Tune in as Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority holds Administrative Review online regarding beach development

A Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA) Administrative Review meeting will be held on November 22nd to decided on the permit application completeness by the Town of Saugeen Shores for the proposed Cedar Crescent Village (CCV) on Port Elgin main beach.

The contentious issue of the development has been on-going for some two years with a local group, the Port Elgin Beach Preservers and its members, trying to prevent the development from going ahead as planned, and with a 50 year lease, with no compromise from the developers.

The development headed up by local businessman, Pier Donnini in partnership with stakeholders, includes a 300-seat conference centre, commercial retail stores, restaurant, up-scale ‘flea’ market, volleyball courts, winter ice rink and other amenities.  The main contentious issue has been a proposed two-story 300-seat conference centre which is seen as redundant and anti-environmental on the main beach, which is considered dynamic and also the size of the footprint of the development.

Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority consists of Councillors from local municipalities, that has included Saugeen Shores Vice Deputy Mayor Mike Myatt and Councillor Cheryl Grace.

Myatt, along with Councillor Cheryl Grace, have both been directors on the SVCA board, which can decide whether or not the development goes ahead as proposed. Grace sought advice from the Integrity Commissioner about the possibility of a conflict of interest of serving on both Saugeen Shores Council, that had approved the development in concept, and also as a member of the SVCA Board that has the final environmental decision over the project.  According to Grace, the Commissioner said that there was no conflict for her, and in reference to Myatt, to serving on both entities.

It was announced at Saugeen Shores Council meeting on Monday, November 8th, however, that Councillor Dave Myette will now replace Mike Myatt on the SVCA Board, for reasons unknown for the change.

While Grace has decided to remain as a Director on the SVCA board, she has, according to sources, decided to abstain from voting on the proposed beach development.

A main concern over the proposed development is that the beach is considered ‘dynamic’ under environmental regulations which has been a major environmental concern for the group, the Port Elgin Beach Preservers, and the many residents it has garnered as members.

SVCA had also stated that the ‘Dynamic Beach’ Assessment still was not been completed and submitted and as a result they cannot determine if the Permit Application for the CCV development is complete or not. The Town insisted however, that it had completed the necessary reports and assessments and that a “dynamic beach assessment” isn’t needed as the site is not part of the dynamic beach.

At the last meeting of the SVCA (Sept. 7), due to a storm and abrupt power outage calling a halt to the meeting, a decision was not able to be made as to whether or not the permit application made by the town of Saugeen Shores was complete.

In August of this year (2021), the Town had requested the Administrative Review and, now, has requested a complete ‘re-hearing’.

According to Jennifer Stephens, General Manager of the SVCA, the agenda for the Administrative Review will be posted one week in advance of the November 22nd meeting, in compliance with Administrative By-Laws.

The only two presentations that will be taking place at the Administrative Review are those from SVCA and the Town of Saugeen Shores.

The Administrative Review will be broadcast over Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority’s YouTube Channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF_ooiq14rekYE3tMZh3hxQ/live from 1:00 pm through 3:00 pm to render a decision as to the completeness of the Cedar Crescent Village permit application.