Developer’s big plans for Port Stanley making waves
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.
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.