Beach Preservers question CCV Site Plan Servicing Agreement

The Port Elgin Beach Preservers spokesperson, Patricia Frank, presented the concerns of the group around the proposed beach development of Cedar Crescent Village (CCV) to Saugeen Shores Council on February 14th (2022).

Frank presented a power point presentation and addressed three areas of concern regarding the Site Plan Servicing Agreement that the Beach Preservers are questioning.

  • Marine commercial zoning
  • Environmental Impact Study (EIS) requirement
  • Noticeable changes in the CCV concept plan between November, 2021 – January, 2022

“Since September, 2021, there have been considerable changes to the CCV site location, square footage, building height, proposed uses, etc.,” said Frank, “and these all require a fresh assessment.”

She pointed out that a map from Bruce County lays out the marine commercial designation of the waterfront and questioned where the designation is shown in the Town’s Official Plan or the comprehensive zoning by-law required in the Bruce County Official Plan.  According to Frank, in the County Plan, the marine commercial designation applies to the proposed site of the CCV, does not extend south of Mill Street and is adjacent to the environmental and open space zones.

In addition, in the zoning by-laws, there is an allowance for a restaurant, boat and bicycle rentals and a clubhouse with retail facilities.  “On January 10th, Mr. Pausner (Town Supervisor of Development) pointed out that CCV zoning is not based just on the development site but on an area of six hectares and potentially for commercial development from Izzard Rd. to Northshore Park,” said Frank.

“While this Council may not allow any further commercial development on the OS1 area without site specific zoning,” she added, “there is nothing to stop a future council from allowing just that.”

Frank also pointed out that the non-compete clause in the CCV leasing agreement is only limited to the operation of a restaurant and banquet hall which may give “… leeway to future councils allowing commercial development along our waterfront.”  She asked why, in the zoning By-laws, marine commercial zoning has not been included.

She also suggested that a link to the CCV file should be on the Town’s website “… to provide an easy go-to reference for staff, Council and the public for all things related to the development.”

“Poor decisions now will impact all of us for the next 50 years,” said Frank.  “The province of Ontario requires all municipalities to identify natural heritage systems and this study has not been done.  Therefore, an Environmental Impact Study is required as the Official Plan states to protect significant wildlife habitat.  It also states that,  ‘where development is proposed in a water feature or adjacent to a water feature that has the potential to contain fish habitat, an Environmental Impact Statement shall be required’ … since detailed mapping is unavailable at this time, development and site alteration may be permitted on adjacent lands only if it has been demonstrated through an Environmental Impact Study that there will be no negative impacts on the habitat of endangered or threatened species.’

She went on to say that Saugeen Shores Official Plan states that an Environmental Impact Study may not only be required for all development proposals within lands designated as Environmental Hazard but also to the adjacent lands.

“The Official Plan also states that an Environmental Impact Study shall be required to assess the potential impacts of a development on the natural shoreline environment including water quality, constraints of the natural shoreline characteristics and possible mitigation techniques,” added Frank. “In addition, it states that new large-scale recreational uses shall require an amendment to the Official Plan and shall ensure that potential negative impacts on surrounding properties and the natural environment are mitigated.  By any standards, 25,000 square feet constitutes a large-scale development so where is the amendment to the Official Plan?”

All amendments to the comprehensive zoning By-law must conform to the Town’s Official Plan as it relates to non-conforming, existing buildings, permitted uses and special provisions.  “The Official Plan states that any site alteration in the environmentally sensitive portions of the dynamic beach allowance such as filling, grading or vegetation removal will not be permitted unless supported by the Environmental Impact Study and/or approval from the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA),” Frank pointed out.

On January 10th, Pausner said that the grade will be slightly affected with 1.1 metres of fill to raise the buildings of the proposed development.  Frank asked where the fill was coming from and that it raises serious environmental concerns as to what protections will be provided to avoid contaminants that can leach into the sand and then the lake.  “How will it also affect adjacent properties?  The height of the main CCV buildings will increase to 11.1 metres and with the HVAC system will be as high as the condos (adjacent building).”

“With all this evidence that I just shared,” said Frank, “from the PPS (Provincial Policy Statement), Bruce County Official Plan and Saugeen Shores Official Plan, why has an Environmental Impact Study not been demanded?  It would be appreciated if the hydrageological report and geotechnical report submitted by the proponent were made public.  Will these reports be peer reviewed by the SVCA or any other experts in the field?”

According to Frank, on the original site map attached to the original request for proposal (RFP) in February, 2019 and the new reference plan, the development was shown as not extending south of the Mill St. corner.  On January 10th, what was formerly shown as outdoor programmable space had disappeared and the retail space footprint had increased, and the survey plan agreement and site plan design do not match and where the SVCA regulatory limit and the flood hazard line were labelled approximate. “Have these boundaries been confirmed by the SVCA?”, asked Frank.

“In January, the Mayor commented that the development would have all the amenities that people want to see at the Main Beach our town’s busiest beach, the heart of activity in Port Elgin, the place where people want to congregate, want to have a restaurant, have a pavilion that they can hang out in, a place where people can stop by to get an innertube for their kids to play with or an ice cream cone.  There are lots of places where they can get ice cream cones now and in the future.  You were exactly right Mayor Charbonneau … this is exactly what the public wants – that and no more, 25,000 square feet of commercial buildings – four large buildings, an ice cream shop, multiple market retail stalls and nine retail outlets as well as a restaurant above the mercantile building.  No one asked for that except the proponents.”

She added that the design shown on January 10th appeared to show significant changes, including larger footprints for the buildings.  “It would be helpful to have the design superimposed over the original so the public can see all buildings.  Why has the outdoor programmable space now become mercantile retail space?  What is the current total square footage of the building including the second floor?  What is the current square footage of the lands in total?”

“This is Port Elgin’s beautiful waterfront and is yours to protect,” said Frank.

Councillor Cheryl Grace confirmed that there were many questions raised and to be followed up on.  “One of the questions asked was about fill … and it appears it will be required.  Where would that (fill) come from? What kind of material would that fill be?”

CAO Kara Van Myall said that she was not prepared to answer the question.

Councillor Dave Myette also questioned Frank on her statement that the CCV would be higher than the condo building to which she replied, “With the 1.1 metres of fill and a building allowed to be 30 feet plus the HVAC system on the roof, it will mean it will be 40 ft., as high as the condo building.”

“That seems hard to believe,” said Myette, “but thank you for the calculation.”

Vice-deputy Mayor Mike Myatt asked if staff would be responding to the questions asked and Mayor Luke Charbonneau said that reports would be coming back to Council and if there were questions that haven’t already been answered, they would be at that time.

To view Patricia Frank’s entire power-point presentation … CLICK HERE