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Grey Highlands considering secondary plan for Beaver Valley area

Grey Highlands council seeks more information about secondary plan concept for Beaver Valley/Talisman area

Grey Highlands council may consider implementing a secondary plan for the Kimberley/Beaver Valley/Talisman area of the municipality.

At its meeting on April 19, council received a delegation from Kimberley resident and Talisman neighbour Alex Speigel, who encouraged council to consider a secondary plan for the Talisman property.

“There is no overall vision for the property. You ought to look at doing a secondary plan for this property,” said Speigel. “It gives the municipality the ability to look at the site as a cohesive whole.”

Speigel’s full presentation can be found here.

In response, council passed a resolution requesting a staff report that would provide more details about the secondary plan process in general.

A secondary plan is a land use plan for a specific area of a municipality that is prepared as an amendment to an official plan and must go through a full public consultation process. Typically, a secondary plan will provide more detailed policies for the area it covers, such as public spaces, parks and urban design.

Mayor Paul McQueen suggested council get more information on the idea and noted that the concept of a secondary plan for the Beaver Valley area of the municipality had been considered in the past.

“If council was ever to consider it, what would that look like?” McQueen said, adding that he envisioned a “high level, process report” from staff. “It’s important to understand the structure and timelines before getting specific. My intention is to understand how it works and what’s the process.”

Coun. Nadia Dubyk said the timing would be right to get more information. Dubyk said Grey Highlands is currently reviewing its zoning bylaw and would soon be reviewing its official plan.

“(A secondary plan report) would align with those efforts,” she said. “It would be very good to hear back from the planning department about how they feel about secondary plans.”

Deputy Mayor Dane Nielsen wondered how a secondary plan would function with the Niagara Escarpment Plan already in place.

“Their official plan trumps ours. How would it work with a provincial body that oversees it?” he said.

Coun. Joel Loughead also expressed concerns about the municipality being seen as moving the goalposts in the middle of the game.

“Does that open us to some kind of legal pushback from the owners (of the Talisman properties)?” said Loughead.

The former Talisman Resort property is now owned by two separate groups. The Beaver Valley Development Group owns two of the former Talisman properties referred to as “Upper Talisman” and “Lower Talisman.” The group held public open houses about the possible future directions on the two properties in December 2022.

Brian Ellis and a number company own the middle portion, which consists of the former resort buildings and ski hills.

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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