The proposed multiphase Dutch Meadows residential development on the west end of Morrisburg is on hold pending the outcome of the proposal to close Seaway District High School.
“We’re not sure of the future,” said Henry Swank, co-owner of Swank Construction in Iroquois, developer of the Dutch Meadows project. “I mean this is the worst thing that could happen to the project, this schools question.”
“We’re at the point of severances, maybe we are not going to do it anymore,” Swank told The Leader. “Or the project will be much smaller. If there is no high school, what family is going to want to move here,” asked Swank.
Swank indicated that officials from the Upper Canada District School Board were not aware of the proposed project when they were drafting the proposed closure plan.
“I talked to John McAllister (Ward 4 trustee, UCDSB) and he said they didn’t know anything about what we’re planning,” said Swank.
To date, there has been no communication between the school board and Swank Construction regarding the planned development. “We’ve written a letter to the premier, and received a form letter back from someone in her office,” said Swank.
Swank added that the municipality has been supportive, and is battling the closure. “We’ve given them permission to use the subdivision as ammunition when dealing with the board.”
When asked if the development company would be making a presentation at the January Accommodation Review Committee meeting at North Dundas District High School, Swank said the presentations already made at the Seaway meeting said everything.
“All of the presenters made the point, we need to keep our high school here in South Dundas,” said Swank.
Announced in September 2016, the 54 acre, multi-phase development is planned to have a mixture of detached and semidetached homes, and condominium units. Each phase will consist of constructing a condo building, semi-detached and detached homes. A total of 200 units are planned.
“Given the age of a lot of the buyers, they would love to have condos here in South Dundas“, said Dale Charbot, broker/manager at Royal Lepage.
“We always get inquiries from buyers looking for condos. Where can they go right now? Brockville, Prescott or Cornwall,” Charbot added.
When asked about the effect on Iroquois with the proposed closure, Charbot stated that it will be negative on the community, but not as negative as people may think.
“I hope they don’t close the school, but we have a lot of Ottawa based buyers who commute.”
Why close Seaway?
“Closing Seaway and moving the kids to North Dundas and Prescott doesn’t make sense to me,” said Swank.
Swank added that the high school in North Dundas is not on any municipal services.
“They can’t expand that school there. Why haven’t they proposed closing North Dundas and moving the kids to Seaway? Why spend all that money, millions, to renovate the school just to close it?”