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Township holds information meeting for subdivision in northwest Fergus

by Mike Robinson

ABOYNE - An interested, yet somewhat sparse crowd attended a Nov. 30 public meeting here about a proposed residential subdivision in northwest Fergus.

About 40 people attended, including the majority of Centre Wellington council, staff and county representatives.

The meeting, chaired by councillor Don Fisher, was held to review the proposed zoning bylaw amendment and draft plan of subdivision and to receive public input for the next phase of the Storybrook development along Colborne Street west of the Beatty Line.

The proposed draft plan of subdivision consists of lots and blocks for up to 1,178 single detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwelling units, apartments, commercial/mixed use, parks, storm water management ponds and walkways.

Sorbara Group development manager Catherine Pan noted an informal meeting was held in June to get feedback on the plan. She noted the project would be built out by Sorbara and Tribute Homes.

The 99-hectare parcel is located northwest of the intersection of Colborne Street and Beatty Line. Pan said phase one is now under construction with a sales centre and some model homes.

“We are here to talk about what we are calling the west phase - which is everything outside of phase one,” she said.

Planning for Storybrook began over 10 years ago. In 2003, the township’s urban land use plan brought this section of land into the urban boundary.

The secondary plan was ready in 2015 and approval of phase one was granted in 2016.

Pan said the project has undertaken numerous studies, including hydrogeological, water and groundwater, vegetation, cultural/heritage, traffic impact and an urban design report.

“We wanted to ensure we were bringing forth a cohesive community, which worked well within itself and related to the surrounding community as well,” Pan said.

She added the plan includes two large park areas: one just under one hectare in size; the other 1.3ha.

The plan proposes a mix of low and medium density lands, which includes rear lane condo townhouses marketed to empty nesters and seniors.

“We’re trying to create various forms of housing,” said Pan, noting the woodlot is to be preserved next to the stormwater management pond.

Pan also highlighted the proposed trail network and enhancements to the Nichol drain.

She stated the finalization of lot designs has yet to be completed. Instead, the focus was mapping out population densities within various portions of the property.

Because of its importance to the community, the trails in the plan will be incorporated in the Wellington County trails master plan. The trails will also connect to the Elora-Cataract Trail, she added.

The developer is looking towards early 2018 for draft plan and zoning approvals.

Site construction and services could then start in 2019/20 with new house construction starting in 2020, Pan suggested.

She stressed those times are tentative.

Councillor Stephen Kitras  asked if the development offered the safest road pattern for the future of the area.

He noted the number of new roads intersecting with Colborne, one of which has the potential of acting as a main artery to the north.

Kitras asked if it is premature to move ahead with the development since roads have not been widened sufficiently to accommodate more traffic.

He also asked what impact this will have on any proposed development south of Colborne Street.

Pan said one of the decisions made by the developer was to arrange the roads so that individual driveways would access side streets rather than directly access Colborne Street.

As to emergency access, Pan said a number of traffic impact studies were conducted.

One of the decisions was to deliberately offset the service road to Wellington Place and the north/south subdivision artillery road - to avoid it becoming an urban artery.

As to road widenings and construction of turning lanes, Pan explained that is outside the control of the developer. However, she said work has been done with township staff on how to accommodate changes.

Pan noted there was extensive public consultation on the redesign of Colborne Street - with the current proposal being the best for a number of reasons.

Kitras then asked if traffic lights or roundabouts were being considered for the Colborne realignment.

Township CAO Andy Goldie said current traffic counts do not warrant roundabouts or traffic signals at Beatty Line - and continued traffic monitoring would determine when those items might be needed.

The intersection of Beatty Line with St. Andrew Street/Wellington Road 18, a county jurisdiction, and is also being monitored.

Victor Labreche, of Labreche Patterson and Associates Inc., spoke on behalf his client, 2341441 Ontario Inc., which recently purchased property known as the “Richardson Farm” at the northeast corner of the Garafraxa Street West and Beatty Line.

Labreche said his client wishes to develop the property. He said he understood the first phase of the Storybrook development is approved and discussion that night was about moving ahead with the next phase.

With overall development planned for nearly 1,200 residences, Labreche said his client is concerned how subsequent water and sewage allocations will affect other potential developments in Fergus.

Labreche pointed out his client’s lands are within the current urban area boundary of Fergus and designated by the township official plan predominately as “residential.”

That designation permits low and medium, and potentially high density, residential development, subject to zone changes for higher density forms of development.

Labreche said his client was advised the current “sewage treatment reserve capacity” is about 1,580 units and the water supply reserve capacity is approximately 2,550 units.

He believes his client’s property is ideal for medium to high density development.

“It would appear that virtually all of the current available sewage treatment reserve capacity would be utilized by the proposed draft plan,” said Labreche

He also advocated that Colborne, Garafraxa and Beatty Line need to be reconstructed to full urban standards (with sidewalks) to accommodate increased traffic.

Goldie clarified upgrades to the sewage treatment plant are planned within the next decade. As to sewage capacity, he noted even with approval, not all of the Storybrook homes would be built immediately - it would likely happen over the next decade.

Goldie added the township will be updating its development charges study and bylaw with growth-related costs, including traffic, parks, recreation, water and wastewater.

Steven VanLeeuwen added there are other developments in the township that have allocations - even though they are not yet built.

“What we are talking about here is the reserve, which is unallocated,” VanLeeuwen said.

Alexandra and Derek Graham of Colborne Street presented a letter to council, that states “this development appears to be premature ... due to the existing inadequate overall adjacent area ingress and egress collector/arterial road pattern to support such a dramatic increase in population density.”

Further concerns were voiced that an adjacent industrial transportation hub on a southern portion of Beatty Line will be severely constrained by residential traffic, as far as its potential for a “just in time” scenario.  

Further, the Grahams asked whether the township official plan speaks to the timing of widening opportunities for Beatty Line.   

Concerns were also made regarding the nine new residential street intersections along the proposed realignment of Colborne Street.

The Grahams contended there will be a substantial increase in emergency vehicles to/from the OPP station, the new Groves hospital (and potential ambulance station) and new Wellington Place Aboyne fire hall.  

“Is it fair to expect the new “west phase” residential population to be subject to these emergency vehicles ... passing continuously 24/7 through the residential area?” asked the Grahams.

They suggested replacing the nine intersections on Colborn Street with two that would provide better lines of sight for vehicles, similar to the road pattern north and east of Irvine and Colborne Streets.

Many other comments from the floor also expressed concerns with the timing of area road improvements.

Residents such as Roberta Scarrow pointed out the area has changed from a quiet road to a really busy one. She suggested limiting parking on Beatty Line to address congestion when vehicles are parked on both sides.

“Something has to be done sooner than later,” she said.

Any approval decision will be made at a future council meeting.

December 8, 2017


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