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Feel the Berm: Residents speak out on Eden Oak project

Public meeting held on the Eden Oak plan prior to council and the town taking a position on the file, which is currently under appeal at the Ontario Land Tribunal

The council gallery was loaded with residents on Monday night, most of whom came to bring their questions and concerns about the Eden Oak development.

While the Town of Collingwood is currently going through the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) appeals process with the developer behind the proposed Eden Oak development, council decided to have a public meeting on the matter during Monday’s (Jan. 23) regular meeting of council, to hear questions and concerns from the general public about the development before they officially take a position.

During Monday’s meeting, 10 residents provided comments, with more in the audience attending to lend support to those who spoke. The preservation of an existing berm on the 452 Raglan St. site was raised as a major issue for many of the deputants.

Resident Steve Roper, who attended on behalf of the Lockhart Meadows community, went so far as to provide an alternate subdivision design which would achieve the same density targets while preserving the berm and other naturalized areas already existing on the site.

“We hope to conserve the northern section of the property. We’d like to preserve the greenspace,” said Roper. “As a group, we are most concerned about the berm. Taking it down could cause significant erosion issues.”

Concerns brought forward by Roper included the preservation of the berm and existing stormwater pond, needing clarity regarding how the project would impact the floodplain, conserving tree canopy and protecting the existing bridge over the Pretty River on the site through a renovation.

“If they remove the berm, where will all the water go?” asked Roper. “We’d like to keep this area for future generations.”

Resident Tannis Toohey, who attended virtually, said her home is also adjacent to the berm.

“My sump pump never stops,” said Toohey. “I’m worried about that, and I’m also worried about the habitat. I moved from Toronto to Collingwood for the trees.”

“There are so many reasons to not look at the berm as a piece of property, but as an environment. I hope we can work with the developer to maintain it,” she said.

The Eden Oak development is a proposal for 21 single detached dwellings and 107 townhouses on Collingwood's south-east side off Portland Street between Hurontario and Raglan Street (near Poplar Sideroad). The proposed development also includes a park connecting to the Collingwood/Clearview Rail Trail, walkways and a stormwater management area.

According to the most recent update on the town’s website on the file which is dated Feb. 8, 2022, the developer had submitted applications for approval of a plan of subdivision and for zoning bylaw amendments.

Eden Oak Inc. filed an appeal of non-decision this past summer against the Town of Collingwood through the OLT. An appeal related to non-decision can occur when the town does not meet the deadlines included in the Planning Act for making a decision on a development application. When an appeal is filed with the OLT, typically work is halted on that file until the appeal is settled or ruled upon.

Concerns identified regarding the plan prior to Monday’s public meeting include flooding, preservation of the natural features with the Pretty River, a multi-use trail connection to Raglan Street, construction access, impacts on traffic, tree preservation and urban design control.

Kory Chisholm, an agent for the developer with MHBC Planning, also spoke as part of the public meeting. He addressed that one of the challenges is the property line runs through the centre of the berm. Chisholm said the entire development has been shifted to help address the property line issue.

The OLT adjudicates matters related to land use planning, environmental and natural features and heritage protection, land valuation, land compensation, municipal finance, or heritage. When a landowner disagrees with a planning decision made at their municipal council, they have the option of appealing that decision to the tribunal.

Video of the entirety of Monday’s meeting is available here.

Following the public meeting, a consultant hired by the town will be compiling feedback and will be providing a staff report with a recommendation that will be presented to council in-camera at a later date. Council will then advise their solicitor on a direction to take at the OLT on the file, which will also be provided in-camera.

The next case management conference at the OLT on the Eden Oak file is scheduled for Feb. 21.

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 15 years of experience to her role as reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood and education.
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