Raucous Crowd Out Against Development

October 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm Leave a comment

More than 300 show up to oppose Foodland

A planner is urging members of North Dumfries Township Council to take a hard look at an application for commercial rezoning on Northumberland Street from a local standpoint.

Mark Dorfman, a planner with more than 45 years experience in the public and private sectors, said it shouldn’t only matter whether a new Foodland fits within the “guidelines” of provincial and regional planning documents and that it won’t remain an orphan along the “spine” of Ayr, if approved.

He urged council members to consider the implications of future commercial development along this thoroughfare of a village that is expected to grow substantially in coming years.

“For this reason alone, this development is premature,” he added. “It’s not a sound design objective in a residential setting.”

Dorfman was retained on behalf of a citizens’ group that opposes the development of a new, 26,000-square-foot Foodland on properties currently zoned residential, across from the Broom Street intersection.

Residents of Ayr are concerned about traffic safety and their quality of life, which will be interrupted by delivery trucks, car alarms, doors slamming, running motors and exhaust fumes. Above all, they say it’s simply the wrong place to put a grocery store.

More than 300 people showed up to a public meeting Monday evening at the North Dumfries Community Complex. Some lined the back wall of the MacNeil Room due to limited seating.

North Dumfries Mayor Rob Deutschmann put his gavel to use several times and at one point threatened to shut down the meeting due to a raucous response from the crowd assembled in opposition.

Victor Labreche, a planner on behalf of the development team, pointed out that a 500-metre radius surrounding the proposed grocery store is currently comprised of 45 per cent industrial land and 40 per cent residential.

The radius includes an elementary school and a curling rink. The grocery store would result in a more “complete community” and reduce vehicular traffic going to and from the village’s core, he argued.

The plan is to relocate the existing Foodland in the village’s core into a larger building offering full service and more products, as well as an LCBO agency store.

But residents appearing as delegations don’t go along with the proposal on the two-lane road, even despite the implementation of a 25m left-hand turn lane for southbound traffic – a measure they say would do little to improve traffic flow at certain times of the day when a railway line ties up commuters of the bedroom community.

Christina Dorian resides across the street from where the development could be situated and also envisions a McDonald’s and a gas station next door if a commercial precedent is set.

Residents say they aren’t against having a new grocery store, but would rather see commercial development clustered to the north in the vicinity of Greenfield Road that is surrounded by vacant industrial land.

North Dumfries planning consultant Steve Jefferson noted that provincial planning policies can restrict municipalities from using land designated industrial for commercial purposes.

He expects that recommendations pertaining to the proposed grocery store could come before council in the next two months.

“Let’s do this right and update our official plan for the future,” said James Dol, a main organizer behind the Save Our Community group.

Dol presented the mayor with a petition with more than 1,000 signatures.

Many people, both young and not so young, urged councillors to think of the future.

A 14-year-old girl asked decision makers to imagine growing up in Ayr 20 years from now.

“In math they say you can’t add apples and oranges together because you get the wrong answer,” she said. “There are many other places we could put this grocery store.”

Source: CambridgeTimes.ca

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Entry filed under: Ayr, North Dumfries, Waterloo Region. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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