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Motion to change road to all-season, as first step for proposed housing project, fails

A motion to investigate costs to change a small portion of Rosseau Road to all-season from seasonal – as a first step in a proposal for a rural housing development – failed at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

The motion followed an information presentation by Steve VanDusen, president and CEO of Tri-Canadian Energy, in the County, to create Rosseau Acres “an attainable, sustainable and environmental housing project” on 120 acres of his land.

He was asking for a 1.4km portion of Rosseau Road to be changed into an all-season road which “will allow us to move forward and focus on the next steps to bring this proposal to reality.”

The next steps, however, are already mired with several hurdles, councillors noted. Before voting on the motion, several councillors pointed out the proposal clashes with the newly-approved Official Plan that focuses on urban development and does not allow rural subdivisions. It was also noted some of the property is on natural core land, also protected by the new Official Plan, and that the plan, in theory, prohibits revision for at least two years.

Van Dusen, in his presentation, had stated his company wants to develop a solar energy community to meet the housing needs of 68 families.

“This proposal is a passive and active housing development utilizing solar energy under Ontario’s Net Metering program. Homes in this community will sustain their day-to-day needs via electricity generated from a neighbouring solar field, which will be built and maintained by TCE.”

He proposes lots would be available for one-third of market value; pre-approved building designs would be provided to lot owners and reduced building costs with slab on grade design, group discounts for building material and assistance with group mortgages and other government programs.

Residential lots, he stated, would start at $35,000 for the first acre and commercial lots at $45,000 for three-quarter acre for business owners to help address the housing needs of their employees. He states the area would operate under the ‘Common Elements Condo’ corporation attached to a parcel of tied land and be governed by a condominium board of directors.

A councillor pointed out the property has been listed for sale twice in the past several years for $178,000 and more recently for $580,000 and wanted clarification on offering the lots at $35,000 which would garner approximately $2.4M. Van Dusen stated he is not pocketing money for himself, but would be investing millions creating roads inside the housing project and creating by infrastructure.

County residents, he stated, deserve an attainable solution to the housing shortage to enable them to live, work and stay in the County. He quoted recent statistics that show current housing prices are negatively impacting local businesses where workers’ average wages do not allow them to afford to live in the county.

“In the last year house prices in Prince Edward County, have increased 49 per cent, and the average rent has gone up 38 per cent, according to the Prince Edward County Affordable Housing Corporation’s annual report.”

His housing model, he said, seeks sustainability – efficient homes with minimal to zero effect on the environment.

“This housing model creates sustainability for the homeowner; giving them financial stability and security by avoiding carbon costs while participating in the low-carbon economy. Energy needs will be met via net metering; energy efficient building techniques and reduced monthly maintenance fees.”

“Solar is not only an economical and environmental way of living, but a necessity to sustain our planet,” he said, pointing to a 1MW net metering solar field, septic digester, responsibly sourced building materials, triple-glazed windows incorporating passive solar design, grey water recovery systems and rainwater capture.”

Council received Van Dusen’s deputation as information.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Bruce Nicholson says:

    @MI, @Chuck – Responsible development of virtually all municipalities is to contain substantial sub-divisions within designated development areas where infrastructure services are existing. Rural lot severances is not the issue here.

  2. Chuck says:

    Agree with MI. THE whole objective of settlement only construction is to help the infrastructure nightmare they are in.

  3. Les Stanfield says:

    No water, no soil to facilitate proper septic bed working, wildlife Core area, no infrastructure around the property. Kill it now! Or here we go again. There’s a reason why the official plan discourages this kind of development.

  4. MI says:

    I don’t know if anyone outside of the building industry has noticed that the County has an agenda when it comes to any rural construction. They have created an absurd Official Plan to virtually eliminate rural lot severences. The planning and the building departments have made builders and designers jump through hoops unseen in any of our neighboring municipalities. Why are they insisting that the only development should occur in the towns of PEC? Well, one opinion might be that it is the only solution that they can think of to finance their horribly mismanaged infrastructure of water,sewage,and roads. Clogging the arteries of Picton, Bloomfield, and Wellington with high density housing is hardly the answer. We have so much marginal rural land that is not being farmed, we should be spreading our population around.

  5. kb says:

    Beware. Exercising due diligence and credibility with any business owner is necessary.

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