By Mike Williscraft
Grimsby Council quashed the Hospital Corridor Secondary Plan Study potentially leaving the area open to planning pressure.
The study was initiated under the previous council and just over $50,000 has been spent to date. Niagara Region has agreed to support the study with a $50,000 grant upon its completion.
During the fall election campaign, many of the now-council members and residents in the area – roughly between Nelles Road and Lynnwood along Main Street East – voiced their opinion of wanting the study stopped.
“During the election we knocked on doors, we debated. We all agreed we wanted to stop the West Lincoln Hospital Corridor Study in its tracks. We have lots of things to do on this council and this is not one of them,” said Coun. Reg Freake.
Coun. John Dunstall cited past matters where, for example, 22-storey condos were proposed and OMB decisions were lost because the Town did not have sufficient strength in its Official Plan to go against the proposal.
“Are we not opening ourselves up to 8-10 storey buildings in that area?” asked Dunstall.
CAO Derik Brandt said secondary plan studies provide more detail on what council wants.
“It makes is easier to craft an argument against an eight storey building if the Secondary Plan supports lower guidelines,” said Brandt.
Coun. Lianne Vardy said she would support the continuation of the study if the terms of reference were changed from reviewing mixed use to neighbourhood commercial.
Acting director of planning Walter Basic said there was no need to change the wording as council, itself, controls the outcome.
“The terms of reference set what the consultant will look at but council determines what the policy will look like. Council decides,” said Basic, adding council may see proposals come forward it does not want in the area if the study is halted.
“You run the risk of developers’ applications coming forward for this specific area and you will have little or no policy to defend with no Secondary Plan,” said Basic.
A motion to defer the decision while more information was sought was defeated 5-3.
In a 6-1 vote, council opted to stop the study.
Voting to stop the process were Mayor Jeff Jordan, councillors Dorothy Bothwell, Reg Freake, Dave Sharpe and Lianne Vardy, Randy Vaine and Kevin Ritchie. Dunstall was the sole opposer. Coun. Dave Kadwell was not in attendance.