Major subdivision being proposed for Barrie Island

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GORDON/BARRIE ISLAND – A proposal for a major subdivision is going through the process and, if it becomes reality, could become a major benefit to the economy and provide employment for not only Barrie Island but all of Western Manitoulin. 

“We realize that there is quality of life here and that this development would be beneficial to the local economy,” stated Haweater Dave Nadeau, who now lives in Hanmer, of the 35-lot subdivision called ‘Antler Bend’ that he and his business partner are proposing. 

“It could become a major development project for Barrie Island,” stated Lee Hayden, reeve of Gordon/Barrie Island after Mr. Nadeau and a representative of Tulloch Engineering made a presentation to council at a meeting last week. “And they have already done a tremendous amount of work so far to get to this stage. This proposed subdivision has been in the works since 2016.”

“It is a very exciting project and opportunity and will bring a large amount of development, employment and economic benefits to Western Manitoulin with creating taxation on the residential lots and cottages, and spin-off economically with cottagers who live here buying food and gas locally for instance,” said Mr. Nadeau.  

“This has progressed a lot bigger than I had originally envisioned and I know from talking to construction companies, contractors and real estate reps they are all excited about what could take place, said Mr. Nadeau. Mr. Nadeau said the property he and his business partner Sandra Hollingsworth of Sault Ste. Marie have purchased and want to develop—950 acres on the northwestern part of Barrie Island, by Goose Cap—is property his grandfather had pastured cattle on and property that his father has hunted on for 50 years. 

Mr. Nadeau explained the development includes a 35-waterfront-lot estate subdivision for seasonal residential use and includes five hunting lots that have already been sold. The lots are one to 2.25 hectares in size with a minimum 50-metre road frontage. It includes four blocks for environmental groundwater recharge, road and parklands, and 90-plus hectares of future hunting plots and 5.6 hectares of parkland dedication. 

“No, I’ve never been involved in a project this big,” said Mr. Nadeau. He pointed out Tulloch Engineering has been retained as the engineering firm for the project. 

“There will be public (and First Nation) consultation in the process,” stated Reeve Hayden. “A lot of people in the municipality may not be aware of this proposed development. Barrie Island doesn’t have a representative on council to provide local knowledge. We do need input from the residents of Barrie Island.” 

Thus far, the developers have carried out substantial consultation with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Manitoulin Planning Board (MPB) with many studies having been completed, such as a roads needs study, engineering/stormwater management, and environmental impact study/species at risk work.

Planning Act applications to be carried out will include redesignating the lands in the MPB official plan from rural area to shoreline development area; a zoning by-law amendment to rezone the lands in the Municipality of Gordon/Barrie Island zoning by-law from rural zone to shoreline zone. And, a draft plan of the subdivision will be submitted. 

“We will have the draft plan of subdivision submitted to the Manitoulin Planning Board and to (Gordon/Barrie Island) council by the end of the year,” said Mr. Nadeau. “And there will be an announcement of a public meeting to be held prior to that.” 

“Absolutely, we would like six waterfront lots developed by the end of 2021. And we will be building two model homes (still all in the design stage),” said Mr. Nadeau. “And we will be using green energy, wind and solar power; that’s part of the reason we will be doing the model units. We made the decision to go green earlier on in this process. I have done a lot of research of off-grid resources. It gives me peace of mind to know the project will be environmentally friendly, easy to install and more cost efficient.” 

“I do want to say council and Theresa (Carlisle) from the MPB have been open to our proposal and everyone seems to be very supportive,” said Mr. Nadeau. “It is a big project and I’ve been talking to people like Robby Colwell (manager of the Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport), and he feels this would be an amazing project. He’s very encouraging. And talking to contractors and suppliers like Randy Noble and Kurtis Noble and realtors they all feel it would be great for the township and the Island, in terms of job creation and economically.”