A large portion of the Morrisburg Industrial Park is in danger of being designated a provincially significant wetland, and if that happens the Counties planning department is working to ensure that the designation doesn’t hinder South Dundas’ growth potential.
County Planner Michael Otis discussed the issue with South Dundas council at the October 31 special meeting.
“Obviously, we want South Dundas council’s input and support for our proposals,” Otis told council.
“This wetland issue has being going on for some time,” said Otis, explaining that the province has the clout to make the designation which will definitely hinder development to about 140 hectares of the Morrisburg Industrial Park.
“They reviewed 10 drafts of the County official plan and not once did they indicate it was a wetland,” said Otis.
However, now in this five year review of the official plan, they now have another opportunity to make the wetland designation.
The Counties will ask the province, if the provincially significant wetland designation is made, that the province allow an equal amount of land in a new location to be designated as an employment district in the official plan.
If the trade off occurs, the new employment district will be at the west end of Morrisburg, on the north side of County Road 2, west of the communications tower.
“This is a defendable type of solution,” said Otis.
Otis also explained that along with this request to the province, they will also ask that about 136 hectares of land south of County Road 2 in the same area be earmarked for residential growth in South Dundas.
This would be in lieu of previous efforts to designate many smaller areas such as Brinston and Stampville for settlement growth. The province prefers that residential growth be slated for areas that the municipality would be willing to fully service such as this one at Morrisburg which borders on fully serviced land.
“This is a really good trade off that is workable,” commented South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds.
“Hopefully the province will be amenable to it,” said Otis.
South Dundas will pass a resolution supporting this Counties proposal at their next meeting.
These new designations would have no immediate impact on the lands which are privately owned.
What they represent is a theoretical change in thinking about how and where growth should occur within the Counties and specifically within South Dundas.
For development to occur, at the municipal level, the lands would need to be re-zoned and likely fully serviced. That is only likely to occur, if and when an application for development is presented.
Byvelds was especially supportive of the proposal presented to South Dundas council last week because at the Counties council meeting he saw a proposal that would have seen a similar type of trade off. However, the trade would have involved neighbouring South Stormont gaining the employment district designated land that South Dundas was losing.
“That I could not have supported,” Byvelds told The Leader. Otis said that proposal was taken off the table because it wasn’t fair for one municipality to benefit from the other’s misfortune.