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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Serving the communities of Elgin County

2018 Sparta Scarecrow Festival

Volume 1: Issue 10 Please note the next copy of The Echo will arrive a few days late to ensure we can cover the municipal election results

Melissa Schneider photo The Canadian Country Cruisers dance group from Tillsonburg were dressed in their finest Scarecrow gear in Sparta to celebrate the Scarecrow Festival held by The Village Collective and sponsored by Elgin County Economic Tourism and Development September 29 and 30. The group performed multiple numbers for a large crowd of attendees. For more photos, see page 10.

Wastell rezoning ok’d by council Melissa Schneider: The Echo

Central Elgin councillors unanimously approved rezoning for Wastell Developments, while holding off on establishing exact conditions for the development until the October 9 meeting. One of the issues that arose that split the decision into two was talk of adding affordable housing to the project, something both Deputy Mayor Sally Martyn and Councillor Dan McNeil saw as imperative to the project moving forward. Once conditions are established the plan will be forwarded to Elgin County Council for final approval. The council meeting, held September 24, was the second meeting with Wastell that day for councillors, who held a special meeting before regular council with Julian Novick of Wastell and the company’s planning consultants Monteith Brown Planning Associates. Martyn said her hope was that 10 percent of the proposed apartment buildings could be affordable housing, “Port already has a huge number of condos and they’re not cheap to live in,” she said. Councillors Dennis Crevits, Stephen Carr and Fiona Roberts were in favour of the plan as it stood, with Crevits and Carr adding that it was an ideal location for a six-storey building. Central Elgin Mayor David Marr said a decision had to be made by the October 9 meeting, adding that the last

chance for county council to approve the subdivision would be October 16, so there was no more pushing the decision down the road. “This has to be a sound planning decision, not necessarily a political decision,” he said. “Does it meet the planning requirements [the 2014 Provincial Policy Statement, and the plans for Central Elgin and Elgin County], that’s what you need to ask yourself.” The approved zoning would require a change to the current zoning bylaw, Central Elgin planner Jim McCoomb said. “The change to the Port Stanley bylaw would be fairly significant in a way because changes wouldn’t be considered minor necessarily, “ he said. He added that staff suggests the bylaw itself (for zoning) could be considered as it stands and there could be discussions in future on whether or not Wastell could fit some affordable housing on the build. The proposed subdivision would add 150 single-family homes and 360 apartment units. As far as impacts to traffic, one suggestion was to change the stop signs at George and William Street, while another idea proposed keeping the stop on William Street but removing the sign for eastbound traffic on George Street, making it a through-street in both directions. If neither of those ideas worked, the area could become a four-way stop.

Proposed subdivsion worries rural residents Ian McCallum: For The Echo

Residents of Talbotville fear their rural residential way of life will be lost forever if a proposed subdivision on 118 acres of land is approved by Southwold Township council. And for nearly three hours on Oct. 2, the 100 or so ratepayers who crowded into the township office in Fingal vented their frustration and levelled a barrage of questions and comments at Mayor Grant Jones, members of council and those associated with the project that potentially could triple the community’s population. The forum gave the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed draft plan of subdivision and amendments to the zoning bylaw and official plan. The land is owned by Farhi Holdings of London. While developer Shmuel Farhi was not present, his son Ben was in attendance. They are proposing to develop 348 lots for single, detached residential dwellings, a multi-residential block, two blocks for commercial development, a block for stormwater management and 14.4 acres set aside for parkland. The latter generated considerable pushback from residents, already an-

gered at the amount of traffic to be generated, much of which will enter and exit through access to Talbotville Gore Road at the site of the existing soccer pitch and ball diamond. Those in attendance questioned the need for a second entrance to the subdivision, in addition to access from Talbot Line. Instead, many urged Aldo Caranci, construction manager for Caranci Group of London, to locate the proposed park at the existing playing fields instead of at the extreme west end of the subdivision. A location considered by some as remote and unsafe as it is out of public view behind houses. Southwold CAO Lisa Higgs announced a separate public meeting will be held Oct. 11 to deal with parkland. Melanie Horton, director of planning for Harrington McAvan Ltd., explained Phase 1 would entail development of 111 lots along with the new park. Caranci would like to begin work next spring with six homebuilders participating and completion of the entire subdivision within 36 months.

Central Elgin/Southwold council profiles, LDCSB profiles

See PLAN | page 2

Pages 6-9

The Echo  

Edition 10

The Echo  

Edition 10