Councilor voices concerns about loss of parkland
by Sandy Lindsay

August 23, 2016

Town Council

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North of Peel Street between Grey and Grenville Streets in Southampton, a recommendation to authorize the building of 52 residential units was brought before Council on Monday, August 22nd.

In the agreement, the owner has agreed to provide capital contributions to rebuild Grey and  Grenville Streets to Town standards.

The owner is also providing a capital contribution of $10,000 for trail development that includes a walkway  to be constructed from the southern edge of the property along an unopened lane to Peel Street along with a trail connection at the northern boundary that would connect to Grey Street.

"This makes no sense to me," said Vice Deputy Mayor Diane Huber.  "Why would there be a trail connected to Peel Street?  I would rather see that disappear from the plan and expand the trail to the unopened part of Adelaide Street which is going to be used that way anyway and would be better used by everybody.  Why don't we use dollars that would go to the Peel Street trail and use them instead to expand to Adelaide Street."

In the agreement, the Town has agreed to pay for the extended sanitary services along Grey Street at a cost of $18,490 and, landowners who connect after installation will be charged to offset the cost.

In the site agreement, the owner has also agreed to pay cash-in-lieu of parkland dedication based on a calculated value of land from the day before the first building permit is issued for the subject lands.

"I have concerns about a five per cent 'cash in lieu' of parkland.  I like to think this is a community that values green space and parkland but I see very little green space being preserved," said Councilor Mike Myatt. "In the 2004 Parks and Trails Master Plan, it talks about a shortfall of 2.7 hectares or seven acres of parkland in Saugeen Shores.  I would like to think this is a green community where we can sit on park benches under shade trees and my question is ... when I see five per cent cash-in-lieu of parkland it concerns me.  From the date the building permit is issued, I don't know if that land is worth $300,000, $500,000 or a million dollars.  I have no idea.  If it's $500,000 that's $25,000 in lieu of parkland.  I see a whole lot of buildings but little green space included in the development plans.  This community, for a lot of years, drove very hard in terms of keeping parkland in a development and I just hope this is not precedent setting where we are taking parkland away from that area of the community."

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Myatt asked the Director of Community Services, Jayne Jagelewski,  "In terms of high level negotiation with the developer, how was it decided we would take five per cent cash-in-lieu of parkland?  Why did we decide that? According to the Parks and Trails Master Plan, there has been a shortfall of seven acres of parkland and over the last 10 years we have not added seven acres of parkland.  So, why did we take the five per cent cash?  I don't even know the dollar amount ... do you?

The Director replied that she had not been involved in the negotiations and that it had been decided by Jay Pausner, Development Co-ordinator of Building and Development Services. 

The recommendation brought to Council was to authorize the Site Plan Agreement with the owner to authorize the construction of a 52 unit residential development.

Despite concerns raised, the recommendation was approved with Councilor Mike Myatt and Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau opposed.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016