All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Sunday, March 3rd, 2024

Wellington Bay Estates draft moves ahead, despite concerns; lack of housing options

Amid environmental concerns and lack of housing options, a draft plan for a sub-division and re-zoning for Wellington Bay Estates (WBE) met with council approval at Wednesday evening’s planning committee meeting in a 12-2 recorded vote (with councillors Kate MacNaughton and Jamie Forrester in opposition).

Wellington councillor Mike Harper noted that while he isn’t thrilled by the changes made to the development, “it is much better than it was, and they have addressed some big things that I personally raised, one of which is the park.”

Harper also noted that of a total of 209 units, about half were townhouses or semi-detached units to help with more affordable options. “On some levels, this is moving in an acceptable direction,” he said.

“It is no secret this development was intended as a seniors-only community, much like Wellington the Lake and that’s always been a concern of mine.”

Harper said bluntly that “Wellington has an unhealthy demographic imbalance”.

“We simply have too many seniors for a healthy population for a functioning town and by creating another seniors-only community, we are not only exacerbating our doctor shortage problem, but we are not bringing in families which we need here to strengthen our workforce and to keep CML Snider (school) open.”

Harper’s main issue of concern was the non-residential uses of Block 155, the wellness centre, and its potential permitted uses.

“I am concerned that we will end up with private facilities and amenities that the general public cannot access, and that is counter to the values of rural living, and it creates a greater sense of fragmentation in what should be a close-knit community.”

Harper put forward an amending motion (that council approved) that the permitted non-residential uses of Block 155 be revised to include options open to the public, including a personal service shop, business professional, administrative office, medical clinic, fitness and recreation areas, and outdoor recreational amenities.

The revised application for sub-division, which has been in the works for about two-and-a-half years, consists of 209 residential units, comprising single detached dwellings (101 freehold units), semi-detached dwellings (28 units), and townhome blocks (80 units).

Density for this development is 22.79 units per hectare.

Block 155 would include a wellness centre (relocated from the previous location to be closer to Main Street), but would not permit a private community centre. Parkland has been added to the revised plan of 0.38 hectares which equates to 2.5 per cent of the total developable area.

The 35 acre (14.2 hectares) property’s southern boundary fronts onto Wellington Main Street with 100.2 metres of frontage. This also abuts single detached homes that also front onto Wellington Main Street. The northern portion of the site is identified as future development.

“These lands are proposed to be developed into a future plan of sub-division that would border the Millennium Trail and provide a future linkage to Belleville Street,” stated the staff report.

Easterly, the site abuts the settlement area boundary for the Wellington Urban Centre. Beyond the easterly boundary are existing single detached homes and vacant rural land. West of the site lies the proposed Lakeside Estates sub-division which previously had draft plan approval (now lapsed).

Previous public meetings included an open house held in September 2019, and a statutory planning committee meeting in August 2020.

Spencer Hutchison, with RFA Planning Consultants, spoke to the detailed landscaping plan that has been requested by the municipality which includes all trees on site to be inventoried. The plan will cover detailed tree planting, location and species list, pathway, access points, fencing requirements, adequate buffering from adjacent properties, including appropriate fencing along the boundaries of the site.

The applicant will also have to abide by the County’s new tree policy adopted in 2021.

“If accidently or whatever way an existing tree has been identified to be retained is damaged or destroyed in any way, the owner shall be required to provide compensation in the form of a replacement tree,” noted Hutchison, who said some trees would be lost during construction.

Addressing the issue of affordable housing, councillor Phil St-Jean asked what the price points were for the development – especially the anticipated start point.

“We are looking to have attainable housing, and that is the price point and the market we are going after,” said a representative of the developer, although he did not specify an anticipated price point.

Councillor Brad Nieman noted there are no rental units available in the sub-division and that was something the developer said they cannot comment on at this point.

“It may be someone comes in and buys 10 or 15 houses and wants to do a rental; we have been working with some different companies that would like to come in and do some rentals,” he said, adding, “we are open to the opportunity of attainable rental units for people.”

Close neighbour to the proposed sub-division, Ron Waslenko, expressed on-going concerns over the proposed community centre, private roads and associated servicing fees, as well as concerns of the existing tree population.

“No assessment report has indicated the existence of thousands of trees of the Wellington Bay Estates developments, or those trees at the existing properties,” expressed Waslenko. “Nothing is mentioned of the effects of striping all these trees on this land.”

He noted many of the trees were 50-100 years old.

“Trees go back a long way providing a massive root system to absorb groundwater and flooding water accumulation,” said Waslenko.

He noted the bedrock in this location is quite shallow at two feet, to less than three feet maximum.

“Flooding from lack of ground water control and mitigation of the massive root system of the existing forest of trees is not to be dismissed lightly.”

He asked why no environmental assessment had been done for this area, saying the scope of natural habitat must be assessed given the area has been supporting many thriving species living there.

“I question how allotted green space can be converted into commercial use space, striping all vegetation as well for the pond and all servicing buildings,” he said.

Waslenko was concerned about the high risk of flooding to nearby properties when open bedrock exposed areas gets saturated.

“Our existing huge buffer of trees prevents all of this from occurring and once removed, the only man-made manipulation may divert this underground flooding as will likely occur without some matter of control or reduction, or both may be required.”

Amy Cleveland, said development is needed in the community, but needs to be done properly, something she didn’t believe Wellington Bay Estates was accomplishing with this development.

“There is a serious need for affordable housing in Prince Edward County, so how is this development, which is still advertised as an age-in-place community on its website, meeting that need?” asked Cleveland.

