OMB rules in favour of Burl’s Creek

The Barrie Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - PA­TRICK BALES

ORO-ME­DONTE TWP. WayHome can legally call Burl’s Creek home, fi­nally.

The On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board (OMB) ruled in favour of Burl’s Creek Event Grounds’ tem­po­rary-use zon­ing by­law ap­pli­ca­tion al­low­ing for ap­prox­i­mately 330 acres to be zoned for tem­po­rary camp­ing, park­ing con­ces­sions and recre­ational soc­cer for 27 days each year.

The for­mal de­ci­sion from board mem­bers Richard Makuch and David Lan­thier had not been made pub­lic be­fore press time.

Of­fi­cials from Oro-Me­donte Town­ship and Repub­lic Live an­nounced the rul­ing at a joint press con­fer­ence Fri­day af­ter­noon.

The rul­ing had come down ear­lier in the day.

Stan Dun­ford, who owns Burl’s Creek and Repub­lic Live, said he was re­lieved by the rul­ing, but re­mained dis­mayed the process un­folded the way it did. “It’s re­ally un­for­tu­nate that some­thing this ben­e­fi­cial for the com­mu­nity had to take that long and cost that much money,” he said. “But it did, and I’m just ex­tremely happy with the out­come.

“Now we can fi­nally move for­ward and try to do more for the com­mu­nity with the event grounds.”

The par­ties were still work­ing their way through the rul­ing when the de­ci­sion was pub­licly an­nounced.

“We’re just wait­ing for a com­ment now from our lawyers,” said Wendy McKay, one of the di­rec­tors of Save Oro, a res­i­dents’ group which op­posed the by­law along­side the West Oro Ratepay­ers As­so­ci­a­tion. “As soon as we have that we will put that out.

“That’s the only thing that I could say now,” she added. “I think (the lawyers are) go­ing to do that very shortly.”

The town­ship had to set a meet­ing with its solic­i­tor as well.

Charges against Repub­lic Live, laid by the town­ship, stem­ming from the use of im­prop­erly zoned land dur­ing last year’s fes­ti­val sea­son, re­main be­fore a pro­vin­cial of­fences court.

Mayor Harry Hughes said dur­ing the press con­fer­ence the zon­ing would be retroac­tive to 2016, when the OMB hear­ing first started.

Where that leaves the prose­cu­tion against Repub­lic Live is un­known.

“We haven’t had a chance to hardly see (the de­ci­sion),” Hughes said. “We’ll be look­ing at it and weigh­ing in on that . ... We’ll have to con­sult our le­gal coun­sel, but we’ll be able to an­nounce those sorts of things, I ex­pect, in the near fu­ture.”

Hughes be­lieves the rul­ing vin­di­cated the work of town­ship staff.

“Our plan­ning staff looked at all the is­sues that had to do with good plan­ning, which means it’s ap­pro­pri­ate for all the con­di­tions that pro­tects the town­ship’s nat­u­ral her­itage, all those kinds of as­pects,” the mayor said. “At the same time, there’s a judg­ment that says that this event can work and work well within the town­ship, while hav­ing re­gard for the needs of the res­i­dents.”

A per­ma­nent by­law ap­pli­ca­tion re­mains as an open file at both the county and town­ship lev­els. Get­ting that process com­pleted is next on the docket for Dun­ford and his com­pa­nies.

The Mon­tag­nais Métis First Na­tion, which op­posed the tem­po­rary-zon­ing by­law, and Sup­port Oro, which was in favour, were also par­ties to the rul­ing, which spanned three pub­lic pre-hear­ings and 11 days of tes­ti­mony be­tween Fe­bru­ary 2016 and Jan­uary 2017.

WayHome Mu­sic & Arts Fes­ti­val runs July 28-30, while Boots and Hearts Mu­sic Fes­ti­val takes place two weeks later, Aug. 10-13. The third ad­di­tion to the sum­mer lineup, The Big Feas­t­i­val, de­buts Aug. 18-20.


Oro-Me­donte Town­ship Mayor Harry Hughes, left, and Repub­lic Live/Burl's Creek owner Stan Dun­ford shake hands in front of a large crowd lined up for free WayHome fes­ti­val tick­ets af­ter an­nounc­ing the On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board rul­ing in the tem­po­rary-use zon­ing by­law hear­ing had come down in Dun­ford's favour on Fri­day.

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