.Angus Canadian Tire deal back on
Essa council looks to extend special policy area north
By Matthew Talbot Alliston Herald April 27 2010
ANGUS – A Canadian Tire store for Angus that was until recently the subject of an Ontario Municipal Board appeal could achieve another stunted move forward.
The development of the store has by turns staggered forward and been held back since late last year when the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) ruled it was unhappy with how flooding issues were being handled in the plan.
However, on May 12 the NVCA executive board is expected to vote on a permit application filed by property owner Leesa Turnbull.
Turnbull is the wife of Essa Township Mayor David Guergis.
If the NVCA permit is accepted, the development would return to the consideration of the Township of Essa where, Skelton Brumwell planner Gary Bell said, a site plan application is in circulation.
Bell said Canadian Tire wants “to build a small-market store in Angus on this site.”
He said the permit going to the NVCA board in May is for “a mapping and topography matter.”
The NVCA had appealed the development to the OMB but in early March withdrew the appeal. The OMB closed the file.
As the NVCA stalled the property’s development last year over flooding concerns, Guergis moved to dissolve the conservation authority. While Guergis insisted there was no conflict of interest and said his wish to end the NVCA had nothing to do with his wife’s development, the move sparked some controversy.
Guergis later withdrew the motion to dissolve the NVCA and instead called for a third-party review of the authority’s planning practices. That review has yet to take place.
Progress on the Canadian Tire development is happening alongside the Township of Essa timidly testing the waters of a special policy area that would ease development in flood-prone Angus. A developer representing Turnbull and a handful of other property owners on County Road 90 said the special policy area and the Canadian Tire development are in no way linked.
Nicola Mitchinson said she represents Narinder Mann, Jeff Guergis and Turnbull and their individual development lands north of County Road 90.
She said Turnbull owns land in the area other than that slated for Canadian Tire, which is why she included Turnbull in her appeal to council to extend the special policy area.
Mitchinson urged Essa council to include the land north of 90 in the proposed special policy area saying there aren’t many municipalities with a growth area nestled between three rivers. When social and economic viability of an area is impacted in this way, sometimes standards need to be reduced, she said.
“Lands throughout the community are tied to flood plains,” she said. “Opportunities for high-order goods and space-extensive retail are limited.”
She said the lands north of 90 are development worthy but are hampered by flood plain conditions.
The inclusion of a special policy area has been the subject of council debate at a number of meetings, however on April 21 after hearing from a developer representing a handful of residents, council reached a solid starting point.
The special policy area would have to be included in an official plan update.
Township of Essa planning manager Colleen Healey said she will bring a report back to council a future date.
Any development within the special policy area would still be at the discretion of both the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).
Some current commercial developments and residential areas in Angus experience flooding problems more often than not each spring.