A decision to allow development on Treasure Island by Huntsville’s Development Services Committee did not make it past Huntsville council on Monday night.
Development staff’s recommendation to grant the owners of the island some development rights, despite the island’s Conservation zoning, was initially approved at Huntsville’s Development Committee on November 13, 2019. Councillors Jonathan Wiebe, Nancy Alcock, and Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano voted in favour of the recommendation, while Councillors Dan Armour and Jason FitzGerald voted against it.
Twelve days later, when the recommendation made its way to Huntsville council’s November 25 meeting for ratification, those who had voted in favour of the recommendation seemed to have a change of heart.
“I thought that the staff did an excellent job trying to meet all of the interests involved in this file, but it was a protracted discussion at that same meeting and I felt like maybe I called the vote prematurely. Maybe we had more room for further discussion? I’m not sure,” said Alcock, who chairs the committee. “All I know is post the meeting I have also reflected on that decision and I feel quite strongly now that I can’t support the recommendation that was before us two weeks ago.”
Councillor Dan Armour also sits on the committee and told his fellow councillors that he did not support the recommendation before them. “I did not support that motion two weeks ago and I still do not support it today. I believe back in 2006 it was zoned Conservation due to the threshold of the lake, 13 years later the lake is better but I still think this could [be]detrimental to the lake. And I think we all serve the people of Huntsville, Port Sydney and Utterson to save our lakes… I can’t see supporting this today or in the future,” he said.
Councillor Tim Withey said that although he does not sit on the committee, he would not be supporting the motion either. “I’ve heard from a number of people and I’ve certainly read through all the documents that have been considered all along… for me, this comes down to basic right and wrong and I think this is wrong.”
Terziano said she supported the resolution at the committee with the caveat that she preferred to leave the island in a Conservation zone, including the areas to be developed, which staff recommended be rezoned. “I was hoping to find compromise that would work for everyone and keep us out of the OMB [now the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT)]. Given that I said that at the time, I appreciate the passion of the residents on Lake Waseosa and I appreciate the size of the lake and the fact that we are potentially going to damage it if we let further development go there so I’m quite prepared to change my vote and vote to deny this as well,” she said.
In the end, council defeated the motion which will likely be appealed by the applicants at the LPAT.
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