De­vel­oper’s big plans for Port Stan­ley mak­ing waves

The London Free Press - - FRONT PAGE - LAURA BROADLEY POSTMEDIA NEWS

PORT STAN­LEY — A mas­sive new de­vel­op­ment that would add 150 homes and four apart­ment build­ings to Port Stan­ley could jack up its pop­u­la­tion by 50 per cent and, some fear, for­ever change the char­ac­ter of one of South­west­ern Ontario’s hottest lake­side haunts.

Lon­don de­vel­oper Wastell Homes is chas­ing peo­ple who want to live near the wa­ter with its pro­posal for its Sea­glass sub­di­vi­sion, a project the likes of which Port Stan­ley has never seen.

Port Stan­ley res­i­dent Colleen Row said the de­vel­op­ment would be a turn­ing point for the vil­lage with 2,100 year-round res­i­dents.

“They’ve got this one chance to get it right and if they don’t, Port Stan­ley will be for­ever changed,” she said.

Wastell Homes is seek­ing ap­provals and zon­ing amend­ments from Cen­tral El­gin for a sub­di­vi­sion of 150 sin­gle-homes and four apart­ment build­ings with a to­tal of 360 units. The apart­ments would be four to six storeys.

The sub­di­vi­sion would be built on 23 hectares Wastell Homes owns north of Ge­orge Street on Port Stan­ley’s west side.

The area al­ready is con­gested, Row said, be­cause traf­fic to the vil­lage’s west side is fun­nelled through the Ge­orge Street and Car­low Road in­ter­sec­tion.

Row said she un­der­stands the need for Port Stan­ley to grow but the Wastell sub­di­vi­sion would be too big and would change the vil­lage’s char­ac­ter.

“Peo­ple come to Port Stan­ley to­day be­cause it’s Port Stan­ley, there’s the beach and it’s a vil­lage, it’s quaint and it’s ru­ral.”

Row said Cen­tral El­gin of­fi­cials need to give more thought to how the de­vel­op­ment would af­fect the vil­lage’s ru­ral flavour.

“Is it the right lo­ca­tion? Is it the right den­sity? Do we re­ally have the right in­fra­struc­ture in place to make this work right now? And I think the an­swer to that ques­tion is no,” Row said.

She’s mak­ing the rounds of the vil­lage with a sur­vey to de­ter­mine the level of sup­port for the de­vel­op­ment and what con­cerns res­i­dents may have about its po­ten­tial im­pact on the com­mu­nity’s char­ac­ter and iden­tity.

Cen­tral El­gin Mayor David Marr said the de­vel­op­ment would pro­vide hous­ing op­tions that aren’t avail­able now to vil­lage res­i­dents.

“Peo­ple are ask­ing where they can live once they want to move out of their house and want to stay in Port Stan­ley.”

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity has to look at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to grow as long as it’s in a con­trolled and bal­anced fash­ion, he said.

Some res­i­dents are con­cerned about the plans to build apart­ments as high as six storeys. But Marr said the apart­ments would be built at the back, or north side, of the sub­di­vi­sion away from Ge­orge Street.

“I don’t think it’d be nearly as no­tice­able.”

Cen­tral El­gin is host­ing a pub­lic meet­ing at Port Stan­ley Arena on June 18 from 4 p.m. to 6p.m. about the pro­posal at which res­i­dents can voice their op­po­si­tion or sup­port for the de­vel­op­ment, Marr said.

“We can hear con­cerns and de­cide whether or not this is a good project.”

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity is pump­ing money into mak­ing the har­bour more at­trac­tive by re­mov­ing oil tanks and other ves­tiges of its in­dus­trial past, creat­ing park­land and open­ing up the area to de­vel­op­ment.

Jim McCoomb, se­nior plan­ner for Cen­tral El­gin, said Wastell Homes has filed ap­pli­ca­tions for a draft plan sub­di­vi­sion ap­proval and a zon­ing amend­ment to sup­port the draft plan.

“Th­ese lands have been des­ig­nated res­i­den­tial use, not only in the cur­rent of­fi­cial plan, but in the pre­vi­ous Port Stan­ley of­fi­cial plan,” he said.

Wastell Homes has com­pleted a traf­fic im­pact study that con­cluded the cur­rent in­fra­struc­ture has the ca­pac­ity to han­dle in­creased traf­fic from the de­vel­op­ment. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity is re­view­ing the study.

Ju­lian Novick, direc­tor of op­er­a­tions with Wastell Homes, said the com­pany al­ready is field­ing calls from po­ten­tial buy­ers.

“We’ve had phone calls from folks ask­ing when they can get an apart­ment, when they can pick their lot,” he said.

The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple who’ve shown in­ter­est in the sub­di­vi­sion are from the area, Novick said. “We haven’t had any calls from Toronto.”

Novick ac­knowl­edged there are con­cerns.

“When­ever there’s change, some peo­ple get ex­cited and maybe aren’t for it,” he said. “I think it’s just go­ing to im­prove the com­mu­nity.”

Novick said he’s un­able to pro­vide the aver­age sale price for homes in the de­vel­op­ment be­cause it de­pends on the mar­ket and other fac­tors.

SUP­PLIED

Wastell Homes is seek­ing ap­provals and zon­ing amend­ments from Cen­tral El­gin for a sub­di­vi­sion of 150 sin­gle-homes and four apart­ment build­ings with a to­tal of 360 units. The apart­ments would be be­tween four and six storeys.

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