Log­ger­head Marsh at is­sue in OMB ap­peal for sub­di­vi­sion

The Peterborough Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - JOELLE KOVACH EX­AM­INER STAFF WRITER

A planner for the city of Peter­bor­ough told a hear­ing on Wed­nes­day that the re­des­ig­na­tion of the Log­ger­head Marsh to a provin­cially sig­nif­i­cant wet­land means a lot, in terms of whether houses should be built nearby.

Brad Ap­pleby, the city’s sub­di­vi­sions planner, was speak­ing as an ex­pert wit­ness at an On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board (OMB) hear­ing at City Hall on Wed­nes­day.

The OMB hear­ing seeks to de­ter­mine whether a de­vel­oper should be al­lowed to build the Bat­ten White sub­di­vi­sion on 49 acres off Parkhill Rd., east of Brealey Dr. – which is right near the Log­ger­head Marsh.

City coun­cil re­jected the plan twice: once in 2015, and again in 2016, af­ter de­vel­oper Mur­ray Daven­port had re­designed the sub­di­vi­sion.

Shortly af­ter the last time coun­cil re­jected the plan, the Log­ger­head Marsh was up­graded from a lo­cally sig­nif­i­cant wet­land to a provin­cially sig­nif­i­cant one.

That switch car­ries a lot of weight with plan­ners, Ap­pleby said; he called it “the heart of the mat­ter”.

“It changes the way you look at that wet­land, from a plan­ning per­spec­tive,” he said.

The city is hold­ing firm to its po­si­tion: no sub­di­vi­sion.

There are also two cit­i­zens tak­ing the city’s side – in other words, they’re fight­ing the sub­di­vi­sion be­fore the OMB, too.

Paul Frost and Mag­gie Xenopou­los - both bi­ol­o­gists who teach at Trent Univer­sity – live in the area and are party to the hear­ing.

Mean­while Daven­port is ex­pected to bring sev­eral ex­pert wit­nesses to ar­gue that he should be al­lowed to build af­ter all.

OMB mem­ber David Lan­thier will hear tes­ti­mony for six more days; the hear­ing is ex­pected to wrap up Sept 21.

City coun­cil re­jected Daven­port’s first ap­pli­ca­tion, in 2015; it called for 200 large houses on over­sized lots.

The city’s plan­ning staff had not rec­om­mended coun­cil grant per­mis­sion to build, mostly be­cause of con­cerns over de­vel­op­ment too close to the wet­land.

Some coun­cil­lors also felt it was an out­dated sub­di­vi­sion plan, with noth­ing but large house son large lots.

Nearly a year later, Daven­port pro­posed a new plan that in­cluded town­houses and con­dos, and also moved a sewer fur­ther from the creek that feeds Log­ger­head Marsh (in­stead of 15 me­tres away from the creek, the sewer was 20 m away).

City plan­ning staff pre­ferred that plan and rec­om­mended that coun­cil ap­prove it – but coun­cil still re­jected it, again over con­cerns about the wet­land.

Coun­cil’s lat­est re­jec­tion of the plan was in March 2016.

Four months later, in July, the province up­graded the sta­tus of the Log­ger­head Marsh to pro­vin­cial ly sig­nif­i­cant.

Ap­pleby said the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Forestry (MNRF) said cer­tain species in the wet­land – such as barn swal­lows – need pro­tec­tion from de­vel­op­ment.

He also tes­ti­fied that the city doesn’t con­duct its own sci­en­tific re­search, to help de­ter­mine whether de­vel­op­ment could po­ten­tially harm the nat­u­ral fea­tures of a piece of land.

City plan­ners leave that to ex­perts at MNRF or the Oton­abee Re­gion Con­ser­va­tion Area, he said; they take ad­vice from those sci­en­tists and then de­cide whether an ap­pli­ca­tion con­sti­tutes good plan­ning.

The hear­ing con­tin­ues Thurs­day, when de­vel­oper Mur­ray Daven­port and his planner are both ex­pected to give tes­ti­mony.

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