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Development concept borders Sandy Hook and Loyalist Parkway

By Sharon Harrison
A virtual public consultation has outlined a proposed ‘Loyalist Heights’ early concept for development of 375-400 homes, by property owner Narisu Huhe, on two parcels of land located near the Loyalist Parkway, at Picton.

The virtual meeting last Thursday saw around 45 participants, and was hosted by Ray Essiambre of Ray Essiambre and Associates Limited, who is acting as the land use planner and project co-ordinator. Project engineer with Greer Galloway, Matthew MacIntosh, was also on hand to answer questions.

Picton councillor Phil St-Jean and South Marysburgh councillor John Hirsch also tuned into the ‘Zoom’ online meeting.

Ray Essiambre

Essiambre said the meeting was to explain the development concept, noting the process was at its very early stages.

He said an earlier virtual meeting was held July 2, principally for the residents living immediately around the development and a pre-consultation meeting had taken place with the municipality to show the concept and gain feedback.

“We have not filed any applications, so we are in an exploratory stage, but we have developed a concept for the purpose of soliciting comments, suggestions and input from stakeholders and interested parties,” said Essiambre.

The site covers two properties divided by the Millennium Trail, which Essiambre noted was owned by the municipality. Loyalist Parkway lies to the north of the site, and Sandy Hook Road is to the south.

The northern property consists of 5.5 hectares (13.5 acres), and the southerly portion is 19.5 hectares (48 acres), totalling 25 hectares (61.5 acres).

Essiambre said Narisu Huhe, who purchased the land last year, has a background in real estate, home building and land development.

“He purchased this property with the intention of getting the planning approvals and developing a property and building the units, but he does not intend to build all the units,” explained Essiambre. “He expects to bring in partners to help bring in other home builders to help build the units, and other land developers too, so it will be a co-operative process over many years.”

Essiambre noted an area (bottom right-hand corner on the plan) designated Environmental Protection which is 5.5 hectares (13.6 acres), and about approximately 22 per cent of the total site area.

The Canadian Tire property (white rectangular block) consists of a long sliver of land which runs more than half-way into the property (ending at the ‘M’ of Millennium Trail on the attached plan).

“The Picton Urban Centre Secondary Plan, which is the Official Plan designation for these lands, the Secondary Plan for the Picton area, this was approved on July 7, 2015,” explained Essiambre. “The designations for the land are primarily ‘town residential’, which is future residential uses, to include single family, semi-detached, towns, apartments, and seniors’ residences.”

He noted the majority of the land is designated ‘town residential’, stating the designation changed from ‘agricultural’ to ‘residential’ in July 2015 when the County changed the Official Plan designation for the property.

“In the south end, there is a section designated EP (Environmental Protection). That EP area extends further east and south, it incorporates the Waring’s Creek Watershed, so that EP area is under study at the moment as part of the environmental study.”

“This south-east corner of the site, which includes the EP area, the storm pond, a parkette and we expect some public open space and parkland dedication.”

Essiambe said they have initiated a number of studies.

“They will be required as we go through the process, such as a functional engineering study (to include a study of the sanitary sewer requirements, capacity and location of the storm sewer), water distribution system and storm water management report,” he said. “We are also in the process of doing an environmental assessment, and an archeological study has been completed, and there is a transportation study under way.”

“That will give us more insights in how to develop the site in a proper way,” Essiambre added.

Matthew MacIntosh said the intent is to connect the drinking water connection to the existing water main on Loyalist Parkway (as shown by the red line and arrow at Loyalist Parkway on the map).

“The sanitary connection would be via forced main that would run along the Millennium Trail all the way up to Lake Street to where the County believes we have suitable capacity to connect,” said MacIntosh. “This is particularly relevant because a number of questions have been raised about what obligation there might be to connect to municipal services for those who are not on municipal services.”

He said the vision and the plan for servicing the development right now does not include any new municipal works on Sandy Hook Road.

““It does not include any new servicing or work on the Millennium Parkway (sic).  The connection to the water main would be a simple direct connection to the existing main; we would not be expanding that service in any way,” said MacIntosh.

“The forced main that would be running up the Millennium Trail would not be along anyone’s frontage, so I don’t believe there would be any expectation for connection along there,” he said. “As this development team doesn’t have any specific idea to what the County’s plans are for servicing along Sandy Hook Road, to my knowledge there are no plans currently under way to service that and certainly there is not a need specifically as part of this development.”

Essiambre said the target density in the Picton Secondary Plan is 25 units per net hectare, the highest density permitted, which would yield around 375-400 units, dependent on net developable land.

There will be two access points to the site, one off Sandy Hook Road in the south (noted as Street A and Street B on the plan). Essiambre said they aren’t exactly sure where they will be located, but they will find out when the transportation study is done. There will no access to/from the Loyalist Parkway.

In terms of design consideration, Essiambe said they want to put the load density uses adjacent to low density uses to accommodate the existing homes along the south side of the Loyalist Parkway as much as possible.

“We have the seniors’ village in this area which are intended to be one-storey bungalows,” he said. “We have two large single family lots (50 x 60 metres), which is similar to the other lots south of Loyalist Parkway. And we will have some other lots north of Street A, so the other planned area in the rest of the development is either going to be single family, semi-detached, townhouses, and we have a range of three different single family lot sizes.”

An apartment block (in the triangular area in the upper right-hand corner of the plan) is planned adjacent to the Millennium Trail in the north-east part of the site.

Essiambre noted a slip of land, an entranceway 57-feet wide on the top portion of the plan facing the Loyalist Parkway.

