Boblo Island development outlined

 

By Karen Fallon

Vice-president of development with Amico, Cindy Prince and colleague Sandra Couloufis, appeared before council to give an “Island update,” on May 14.

Prince says as she was getting a number of inquiries from administration regarding what was happing on Boblo Island she decided to appear in person to provide answers.

“We are always very happy to talk about Boblo,” said Prince, who described the property as a jewel in the crown of Amherstburg.

Currently tax revenues from Boblo Island total approximately $120,000. When fully developed, noted Prince, this figure will be in the area of $500,000.

“The more our tax base increases, the less our property taxes will,” pointed out Mayor Wayne Hurst.

When answering concerns regarding environmental issues versus development Prince says representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources are regular visitors to the island.

Their presence there is said to ensure that development on the island meets the standards set out by the ministry.

There are also two environmental consulting teams hired by Amico that are studying the island and who report to the MNR, said Prince.

“I know that Boblo is a very special place and it is a place that has to be protected and treated carefully,” she said. “That is why we are spending all of the time; all of the resources that we have to ensure what we are doing is right.”

The wetland on the north side of the island is currently undergoing “substantial studies” to determine what can be done in that area.

Councillor Diane Pouget says that she has concerns regarding what appears to be in-filling of what was originally a wetland area.

The councilor also noted that she has received complaints from some residents of the island regarding the removal of trees. Photographic evidence, she says, provided by several residents reveal two large lumber trucks removing the debris from what looked like more than the amount specified by Prince.

Prince says there were only 10 mature trees along with some brush and shrubs removed from the area where houses are to be built.

There always seem to be controversy over the Island,” said councilor Robert Pillon. “But one thing we have to realize, that island will produce a good portion of our tax base when completed.”

“That is almost like an industry to us once you get it going, added Pillon.

It would be a good idea to have administration provide council with a list of the sensitive areas on Boblo so that they can “assist you when working with the appropriate ministries to get this to fruition,” says councilor John Sutton.

“This council has to work with developers to ensure that, a, the rules are followed and b, that we foster an environment that is friendly and cooperative in spirit,” said Sutton.

On the south side of the island soya beans are being planted in connection with the farming initiative being undertaken on the island to ensure the agricultural tax credit is forthcoming.

And once again there are eagles nesting on the island says Prince. “We are very excited once again to announce that our eagles have eaglets and they are very happy in the nest.”

Prince explained that the island ferry, subsidize to the tune of $500,000 annually by Amico, is going to be refurbished this year.

In response to councilor Robert Pillon’s inquiry about the “old dance hall” Prince responded that they are willing to make the dance hall available to anyone who wants to invest money in it.

“As you can see from some of the things we shared with you this evening we are not in a financial position to upgrade the building at this time,” said Prince. “However, we are not looking to harm it in any way. We do what we can with the budget we have to keep it in as good a condition as we can.”

 

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