Hudson hires arbitrator for Sandy Beach development project
THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JAMES ARMSTRONG
Hudson council has concerns about the development on the waterfront property known as Sandy Beach including cost, aesthetics, and environmental impact.
Hudson Town Council approved a resolution on Monday, April 1 hiring urban planner Claude Théberge of Axiome Inc. to act as mediator between the town and the company that currently owns the Sandy Beach development project. The housing development is also known as the Pine Beach Project.
Concerns about development
“Of course they would like to begin to build as soon as possible,” Mayor Jamie Nicholls told The Journal following the council meeting. He said council has serious concerns about the project, what it will look like, the cost, lifecycle and maintenance of infrastructure, public transit development, and the impact of the project on the landscape. Nicholls said the original proposed development plan was to build single-family dwellings on large lots of land. The proposed plan changed over time to a higher density development.
“It’s better to have more people housed in a smaller area allowing for the preservation of the forest,” said Nicholls. “The population density has to be strategic and reasoned within the science of preserving the ecosystem. We can’t simply pay lip service to protecting the ecosystem. We have to take concrete actions and follow through.”
The mayor said there were best practices that can be applied in the Sandy Beach development file and it could be a win-win situation for both parties. “We’re not saying ‘no development at all.’ We’re promoting what is strategic and in the public interest.”
Change of ownership
Formerly owned by developer Hans-Karl Muhlegg, in the past 18 months the ownership of the development changed hands. The town’s newly-hired mediator is expected to meet with representatives of the new owners as early as this week. Council approved a rate of $130 per hour for the mediator who is also an urban planner. When asked by a resident during question period if there was a ceiling on the amount to be paid, the mayor responded he expected it would be less than $10,000.
Parking by-law for Jack Layton Park
Council gave a notice of motion regarding a resolution amending parking By-law 694.1. The amendment stipulates that anyone wishing to park a motor vehicle with a trailer at Jack Layton Park must first obtain a permit from the town. The requirements are one must complete the form, provide proof of residence, provide the license plate number of the trailer, and pay the annual cost of the permit. The permit holder must, at all times, display the permit on the trailer as close as possible to the license plate. Trailer parking permits will be available as of April 15 at Hudson Town Hall and at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre.
Potholes and temporary car shelters
The state of the roads in Hudson was cause for concern for several residents. Frank Hicks pointed out the sorry condition of Quarry Point Road and that Bellevue Road had earned the description of being one long speed bump. The mayor thanked the residents for highlighting the problems noting the information was useful to the public works department in maintaining the roads. He also said the annual spring thaw was the determining factor in the repair scenario.
A resident asked council if they would consider extending the deadline for the spring removal of temporary vehicle shelters. The mayor said he would consult the Director General following the meeting. The current deadline for removal of temporary shelters posted on the town website is Monday, April 15.
Mayor breaks the tie
A vote approving a minor derogation for an accessory building at 18 Wharf Road evenly split the council placing the mayor in the position of having to break the tie. Initially, the mayor suggested postponing approval of the resolution to a subsequent council meeting, as the people involved were unable to attend the April council meeting. Council declined the mayor’s proposal and the resolution was put to the vote. There were no residents present to speak to the resolution. In the end, the mayor sided with approval of the minor derogation. If he had voted against the resolution, the property owners would have needed to reapply for a new derogation and pay the fees.
“It doesn’t seem fair that they should have to do that again,” said the mayor.