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Vardy, Kadwell field development questions

By Mike Williscraft

“Good” development was the underlying theme of all the questions served up at a meeting hosted by Save Main Street at Grimsby’s Centennial Park last Thursday, Aug. 19.

About 100 residents turned out to put questions to Ward 2 Councillors Lianne Vardy and Dave Kadwell.

The meeting was also attended by Mayor Jeff Jordan, Reg. Coun. Wayne Fertich and Councillors Dave Sharpe and Randy Vaine.

A lot of ground was covered in the one-hour-plus meeting with resident Annette Gibbons getting the ball rolling outlining her concerns with her recent foray into presenting a litany of problems she saw with the Branthaven Homes development at 145 Main St. E.

After presenting extensive data and comments as part of the public meeting process, Gibbons said her efforts were “marginalized by the planning department to a few sentences on paper,” adding the project got approved “by the usual 5-4 vote”.

“Overdevelopment is affecting our entire town,” she added, noting the group of residents she represents are considering an LPAT (Local Planning Appeal Tribunal).

Vardy encouraged residents to take action when they see fit, noting being “apathetic” will lead to things many don’t want to see.

She added, she is not anti-development, rather, “I am for the kind of development our community has asked for and is articulated in our Official Plan.”

“We need to invest in shaping our community, even if that means spennding money for legal expenses to fight LPAT.”

This comment was met with a round of applause.

Kadwell noted he has been on council since 2006 and always tried to adhere to the Town’s Official Plan.

“Out in the west end, we’ve had a lot of high intensification out there, a lot higher than our Official Plan and zoning bylaws are asking for….That ship has sailed,” said Kadwell, noting he has turned his attention to projects on the horizon.

One of the questions asked by a resident dealt with diffculty in getting information on planning decisions.

“I’ve been stonewalled, too,” said Vardy, noting she has been frustrated, too, with either non- or evasive answers. When she followed up, she was told she was “picking on staff. I share your frustrations.”

Regarding intensification, Kadwell noted he does not want to see what is being currently being proposed on many fronts.

“We can’t stop development. I was just at the AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) conference for the last three days getting the word that the province is saying. They want intensification which, personally, I don’t want the intensification they want either. It’s too much.”

Other concerns included infrastructure strain, traffic volumes and the Town’s handling of a proposed heritage district study for Main Street East were also outlined.

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