“It’s wide enough for a road, but Ministry of Transportation has indicated that they will not allow a local street access to connect with Loyalist Parkway at this location, so that narrow strip of land will be the entrance to one large lot.”

Further, MacIntosh confirmed the entranceway would not be used as an access point during construction.

The plan extends the Millennium Trail through the development, and extends the trail so it loops through the development and back to the Millennium Trail.

“We are possibly looking to enhance the Millennium Trail in addition to extending it into the development, but adding something to the Millennium Trail, if desired by the residents in the County, but we were thinking something like a cycling rest area somewhere,” said Essiambre.

After a 20-minute presentation, a lengthy Q&A session followed with about a dozen detailed questions, comments and concerns raised.

Participant Margaret MacDonald raised the issue of noise pollution both in terms of the construction of the project and in the future once the project is complete.

“The Sandy Hook Road is a very busy road and has there been any consideration put in place about noise pollution in terms of the amount of traffic on Sandy Hook Road, given how much is already there?” MacDonald asked if a one-way street had been considered to lessen the noise from more people living in that area might bring. “We are all residents that aren’t used to that kind of noise,” she said.

MacIntosh said the traffic study that has been commissioned will not specifically speak to noise. He said if that was needed an additional expert would look into that.

South Marysburgh councillor John Hirsch addressed the Waring’s Creek Watershed and asked how the developers were going to comply with the implementing policies for the Waring’s Creek Watershed. “After all, the vast majority of this property is in the Waring’s Creek Watershed,” said Hirsch.

He noted the presentation that Picton Secondary Plan deals with this area, but said that not everyone may know there is a section in the Secondary Plan specifically for the Waring’s Creek Watershed.

“There are policies under Section 2 of the Secondary Plan, specifically Section 2.12.3 which contain special rules for the Waring’s Creek Watershed,” explained Hirsch, saying this came out of a settlement reached between the County and the Waring’s Creek Improvement Association in 2008 and was incorporated into the Plan.

“Could you describe how you will comply with those implementing policies?” asked Hirsch. “And more specifically in item 2B of those policies, it talks about low-impact development measures to work with nature to manage storm water as close to source as possible, including infiltration islands, green roofs, biofiltration swills, etc.”

Essiambre said he was aware of the special policies around the Waring’s Creek and it will form part of the environmental and engineering studies being done, but noted they had reached out to the Waring’s Creek Improvement Association and discussions would be forthcoming.

One lady who said she lived on and uses the Millennium Trail, asked about the environmental and noise impacts. She also asked about the density of the apartments, and was also concerned about the aesthetic along the trail with regard to the apartment building and other housing complex.

Essiambre said 150 units were planned over four storeys for the apartment block. “The development along the Millennium Trail on the south side is single family and townhouses; on the north side there is a seniors’ village, so low-density, one-storey bungalows and large lots.”

“Nowhere here on the Millennium Trail over some 40-kilometres is there a four-level apartment building,” she said.

Concerns brought up by others addressed a home-owner’s well situated close to the proposed development; how noise will be managed during construction, and one irate person spoke to putting a sub-division that doesn’t fit into the area, saying it will simply not look pretty. She also wanted an assurance in writing that existing residents will not be required to hook-up to water mains and sewer because those residences had already spent thousands of dollars drilling wells and installing septic beds, adding she does not want any damage done to Waring’s Creek.

“I am wondering if an environmental study shows 400 units and cars and everything running off, and there is supposed to be a sewage transfer station as well, if the environmental study shows that pollution will occur into the creek, which will run past organic farms right the way out to West Lake, if the purchaser is prepared to back off completely on the development if the environmental study shows it will completely harm the creek?” asked Doug Bowser.

He also noted the County doesn’t have a tree removal on EP land policy. “Is the intention to cut down the forest on the property?” he asked.

“There is no intention to cut any trees in the Environmental area; there is a woodlot there and it’s going to remain there,” confirmed Essiambre.

Bowser also spoke to local families being unable to afford housing and noted two public school closings in the last few years.

“The problem is local families with kids can’t afford to buy housing and with this development, the price ranges, even the low ends, are way above what local families can afford,” said Bowser. “You need to have housing, and not apartment condominium housing, at least semi-detached, if not detached, in the $250,000-$300,000 range. When you start getting up to the base being $350,000-$400,000, you are only inviting people from big cities, and it will become a total retirement community.”

Speaking generally about all the proposed residential developments in Prince Edward County, John Hirsch said the County has put a focus on affordable housing.

“Looking at this development, we will be looking for the proponent to demonstrate a significant element of lower cost affordable housing, not high-end stuff because we need affordable housing,” said Hirsch. “My personal view is nowhere near 400 units will be approved on this property.”

Ray Essiambre welcomes comments on the proposed Loyalist Heights development from the public. He can be contacted at 613-371-7541 or by email at

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  1. Rob #2 says:

    I would hope that Mr. Hirsch is correct.

    If 400 units went in there we are looking at well over one thousand more people suddenly introduced to the area.

    There would be a significant increase in demands on social services and healthcare, and possibly schools as well.

    Yes, infrastructure may catch up, Government services would (maybe) catch up as well. But I think past experience suggests that there is a lag in this catching up.

    A community our size can see growth, it is inevitable. But I think huge growth over a short period of time does not benefit us as a whole. We’re not Mississauga in 1985, nor should we have any desire to be.

  2. Barbara Shane says:

    I’m all for affordable housing. It might bring back some much needed workers for the area. Unfortunately, you idea of affordable is still too high even on a working income let alone anything else. Please, keep trying. Thanks

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