She also spoke to the integrity of the existing character of the area and noted two blocks of townhouses that will be seen from Main Street, the existing natural space with existing houses that date back more than 50 years, but also the existing wooded area that was crucial to plant, animal, and insect species.

Dee Hazel also spoke to the environment, sustainability and the removal of farmland to grow food.

“Sub-divisions and urban sprawl on farmland is not the solution,” said Hazel. She acknowledged the housing crisis in the County, but said the houses being proposed will not help.

“The people who are poorly housed, under-housed and homeless in our community are not going to benefit from this housing. These homes advertised at just under half a million dollars starting price, it may as well be $10 million.”

Gayla Campney, who resides adjacent to the proposed development, was concerned about environmental protection issues, changing the charm and face of Wellington, and lack of affordable housing.

“My neighbours and I are greatly concerned about the green space that will be demolished and its impact on the environment,” said Campney.

She also noted the species-at-risk document completed at the end of January 2020 is not an appropriate time to conduct a survey of habitat and species-of-risk.

“We have noted a number of snapping turtles (a species of special concern) and other turtles, wild turkeys, snowy owls, red-grey foxes and red squirrels (endangered), and many bats (endangered) as well as the eastern meadowlark and whipoorwill.”

She also noted a number of beautiful old trees over 100 years old on the property.

“It appears these trees and others like it will be destroyed rather than incorporating the trees in the plan. We don’t need higher-end or adult housing only, and instead we are in desperate need of affordable housing for young families.”

Derek Mendham, president of the Wellington of the Lake Residents’ Association said he, and many of his members (72 per cent according to a vote that was held), were in support of the WBE proposal. (The developer for the WBE sub-division is the same developer that constructed the Wellington on the Lake development).

“We believe WBE is a reasonable and sensible addition to this place that we all share in Prince Edward County,” said Mendham. “We think in its current form that it will be an asset to the County in general, and Wellington in particular, and it will address the increased demand for housing, including affordable and attainable housing. We see the project as an integral part of the future plan for both the village and economic benefits that will ensue.“

Other comments from the public also spoke to the lack of affordable housing, especially as it pertains to small businesses who are unable to find and keep employees. It was also suggested that future developments should not be entertained if they do not intend to provide some affordable housing options.

Councillor Brad Nieman asked how many apartment buildings were planned.

Matt Coffey, with the planning department, confirmed there are six blocks set aside for townhomes, but no blocks currently identified for apartment buildings. Michael Michaud, manager of planning, indicated the developer had not been broached on the topic to provide that type of housing. “It may not be best location for that type of large apartment building,” Michaud said.

“The cure for affordable housing does not necessarily rest with the development community, everybody has a part to play,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson, who noted this development is allowable under the Secondary Plan.

“I really caution about standing in the way of something that is reasonably affordable and we have to start taking more significant steps,” he said. “I’m in favour of this proposal and we should vote in favour of it going forward.”

Filed Under: Featured Articles

About the Author:

RSSComments (2)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Dennis Fox says:

    The ideas that development would end the worries of high taxes. high water bills, provide affordable housing and that it will pay for itself are “pie in the sky” – and always have been. I feel sorry for the people in Wellington because it is obvious that too many have no idea of how development and increased population will impact on them – not a positive for sure. What I do know is that far too many important decisions made about the future of this community did not include enough engagement from the public.

  2. SM says:

    Cork and Vine proposes about 6 times the number of homes of Wellington Bay Estates. The bulk of the land is agricultural. Advertising has indicated starting prices in excess of $800,000.00. The vision for Wellington Bay Estates was an age in place community. A place that would allow people to access services as they needed them. It was proposed in that fashion because the developer believed there was a market for such a development. It is disturbing to read negative comments about Wellington’s senior population and Wellington on the Lake. Wellington on the Lake was the only subdivision being built in this community for many years. Construction employed a number of people and subcontractors. Each home pays taxes to the County at the same rate as every other home. Yet Wellington on the Lake pays for its own snow removal, garbage collection and infrastructure. In a way Wellington the Lake is subsidizing every other property in the community. The residents of Wellington on the Lake provide countless volunteer hours to the community. There is a medical centre in Wellington because of the efforts of the developer of Wellington on the Lake. It would be marvelous if young families were to locate in Wellington. However what would these young families do to make a living here? Wait tables at the Drake? People are attracted to a place to live because they can make a living there. There is already a current of discontent building regarding potential commercial development along Belleville Road. Mr Harper is concerned because a private recreation / wellness facility was proposed for Wellington Bay Estates. Wellington on the Lake has such facilities. The residents of Wellington on the Lake pay for these facilities in their monthly fees. Wellington Bay Estates would likely have operated in a similar fashion. How is this different than offering recreation facilities in a condo building. By Mr Harper’s reasoning, the public should have access to those facilities even though they are located on private property. With all due respect Mr Harper you went door to door in Wellington on the Lake seeking support to get elected. You asked for our concerns. You came back after being elected to speak to our community. You were there to celebrate the fund raising efforts of the “Ladies on the Rocks” calendar in support of Alternatives for Women. Now we are an unhealthy drain on the community. Well, keep in mind that Wellington on the Lake makes up about half of the population of Wellington and negative comments about it’s residents do nothing to build a close knit rural community.

OPP reports
lottery winners
Elizabeth Crombie Janice-Lewandoski
Home Hardware Picton Sharon Armitage

© Copyright Prince Edward County News 2024 • All rights reserved.