Wenona Lake severance application approved
By Angelica Ingram
July 19, 2016
A petition with more than 100 signatures wasn’t enough to stop a severance application for a property on Wenona Lake from gaining the approval of the Haliburton County Land Division Committee last Monday, July 11.
Dozens of residents packed council chambers for the public meeting and spoke to why they weren’t in favour of the application that would see one large lot on the south end of the lake severed into four properties.
The application is being made by Mumtaz Sunderji, who was not at the public meeting.
Dozens of area residents filled council chambers to voice their concern over the application, which they believe will have a negative impact on the environment and overcrowd a lake that is already at capacity.
In addition to the creation of three new lots, the applicant is also seeking to create a right-of-way that will gain her access to the properties.
Located in Dysart, the proposal came up at the Dysart et al council meeting in November 2015.
At the time, Dysart director of planning and development Patricia Martin recommended council approve the application subject to certain conditions being met, including an environmental impact assessment of the wetland.
Haliburton County director of planning Charlsey White outlined a number of comments received from the public regarding the application, including the concern over a beaver dam, which she said was not located on the subject’s land.
White said the land was not designated as being provincially significant by the Ministry of Natural Resources and that beavers are not an endangered species.
Representing the applicant, Haliburton surveyor and consultant Greg Bishop said the application was started a few years ago and that a condition preventing no further severances to the property was made.
“My client has no issue with that,” said Bishop.
Miskwabi Area Community Association president Andy Mosher told committee members that the lake already faces pressures, as there are 100 residences on it.
“I’m not convinced it’s possible to develop these lands without impacting these wetlands,” he said.
He spoke to the recreational capacity and environmental concerns with developing on a wetland.
Mosher requested the committee decline the application, or at the very least defer it.
Committee chairman Craig Pettit asked whether the association had done their own environmental study, to which Mosher said they did not have the resources to do that.
Pettit also inquired if any steps have been taken to restrict the types of boats on the lake, to which Mosher said no.
Lake resident Keith Hay also spoke to the committee outlining concerns of nearby property owners, asking how it was possible the application could not have a negative impact on wildlife and requesting the application be denied.
Committee member John Clayton said he understood the concerns, however “our hands are tied.”
A resident on the lake for almost 20 years, Phyllis McCulloch presented a petition with 109 signatures to the committee, stating not everyone who had wanted to sign it had yet.
“I’m speaking to you from my heart,” she said, explaining the lake has grown since she first moved there 18 years ago.
She invited members of the committee to come out and see the property for themselves.
“It may change your mind.”
Environmental consultant Michael Michalski, of Michalski Nielsen Associated Limited, said the locations of the buildings on the properties are all going to be on flat terrain, as well as the septic tanks and beds.
Speaking to an impact on water quality, he said phosphorus is not going to get into the lake and there will be a minimum setback of 60 metres from the lake.
“What I’ve heard is old fashioned and out of date,” said Michalski in reference to some of the presentations. “You can’t build anything without any impact. Think of your own lots ... yes, there are going to be impacts, just like there are everywhere else ... what’s happening here is no different than anywhere else, it’s just that these are large properties.”
The committee approved all five applications for consent.
There is a 20 day period to appeal the decision with the Ontario Municipal Board.
Speaking to the paper following the meeting, Mosher said no decision has been made yet on whether or not MACA will be looking to appeal.
“An appeal to the OMB is a major undertaking,” he said.
The president said there was disappointment with the committee’s decision and one thing the meeting highlighted was the need for stronger language in the official plan in terms of lake capacity, he said.
“We’re certainly disappointed,” he said. “Obviously it’s very unpopular with a lot of people on Wenona Lake.”
Martin said the applicant must still meet conditions attached to the application, which they have a year to do.
“One of the conditions is a zoning bylaw amendment application and a severance agreement,” she said. “And those two conditions are satisfied.”
The director of planning said if the applicant moves forward with the file she has to go through the zoning process, which will be subject to a public meeting.
“The process allows for an engaged public discussion and that’s what we’ve had here,” said Martin.