Majority of Council approves By-law for CCV beach development

Prior to Saugeen Shores Town Council meeting on October 11th, a rally of approximately 25 members of the Port Elgin Beach Preservers was held outside in protest of the By-law signing approval for the proposed Cedar Crescent Village development that was on the evening’s agenda.

The contentious project would see a major retail development on Port Elgin’s Main Beach with a 50-year lease.

“87-2022 being a By-law to confirm the declaring of surplus and to authorize the 50-year Lease Agreement with 2706913 Ontario Inc. for the lands legally described as PART OF HARBOUR BLK 2 PL 259 BEING PART OF PTS 1 & 2 3R-5388; SAUGEEN SHORES; being Part of PIN 33269-0097(LT) AND PART OF THE ACCRETED LANDS IN FRONT OF LOTS 40 AND 41, LAKE RANGE (FORMERLY IN THE TOWNSHIP OF SAUGEEN) BEING PART OF PT 1 3R-5376; SAUGEEN SHORES; being Part of PIN 33269-0100(R); and to be identified as a Part or Parts on a registered reference plan;”

Despite two public surveys that were initiated with some 81 per cent of respondents against a large Event Hall to be included, the project appears to be going ahead as planned.

At the Council meeting, Patricia Corrigan-Frank (a founder of the Beach Preservers), presented a delegation to Council. (Synopsis of her delegation) Among the items she  included were:

  • The 2001 Ministry of Natural Resources Technical Guide strongly suggests policies that would maintain dynamic beaches, such as the Port Elgin Beach, in their natural state.
  • The Permit to Take Water from the Ministry of the Environment is necessary to ensure a safe construction site in locations where the water table is high, as it is at the CCV site. This is a Category 3 permit, meaning “water takings are anticipated to have the highest potential of causing unacceptable environmental impact or interference.” Just this week, Vinni Trivedi, the Environmental Scientist in charge of the CCV file at the Environmental Permissions Branch of the MOECP emailed me saying, “The Permit is still under review and the Director of the Permit to Take Water unit will take whatever steps necessary to address concerns.”

Council approved the Site Works and Service Agreement prior to receiving a Permit to Take Water. The Permit has yet to be granted and is not a foregone conclusion. The permit could be denied or strict mitigating measures could be imposed.

  • In the Staff Report from Acting Clerk and approved by CAO Van Myall, from September 26, 2022, it states that “On December 16, 2019 the Land Lease with 2706913 Ontario Inc. was provided to Council and the public and the report included the next steps to declare the property surplus to support entering into a lease that extends beyond 21 years. Further notice was provided on December 23, 2019 and January 13, 2020.“

First, I (Corrigan-Frank) can find no record of any meeting which took place on December 23, 2019. I rewatched the December 16, 2019 and January 13, 2020 meetings, read the agendas and the minutes for those meetings, and I can find no mention of “declaring the land surplus” in order to confirm the lease.

When it came time to vote on the By-law at Tuesday’s meeting, Councillor Matt Carr asked that it be a recorded vote.  All Councillors and Mayor voted in favour of passing the By-law with only Carr in opposition.