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Eco-cabin resort proposal for County Road 7

County Road 7, just east of Picton, will see another resort-type tourism development proposal in the ward of North Marysburgh.

Presented at a recent virtual public consultation was an outline of a small-scale, year-round, eco-cabin resort to be located at 2353 County Road 7.

Described as “sustainable, ecologically-sensitive and community-oriented” the proposal is for 19 cabins, plus three studio cabins. Six are to be one-storey, two-bedrooms, nine two-storey, two-bedrooms, and four are to be one-storey with three bedrooms. Each is to contain a small kitchenette and living room space.

The three studio cabins – described are fourplexes – are to each contain four rooms housing 12 bed-sitting rooms (similar to regular hotel/motel rooms).

Two amenity buildings are proposed for the site to include a clubhouse (5,368 square foot) and a pool house (2,079 square foot). The clubhouse is to feature a commercial kitchen and meeting rooms, slightly elevated to provide views of the water without the need to remove trees.

Kelly Graham, planner with Toronto-based SvN Architects and Planners, gave a brief outline of the proposed resort development, noting the meeting was a preliminary consultation session.

The purpose of the meeting was to share ideas with the community and to also to receive input, particularly at it pertains to enhancing the site’s ecological connectivity, amplifying its existing assets and promoting regenerative tourism.

No formal planning submission has yet been made to the municipality.

The site is currently zoned rural (RU1) and Environmental Protection (EP) and the applicants would be looking to have the RU1 portion of the land re-zoned to tourist commercial.

It is expected the current EP zoning, which relates only to the escarpment area, would remain unchanged, and Graham confirmed all development would be outside the EP area and would be set back from the escarpment.

“What we are proposing is permitted under the Official Plan,” noted Graham. “What we will be seeking is to re-zone a portion of property that is on the table end, south of the escarpment to tourist commercial.”

Graham also noted the site sits just outside the Cressy natural core area.

“Stewardship and enhancement is really a core objective of this project,” she said.

She stated just 5.70 per cent of the site would contain buildings, structures and roadways, with almost 95 per cent of the site remaining as open space, where the landscape will be disturbed as little as possible.

The existing waterfront contains a deck structure which will be re-purposed for a place for sunbathing, a cocktail bar, etc.

Graham noted the very steep slope down to the water’s edge.

“We are exploring some solutions that are made up of a system of wooden boardwalks and platforms for rest, yoga or birdwatching,” she explained. “The goal is to make the water as accessible as possible, but there are obvious limitations to the terrain.”

Current thinking for accessibility is to provide golf carts to traverse the existing gravel path through the escarpment.

The swimming pool will have a retractable roof to make it usable in the winter as well.

“The pool is a resiliency feature in that it is going to double as a source of water for fire protection in the event that is needed,” explained Graham.

The resort is intended as a destination for locals and visitors, with access for residents to the pool and clubhouse likely with a fee-based day pass.

“We want this resort to be inclusive, we want there to be opportunities for the community to engage with the site, with the landscape, and with each other,” she said.

There is currently a planted woodland on the property, cultivated by a previous owner, and something Graham said is a feature they want to retain.

“We are envisioning the experience of the resort as a journey; you arrive from County Road 7 and you gradually become more immersed in the site.”

She noted direction was taken from the County’s new tourism development strategy which provided some key direction to the overall thinking of the project.

“The future of tourism in Prince Edward County is sustainable, immersive and personal and this project sees to elevate the incredible cultural and natural richness of the site and create an unforgettable experience for guests and locals alike,” expressed Graham.

The proposed development currently does not have a project name, something that confused several attendees who were confusing this resort development with a different much larger neighbouring resort proposed for County Road 7 (known as the Adolphus Reach Resort) located at 1315,1329 and 1357 County Road 7 about 1.5 kilometres to the west.

The two, Graham said, are not connected in any way.

The name of the developer was not revealed, but Graham said it consisted of a small group of individuals, not a big developer.

Questions and concerns came from a number of the 22 participants in the form of concern over the EP area and also potential destruction of the waterfront, whether the resort would be open to the public, how much water would be taken from the lake, neighbour privacy, and light pollution among them.

One question asked was why pool water would be needed for fire protection, to which Graham said there is a requirement to provide water for fire protection in a commercial or congregate-type use.

Graham confirmed the water source for guests (drinking) and servicing for the buildings and the pool will come from the lake.

“It will be a lake intake water system, which is quite a common system,” she said.

“We understand that the aquifers in the County are quite taxed, so if there is opportunity to not draw water from a well and to draw water from the lake instead, we are going to do that.”

An audience question asked how much water would be taken from the lake, something a Greer Galloway spokesperson noted had not yet been determined.

Greer Galloway explained for the water supply, water will be brought from the shore well via a pump system up to the table lands for treatment and storage for distribution to the cabins and the amenity buildings.

“Sewer waste will go to a series of septic fields,” said Greer Galloway. “Treatment of water over the land, because of the size of property any run off from stormwater will be treated on-site with the use of grading, so there will be no additional contributions to adjacent properties, the roadway or lake.”

The issue was raised of whether affordable on-site staff housing was being considered, to which Graham said on-site staff accommodations were being considered.

Another question asked how the EP area would remain untouched with hundreds of people trampling through the area.

Graham explained an existing gravel path is currently passable with a car, although she said cars would not be allowed in that area once the resort is built.

“The existing gravel path is the only way folks would be able to get from the table lands down to the waterfront, so staying out of the forested areas,” said Graham.

She noted the forested areas were not the most walkable as it is steep and rough terrain.

Another question asked if the plan was to destroy the natural waterfront.

“We are looking to retain as much of the waterfront as possible; the rocky shoreline there is man-made. We are not looking to change to shoreline, but to enhance it with some docks and stairs.”

The use of the poll feature during the meeting was also used to gather further feedback from those in attendance with several questions posed throughout the virtual meeting.

Several attendees called for an opportunity to visit the site in-person.

Graham indicated the early proposal would be refined to include public input, with a formal planning submission, including a re-zoning application, anticipated to be filed this summer.

Once the formal planning application process begins, the public will have opportunity to comment further in the months ahead at consultation meetings and statutory public meetings.

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