was brought by SaveOro and WORA (West Oro Ratepayers’ Association) last month.
But in late May, Oro-Medonte council voted unanimously to repeal the 2014 Temporary Use Bylaw, which would have allowed camping and parking on 75 hectares (185 acres) of prime farmland at the concert venue.
In repealing the year-old bylaw, township council agreed with David Donnelly, lawyer for SaveOro and WORA, that it was never properly enacted. Donnelly agreed Friday to drop the court action when it became clear council’s decision would stand without appeal from any parties, including Burl’s Creek.
Burl’s Creek’s owner Stan Dunford has applied for a new Temporary Use Bylaw (TUB) that would make the site the largest outdoor concert venue in Canada. If passed by council, the latest TUB would expand Burl’s Creek to 229.55 H (567.24 acres), 12,659 camping spots and parking for 14,345. More than $10 million has been spent reworking the site to add two outdoor amphitheaters, one with seating for 70,000 and another for 40,000.
However, one of Oro-Medonte’s criteria to approve the TUB is that the proposed use shall not entail any major construction or investment on the part of the owner.
Council members have said the application, which was submitted in April, could be dealt with by council as early as late June, despite the process normally taking up to 6 months.
This has lead to charges from SaveOro that council is fast tracking the proposal to accommodate the promoter, at the expense of residents.
The site is not zoned to host many of the scheduled events, including two multi-day concerts, yet the Township, Ministry of Transportation (MTO), Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), Health Department and OPP have been meeting with Burl’s Creek since January.
The OPP estimates 60-90 officers will be required for each event, but won’t disclose the cost or the details of the contract for paid duty work.
Burl’s Creek promoters have scheduled two concerts, each with a capacity of 40,000, for this summer, WayHome Music and Arts in late July and Boots and Hearts Music Festival in early August.
SaveOro and WORA are vigorously opposed to any expansion at Burl’s Creek, saying that dumping as many as 70,000 people at a time into the tiny municipality of just 20,000 will gridlock cottage-country roads on summer weekends and bring with it all-night noise and upheaval. Residents are also concerned about the loss of hundreds of acres of productive farmland to development.