More Angus landowners want in on policy
Could open doors to development despite floodplain designation
ANGUS – The Township of Essa put a hold on any discussions over development of a special policy area in Angus after more residents stepped forward to be included.
The policy area would allow the township to approve development in the floodway despite a provincial policy statement that states otherwise.
Essa planning manager Colleen Healey included a report on the policy area, but asked council to defer it in light of new communication from residents.
Healey said landowners north of County Road 90, which is roughly the northern boundary for the area, indicated they want to be included.
Council, absent Mayor David Guergis who had declared a conflict of interest over his wife’s development land on the north side of County Road 90, deferred action on the report.
The township is pursuing a special policy area designation from the province on land in Angus. Healey’s report stated a meeting is being held with provincial and county officials in the near future.
According to a map drafted prior to the land owners north of County Road 90 asking to be included, the policy area would cover the area east of Mill Street and south of County Road 90 to the Pine and Nottawasaga rivers.
Part of that land is considered to be in a floodway, where development is restricted.
One of the goals of a special policy area is to ease development in restricted areas where flooding is a concern.
If the special policy area is extended north of County Road 90, it could potentially encompass lands belonging to Leesa Turnbull-Guergis, the mayor’s wife.
She has been struggling with the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority over development of a Canadian Tire store east of the No Frills location. This lead to some controversy late last year when her husband, the mayor, pushed for the dissolution of the conservation authority over what he believed to be redundant and heavy-handed planning practices.
For more than a month, Essa planning staff has been looking into outlining what the province calls a special policy area in the township’s updated official plan.
However, development would hinge on approval by both the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).
In a report to council on March 3, Healey said a special policy area “would be to the benefit of Alset Developments and/or others who wish to develop in the floodway.”
Prime development areas in known floodways include County Road 90 in Angus.