MINUTES of PORT STANLEY VILLAGE ASSOCIATION - 7:00 pm Thursday January 14, 2016
a. Andrew Hibbert, vice president, called the meeting to order at 7pm and welcomed all attendees
2. Treasurer`s report:
a. The balance is at $4458.91.
a. Port Stanley ByLaws
i. Ted Halwa, certified planner, gave an overview of Port Stanley bylaws. In 1998 the village became part of Central Elgin. Most bylaws for Port Stanley are now Central Elgin’s. Zoning bylaws adopted in 1968 remain in effect. These are complicated and include standards for setbacks, usage, maximum heights and coverage, etc. The 2013 Official Plan needs to align with the bylaws but some are in conflict with the plan at present. Zoning bylaws establish height standards: 2 storeys or 7 metres for residential and 10 metres for businesses. Council can set higher standards if in accordance with the official plan.
ii. The Prespa development requires amendments, zone changes and public meetings with notice advertised. Decisions need to be based on the official plan but it is silent on height restrictions. The site plan control bylaw has the ability to regulate control of such things as parking, buffer zones usually for larger areas not residential but apartments and business structures.
iii. Changes to the provincial planning act extends to external design but the municipality has not exercised the new provisions such as establishing an urban design review committee which must justify and describe how the building fits into the environment and goals. Central Elgin was considering a Heritage District, which would control external design but, at present, Central Elgin can exert little influence on development. Zoning and site planning are the main tools. Zoning is now in use but site planning is not.
b. Dan McNeil’s Report
i. The heritage district died because of lack of support. Surveys were done of the affected residents who did not support the designation. A heritage district would establish height and other building standards.
ii. Central Elgin is a lower tier government. Half of our taxes go to Elgin County, a second tier. Central Elgin has 52 staff, which is the same as there was in 1998. The staff does all the work such as parks and recreation and snow removal, etc. Our higher taxes are due to the amount of roads and infrastructure paid for by a small population.
iii. Central Elgin’s strategic plan.
1. Short Term: a sport field for soccer, holding spending to the MPAC increases, developing greater cooperation with other municipalities such as St. Thomas, Southwold and Aylmer.
2. Long Term: re-establish the Harbour Vision Committee, publish goals for reaction, promote tourism and business development, develop Hofhuis Park by 2017, evaluate staffing and equipment, grow the tax base and maintain a sustainable environment. Dan feels that Central Elgin needs to have a regional view of its development.
3. Harbour Vision Committee: The committee is made up of diverse interests from the PSVA to Elgin County to farmers and fishermen to St. Thomas and Central Elgin councillors. All meetings are open to the public but observers are not able to take part in the discussion. All meetings are posted one week prior to the date. Check the Civic web portal on the upper right corner of the Central Elgin website.
4. Erie Rest Beach Safety: The Blue Flag Beach designation requires a beach committee. There is a concern re boats on the water interfering with swimmers. Although legally Central Elgin has no authority on the water, it has established swimming areas that boaters respect. No decision has been made on Erie Rest.
5. Official Plan 2013: Central Elgin has no planning staff; instead, they contract Jim McCoombs from St. Thomas. The plan must be finalized before the bylaws can be changed. At this point past bylaws are still on the books. For example, Port is designated “seasonal use” only so some people need a variance to a full calendar year designation to allow renovations. Hopefully the new bylaws will come by next year. All is quasi judicial with some powers but not others. The province is gradually phasing out the OMB. Elgin County has its own plan so the present route for decisions is Central Elgin to Elgin County to the OMB.
6. Prespa is coming Monday, January 18 to council to present its plans for the 9 storey, 52 unit building with the first level as commercial on William Street. This will raise issues concerning proper intensification as designated by the province, traffic, parking, shadow, village character, and fire department service. The first public meeting is tentatively booked for February 16. Dan expects several public meetings.
a. Question: Linda Easton asked about an earlier mention of swapping the Central Elgin parking lot with Prespa’s land so the building would be backed by the hill. Dan said that idea was not being discussed.
7. Silo area: This is brownfield land so requires remediation. Central Elgin is clearing the area and then waiting for developers’ proposals. Dan proposed a group of interested citizens organizing a plan for senior housing as was described on CBC’s Sunday Edition. A group of people built their own senior accommodation in Sooke, BC.
8. Question: Candy Hayward asked about public access to the beach, in particular the area across from Stanley Park and access to Pump House Beach. Dan replied that MPP Terry Campbell has proposed rights to shoreline walking which is now in its second reading.
9. Dan Salhani is building a 6 unit condo between the parking area and the Wharf. He has graciously given Central Elgin 18 feet of access as a public roadway to the waterfront.
10. Question: Mary Eccles asked if the brownfield can be developed. Dan explained that it costs more but the buildings have to be above ground anyway.
c. Membership Update: Wendy Macmillan will be sending agendas and information. She is working on lapsed members. There are issues coming up that require good membership support.
d. PSVA Membership Brochures: Andrew Hibbert is updating the brochure and asked for approval to print 500 more. This was approved. The membership application is also available on the website.
e. Entry Signage – Andrew reported that Central Elgin has approved it, money is provided by the BIA and Lions Club and council will install it. The problem is meeting with Central Elgin staff re location for the signs. Ted Halwa proposed sending in pictures of locations instead.
i. Historical Establishment; There is a question of the date of Port Stanley’s historical establishment. Andrew has 1874 on the sign now but Heritage Port says the first references are in 1824. The members present accepted the 1824 date.
f. Report on Sewage Treatment Plant: Doug Chateauneuf attended the meeting re the sewage treatment plant. Either the lagoon needs to be expanded or changed. There are concerns about runoff from the lagoon in heavy rain. There will probably be a new sewage plant. This is costly but the development charges on the new subdivision on East Road will pay part of it. Union might be part of the development as well.
g. Question: Candy Hayward suggested at the next meeting to discuss the violation of bylaws by Prespa. She suggested informing members and canvasing them. She also felt it is important to assure ourselves that Central Elgin will hold more meetings and for the PSVA to present at the public meeting. She was concerned with the exception granted to zoning and bylaws. Is the process fair and reasonable?
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM