“ BMRA serves in an advocacy role with Town Council and staff on behalf of ratepayers to ensure and enhance our community’s quality of life.”
“Keeping the BMRA membership informed”
September 25, 2020
To: The Mayor and Members of Council Town of the Blue Mountains
From: Blue Mountain Ratepayers Association RE: Aquavil The Craigleith Village Community (CVC) is one of the most important areas designated for future development in the Town of the Blue Mountains. The CVC must function as a full-service community, including commercial, institutional and recreational land uses as well as a range of housing types. The role of the CVC as a vibrant and sustainable community is clearly recognized in our Official Plan (OP). Section B3.12 provides a comprehensive list of policies designed to ensure that the CVC evolves as a commercial centre for area residents and the travelling public, and a prominent Town gateway. Residential development is ancillary to these functions. The policies highlight key planning objectives such as community design that is compatible with the character of the area, provision of active transportation infrastructure, and protection of natural features such as wetlands and shorelines. Section B3.12 also specifies that lands should be developed within a Master Concept Plan that is approved by the Town and implemented through a Master Development Agreement. The need for a strong centre of community services was clear in 2016 when our Official Plan was approved. This need is even greater now given the rapid pace of residential development in Craigleith, and the growing numbers of seasonal residents spending more time locally since the arrival of Covid-19. In this context the Aquavil development, as it is currently proposed, raises significant issues concerning conformity with OP policies and the capacity to meet community needs: • The proposal, which covers the West section of the CVC, includes a request to eliminate an area of commercial land use in favour of additional residential development. The stated intent is to shift these commercial uses to the East section, but there is no way for the public to be assured that this will happen. Commercial development, identified as the “predominant use” in the OP, is too important to delay or possibly eliminate. • Public access to the Georgian Bay shoreline, beaches and open space is eliminated in the current proposal. Again, this contradicts the intent and policies of our OP, which envisions an integrated system of public parks and open space, with a requirement for the dedication of the shorefront to the Town. It would also fail to address rapidly growing demands for public shorefront access. • High water levels in Georgian Bay and high water tables are having a major impact in this area. Assurances that wetland boundaries, hazard land designations, stormwater management plans and other environmental considerations will be based on the most recent data and standards are not yet available. • There is no Master Concept Plan for the CVC. A Master Concept Plan is required to ensure that OP policies will be implemented, and to communicate this effectively to the public. Overall, the current Aquavil proposal represents a significant move away from the full-service community envisioned in the OP, to a cluster of more privatized, self-contained residential developments. The Aquavil proposal should not be approved until the issues listed above are addressed.