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Citizens concerned with Halfmoon Point resort concept on environmentally-sensitive land

A concept for a residential and resort development at Halfmoon Point (County Road 13 near Long Point) could crumble before its created .

The preliminary design was presented to Committee of the Whole Thursday (for information purposes, not a decision) and met with concern from councillors and four deputents over its placement in a designated Important Bird Area with species-at-risk, and in a natural core area designated in the draft Official Plan.

The presentation was made by Eric Harari, owner of Bel Air Resort and Residences, who has been involved in resort projects in Bahamas, Miami and Mont-Tremblant. He stated he has no doubt his concept would work and would be “a magical experience” that is “much needed in Prince Edward County” and it would be one that “won’t destroy” the area’s natural beauty or environment.

“It’s an extremely environmentally sensitive area,” said councillor Bailey, questioning whether Harari had spoken with nearby residents. Harari replied no, and that it was the company’s desire to receive council’s approval first, then go to residents.

“It is important to present to you first. Residents have a say in everything, in time, but we focused our attention on creating the project over the past three months,” said Harari. “This should be agreeable to you all. I don’t want to fight with anybody. If you don’t want to do it, it won’t happen. It will be a masterpiece, a very good element for your region, but council needs to want it, then the public needs to want it as well. My intention is not to fight.”

Four deputations representing the South Shore Joint Initiative, PEC Field Naturalists, and others, stated clearly, they want council to stop the development before it moves any further. Harari does not yet own the property but contracts, he said, are under way.

His concept includes a hotel, spa, grocery store, recreation among 119 units, including 42 single family homes, 30 ‘Antartica’ pods and 45 round pods.

The development is based on the current Official Draft Plan and seeks its next planning steps in November, with reports and draft submissions to follow.

“The project is incompatible with the natural features of the area,” stated Cheryl Anderson, representing the South Shore Joint Initiative environmental group. She spoke to the cliffs, pond and grounds that are home to species-at-risk provincially and federally, and are foraging habitat. “It’s a blatant attempt for your OK before approval of the draft Official Plan,” she said, noting the new one specifically states maintaining, restoring and enhancing the County’s natural features and ecological function.

South Marysburgh resident Gord Gibbins, stated he hoped the developer would abandon plans, noting it was the same area of a development proposed in 2008 by former mayor James Taylor and Brad Warren, of Cushman and Wakefield LePage Inc., called “Port Royal”, which was abandoned, following immediate opposition by more than 300 people.

Councillor Bill Roberts also affirmed to Harari that the residents of the County have a “very strong local appreciation for environment, natural areas and wildlife”, asking how that would be taken into consideration.

Harari noted they were used to working with municipalities over the long term through “lots of red tape.” He also went on to explain how much work is done in a prefabrication facility they own.

“The whole aspect is not to destroy,” he said noting “work will preserve as much as we can.”

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Fred says:

    Kinda like bringing in Turbines to a sensitive environment.

  2. Jennifer Ackerman and Dan Celovsky says:

    1) What kind of person sets out to completely change a neighbourhood without even speaking to the neighbours first? Changing an entire community and neighbourhood without their participation or knowledge?
    2) Pods? Those are something I have seen in the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.
    3) This does NOT sound like affordable housing.
    4) The answer loud and clear. The high end resort is NOT welcome here!

  3. angela says:

    Enough is enough. Half of Toronto is here now. All we need are more resorts, spas, wineries etc to cater to the well-to-do who see the county as a weekend playground. Developers recognize a chance to make a buck and jump in with proposed developments in their interests only. They are not for the good of the county. It is disgusting to see how they are attempting to turn peaceful rural areas into resorts. Pods have no place playing peek-a-boo in the trees. Leave something for the wildlife and those of us who enjoy nature. Are there any developments proposed for Chuckery Hill yet?

  4. Cheryl Anderson says:

    It is important to realize that both sides of Cty Rd 13 will be developed in this plan. In the purple area on the map Mr. Harari indicated he planned tennis courts and a spa. The light green area would include a farmer’s market and be dedicated to “agri-tourism”. It is clear that this part of the property will be developed to perhaps a lesser degree than the lake side, but definitely it will not be left as it is now. IMO this development must not be allowed to happen. It will destroy important habitat and is against the spirit and policies of the new Official Plan which was developed with lots of public consultation.

  5. Mike Rodgers says:

    This area was the site of a military training area for the war. I believe the buildings may still be there. Maybe some one should make it into a walk in park museum not a play ground for the rich. I am sure some of the neighbours who bought 2o years ago bought for privacy not invasion. Further more how is the sewage going to be treated in this area, the soil is almost none existent, basically bedrock 2 inches below the surface.

  6. Cheryl Anderson says:

    It is important that everyone write to the Council, Mayor and Planning department and let them know that this development is totally inappropriate for a Natural Core Area – as the area is designated in the new Official Plan.

  7. ADJ says:

    Mr. Taylor is absolutely correct. To add to his reasoning I’d suggest the County is looking at rebuilding County Rd. 13 and/or Babylon Rd. from the bottom up. Total rip up, widening, culverts, drainage, grade and surfacing. That’s not going to happen! Developers are just throwing out ideas and schemes at the County hoping something sticks.

  8. R Taylor says:

    “Preserve as much as we can”
    Right.. What does that really mean.
    A proposal that would benefit everybody except the people who’s families have paid taxes and lived there for up to 150 years. This isn’t The Bahamas. Moreso. There is nothing in for people from here except more frustration with another hoard of people showing up and treating the County like a dumping ground for their pleasure.

  9. R Taylor says:

    Cashing in on the County. I doubt I’m the only one fed up with these types. How would a development like that would not hurt the conservation of a wildlife sanctuary so close by? That’s the last thing the county needs. I wish the filthy rich or wanna-be filthy rich would try to get so somewhere else. Everything that they look at is another chance to think big and who cares about the families who have lived next door for the last 100 years who’s lives are going to be affected 100 times worse than yours.

  10. Teena says:

    Regarding the final comment:. “The whole aspect is not to destroy…work will preserve as much as we can.”. I, for one, don’t believe you, Sir. You are here to make money, only, like all the other developers. The County requires full time paying jobs at more than minimum wage, and affordable housing. Your proposal will not provide this. Full Stop.

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