Mount Forest land sold for $1.4-million to residential developer

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the sale of the Murphy Lands at the southern end of Mount Forest is worth $1.42-million.
Wellington North Mayor Mike Broomhead, who is also chairman of the township’s economic development committee, was pleas­ed to announce the sale of 76 acres to Avila In­vestments Ltd., of Georgetown.
Broomhead said the township has worked with Avila for a considerable time and, “We feel negotiations have gone well. We are looking forward to working with Avila Invest­ments, the county, and staff to bring this wonderful project to fruition.”
The Murphy Lands are a parcel located at Highway 6 and Bentley Street in Mount Forest.
Following amalgamation in 1999, the township purchased the land and had it rezoned to increase the township’s inventory of industrial land. Al­though there were a few interested parties over the years, the sale means another rezoning – to create a primarily residential tract.
Broomhead said conceptual plans are still being developed, but he foresees part of the property along Highway 6 being set aside for commercial development.
Even though Wellington North Township has paid the cost of extending water and sew­er services across the Sau­geen River, Broomhead maintained the property was sold as “unserviced” land.
To develop the property, more work will need to be done, including construction of a pumping station. The mayor said that work is already underway with Gary Cousins, of Wellington County’s planning department, to change the zoning.
One of the first steps will be determining if the industrially-zone land can be removed from the township’s inventory.
However, Broomhead be­lieves residents living nearby will be happy with that move.
During original discussions to have the land zoned as in­dustrial, a number of residents suggested they would rather see the land developed for residential purposes.
That may happen now.
Broomhead believes the result may include a mix of estate residential, row housing, and single family homes.
He also said that could open the door to further residential development at the southern end of Mount Forest. As for the outstanding issue of sewage capacity, Broom­head said work on the community’s new sewage treatment plant is ahead of schedule.
Portions of the plant that are under construction now were originally slated to start construction this spring, he said.