Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services to hold public meeting

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Seeks input on proposed housing unit development in Gore Bay

GORE BAY – Before any site plans are conducted for new housing units in the town of Gore Bay, Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS) will be meeting with the entire community first.

In an email to the Recorder on April 9, 2021, Sarah McBain, communications specialist with OAHS told the Recorder, “an update on Gore Bay: we are working on lining up a community engagement piece through Zoom for individuals to attend regarding the development. More information to come.” 

Ms. McBain told the Recorder when contacted this past Monday, “what we want to do is get as many people in town to participate in the Zoom meeting. Yes, we would like to get the whole community involved to ask what they feel would fit with the development.”

“We would like to have this meeting to consult with the town before setting any plans for development,” said Ms. McBain, noting that a meeting date has not yet been set. 

As was reported in the February 14 edition of the Recorder, council for the Town of Gore Bay gave its approval to amend a zoning bylaw toward the development of a proposed 30-unit apartment-type structure in the town (with conditions), in consideration of the many concerns raised by residents of Hall Street.

“I have outlined my concerns in a letter to council, but briefly, about 30 years ago we moved into town to a quiet neighbourhood and (Hall) street,” stated Mike Addison, a local resident, at the February 2020 meeting. He pointed out that he and his wife Laurie “have enjoyed our property (which backs onto the proposed development property), and the quiet surroundings. The magnitude of a two-storey building being developed would obstruct our view of the bay, mean additional noise and traffic on (Hall) Street.” Mr. Addison pointed out that the development would mean additional traffic flow, interfere with the water flow for Bickell’s Creek and would interfere with fish habitat, returning birds every year and other wildlife. He also pointed out putting in more fill could potentially mean more flooding. The development could also affect his ability to sell off his property for what it is worth in the future. He also noted his concerns with the bridge across Bickell’s Creek, and that there is not enough water and sewer capacity to handle a building of this size. He added that he is not opposed to development, housing is needed in Gore Bay, but feels that it should be single-family resident housing. 

Other area residents raised concerns about the conservation area being disrupted, and a high density of population in a small area. 

Years ago, the property in question had been two parcels of land, with one conveyed to the town, so it became one parcel. The property (part Lots 15 and 16, north side Hall Street and part of Park Lot 16, south side East Street) had been reconveyed to the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board (DSB) in 2018. The DSB has since sold the property to OAHS, with the severance application it would turn it into two lots again.

Daneen Demomme, director of policy and programs for OAHS, had told the Recorder previously, “there is a long process that has to be carried through. We know the conservation area has to be protected and we want to make sure this is the case. We can’t build without following all the laws and restrictions. There will also need to be a traffic study carried our; a lot of discussion needs to take place before anything is done. We hope this will be a partnership and that we can provide safe, affordable housing.” 

Council passed a motion in February 2020 to provide for the zoning amendment application to be approved to rezone from R1 to RM, subject to several considerations: mitigation of flooding, conservation of Bickell’s Creek, an environmental study to be carried out, approval of the building design, water-sewer capacity and a traffic study. All have to be in place and council has to be satisfied with the information for the project to move forward.