Letter: Township development model ‘antiquated and broken’

Editor: At the Township Council meeting on Oct. 23, council approved the 2017 Brookswood Fernridge Community Plan.

At the same time, they rejected developing Brookswood Fernridge on a phased schedule.

They also rejected the concept of substantially completing the development of one neighbourhood before starting development in another neighbourhood.

At that meeting one of the senior Township managers, responding to a question from a council member, advised council that the old 1987 Brookswood Fernridge Community OCP did not really address phasing. This is simply not correct.

Under the provisions of the 1987 OCP there were clearly defined neighbourhood planning areas as shown on Map No 6 of the plan entitled Phasing Map, 13

The 1987 OCP Page 13 Section 4 Implementation, reads as follows: “The Plan Map, objectives and policies of this Plan will provide direction for the development of the Brookswood/Fernridge area. The adoption of this Plan does not commit or authorize the Township to undertake any projects or services outlined in the area.

In order to provide direction to the servicing and development of Brookswood/Fernridge the Township has developed a phasing strategy. The phasing strategy is shown on Map No.6 and is based on the following:

Initial phasing of services of phasing and zoning of land will be directed to those areas which can connect to existing trunk lines with the least cost.

Service areas will expand systematically from existing trunk utilities providing a cost effective approach to growth.

Expansion will occur as each land use component is substantially developed and supply of serviced development areas diminish.

The projected population growth for the Brookswood/Fernridge area is given in Table 3. The initial phases of development are close to major commercial and recreational facilities and should be attractive to development.

In order for the development of any service area to proceed, the Township will a capital works program and capital cost recovery program. The Township will also prepare a detailed service area (neighbourhood) plan to be adopted by Council resolution before development is permitted.

Developments that wish to proceed in advance of the Township’s servicing program may be considered based on the development of the required services and contribution to the capital costs of all off site services.”

There can be no doubt or confusion about the fact that the 1987 plan called for the sequential completion of neighbourhood plans and an orderly and phased implementation of development.

Removing the requirement for phasing and the substantial completion the development of one neighbourhood planning area before permitting development of a second neighbourhood planning area will result in development scattered throughout the Brookswood Fernridge area, piecemeal infrastructure development, inadequate community amenities and services and general disruption of the whole area for years to come. The term Willoughby South is the term on the tip of many people’s tongues.

Neighbourhood Plan Areas have been reduced from 13 in the 1987 OCP to just four in the recently passed 2017 OCP

The decision of council to proceed with and fund the simultaneous development of three neighbourhood community plans is mindboggling.

The Brookswood Fernridge community is reeling from years of attending meetings, presentations, and strategy sessions to reach this point. Asking the community to now participate in the detailed neighbourhood planning exercise for three distinct areas concurrently could be construed as a willful attempt to ensure that there will be minimal participation in any of these planning exercises.

There is no doubt the Brookswood Fernridge Community was split on their support for either retaining the 1987 OCP or approving the newly adopted 2017 OCP. While the 2017 Brookswood Fernridge has officially been approved, the community is not prepared to accept a lack of phasing and development control that will prevent the community from growing in an organized and controlled manner over time.

Clearly the development model that the Township has used for the several decades is both antiquated and broken. It is time for this to change.

Wayne Crossen,

Brookswood

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