OMB de­ci­sion has con­di­tions for Burl’s

The Barrie Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - MEHREEN SHAHID

ORO-MEDONTE TWP. - An On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board (OMB) de­ci­sion in favour of Burl’s Creek Event Grounds will al­low the use of tem­po­rar­ily zoned land un­til the end of next year.

An OMB de­ci­sion that came Fri­day al­lows camp­ing and park­ing on close to 600 acres of land for 27 days dur­ing the event sea­son.

But there are con­di­tions around it, ac­cord­ing to An­dria Leigh, direc­tor of Oro-Medonte Town­ship devel­op­ment ser­vices, at a news con­fer­ence held at the town­ship of­fice on Mon­day morn­ing.

“The (OMB) wanted two spe­cific con­di­tions sat­is­fied: one, was re­lated to a fi­nal ar­chae­o­log­i­cal clear­ance from the Min­istry of Tourism, Cul­ture and Sport,” she said, adding Burl’s Creek is hop­ing to pro­vide that to the board be­fore the WayHome fes­ti­val be­gins on July 28. “The sec­ond was re­lated to a con­di­tion the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had asked for re­lated to the con­tin­ued agri­cul­tural use of the prop­erty.”

It’s called an adap­tive man­age­ment plan, said Leigh. It’s a doc­u­ment to be reg­is­tered with the town­ship in­di­cat­ing how the land will be re­stored for agri­cul­tural use af­ter each event.

As well, dur­ing the 27 event-sea­son days there will be no more than five-day events at any point in time, with a min­i­mum of two days of break be­tween events, she said.

With this de­ci­sion giv­ing the go-ahead for two event sea­sons, Burl’s Creek is now look­ing to have the tem­po­rary-use by­law changed to a per­ma­nent by­law, which would ap­ply to not only the ad­di­tional 600 acres, but also to land al­ready zoned for such events, Leigh said.

“Burl’s Creek has sub­mit­ted a per­ma­nent land-use ap­pli­ca­tion that has been in process for the bet­ter part of this year,” she said.

As part of the ap­pli­ca­tion, the ap­pli­cant has sub­mit­ted a se­ries of tech­ni­cal stud­ies, which are be­ing re­viewed by the County of Sim­coe and the town­ship. Once those have been re­viewed, Leigh said, there will be pub­lic meet­ings, which could be held some time in fall. The process needs to be com­pleted be­fore the tem­po­rary-use by­law ex­pires at the end of 2018, she added.

Mayor Harry Hughes, who was also present dur­ing the news con­fer­ence, said the town­ship is re­lieved by the OMB de­ci­sion.

“We would have liked it sooner, but we can still ad­just in the time­line they’ve given us,” he said. “We’re look­ing for­ward to work­ing with Burl’s Creek with re­gards to the com­mu­nity and max­i­miz­ing the ben­e­fits Burl’s Creek can bring to the com­mu­nity and the sur­round­ing area.”

Other par­ties in­volved in the OMB case, still can’t see the up­side of this sum­mer ac­tiv­ity in their neigh­bour­hood.

“There is a lot of dif­fer­ent things at stake here,” said Wendy McKay, one of the di­rec­tors of Save Oro, who op­posed the by­law along­side the West Oro Ratepay­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, adding her lawyer will be look­ing into a chance to ap­peal the de­ci­sion. “It’s prob­a­bly a great con­cert venue, (but) it’s just not in the right place.

“It’s on prime farm­land, and it should not be here,” she added. “It’s dis­turb­ing res­i­dents in the area.”

In it’s de­tailed re­port, the OMB says no ev­i­dence was pro­vided to con­tra­dict Burl’s Creek’s claims that there are no rea­son­able al­ter­na­tive lo­ca­tions in Sim­coe County for its events.

And while the OMB re­port ac­knowl­edges the pres­ence of noise from camp­grounds, the com­plaints by a num­ber of res­i­dents in the area were around noise em­a­nat­ing from en­ter­tain­ment venues, which are on prop­erly zoned land.

McKay added the group’s lawyer has put the onus on the town­ship to po­lice the events and make sure the land can con­tin­ued to be used as farm­land. “We know the town­ship does not have the man power to do that,” McKay said. “So once again, in Oro-Medonte, it’s up to the res­i­dents to po­lice these events.”

And as con­cert sea­son ap­proaches, she said, she will be sit­ting back and tak­ing notes just as she has done be­fore.

“And when peo­ple start driv­ing on my lawn and com­ing through the woods to­ward the house, I will call the po­lice and tell them there are tres­passers,” said McKay.

“We can’t go away, be­cause it’s too dan­ger­ous to go away. I went to con­certs as a kid, and I hope peo­ple have a re­ally safe and happy time.”

MEHREEN SHAHID/POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

An­dria Leigh, direc­tor of Oro-Medonte Town­ship devel­op­ment ser­vices, and Mayor Harry Hughes talk to the me­dia Mon­day morn­ing about an On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board de­ci­sion al­low­ing Burl’s Creek Event Grounds to con­tinue us­ing land cov­ered by a tem­po­rary-use by­law for its events.

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