Council to mull sale of township-owned land next to Riverstown dump

KENILWORTH – The Township of Wellington North sought council’s blessing this month to rezone 12.62 acres of agricultural land for commercial agricultural and rural industrial uses, but it hasn’t revealed what exactly lies in store for the property.

Located at 9442 Highway 6, south of Mount Forest, the property lies adjacent to the county Riverstown landfill site.

And despite being considered prime agricultural land, the area’s zoning only allowed for a landfill or dump.

Speaking to council on Feb. 6, county development planning manager Curtis Marshall, acting on behalf of the township, said because the property is located near the county dump, any development would require a study to determine if mitigation measures are needed.

Known as a “D-4” study, Marshall recommended it become a condition of lifting a holding provision on the property. The study caters specifically to what the land would be used for.

“That hasn’t been finalized, what exactly is being built and where,” Marshall said.

Nor would a township official say what plans are in store for the township-owned property.

Responding to an email from the Advertiser, chief building official Darren Jones wrote he couldn’t “speak to the specifics of the potential developer’s plans at this point.”

On Dec. 19 council discussed, in part, a municipal land sale report from township economic development officer Dale Small, as well as disposing of the township property during a 20-minute meeting closed to reporters and the public under the Municipal Act.

Council approved “confidential direction to staff” according to meeting minutes.

Jones told the Advertiser staff are now working through the rezoning included in the confidential direction.

“At this point that is about all of the information I’m able to share,” he wrote.

Attending the Feb. 6 public meeting remotely was James Martin of Dufferin-based Sentry Door Inc., who only said he’s “very interested” in the property.

Martin did not respond to requests for comment by phone or email from the Advertiser seeking to understand plans for the property.

Speaking to council, Marshall said “the proposed development” will require details such as buffering, fencing, snow storage and drainage to be hashed out through a site approval process.

Lorne Horst, who lives adjacent to the property, wrote to the township expressing concerns he wants addressed “before the transfer is completed.”

Water runoff from the dump travels through a steel culvert, Horst explained in his letter.

“I have invested substantial capital to control this water,” he wrote.

County staff have also constructed a berm along Horst’s field, “but it still isn’t sufficient,” he stated.

Marshall suggested township and county staff meet with Horst to review drainage in the area.

“It appears there is a drainage swale that drains from the south to the north to the river that would cross through three or four different properties there,” Marshall noted.

With no objections from the county planner or the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, council approved rezoning to permit commercial agriculture and rural industrial uses with a holding provision in place.

According to township clerk Karren Wallace, council will next consider a bylaw at its Feb. 21 meeting to declare the property as “surplus” and to enter a purchase and sale agreement.