LPAT grants approval for development on the south end of Boblo Island



By Ron Giofu


The decision is in on whether the south end of Boblo Island can be developed and it indicates that it may proceed.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) handed down its decision last week and granted approval of the subdivision on the south end of the island. The decision noted that “the proposed development is for a residential subdivision containing 172 lots and four blocks on approximately 32 hectares of land. There are a total of 220 units proposed through a mix of single and semi-detached lots, with an estimated 124 single detached lots (with a minimum of 24m frontage), and approximately 48 semi-detached lots (with a minimum of 13.7m frontage).”

The decision also notes that “the plan includes a central open space system that is intended to be dedicated to the town.” That system “offers protection to identified cultural heritage buildings and structures – a former dance hall and roller rink – that were associated with the island’s former amusement park use. Three is also a blockhouse located on the subject property; the draft plan of subdivision notes the blockhouse as an archeological where development must be avoided.”

Two more archeological areas are also “to be avoided until further study is completed.”

The development was subject of a three-day LPAT hearing at the Amherstburg Municipal Building in August.

As part of her decision, LPAT member Sarah Jacobs wrote: “The Tribunal finds, based on the uncontradicted planning, ecological, and traffic engineering evidence before it at the hearing that the proposed subdivision has appropriate regard for matters of provincial interest in accordance with s.2 of the (Planning) Act and the criteria set out in s.51(24) of the Act and is consistent with the PPS (Provincial Policy Statement). The Tribunal is also satisfied that the proposed conditions of draft plan approval are reasonable in accordance with s.51(25) of the Act.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said his first reaction to the decision was relief. He said many in the community don’t realize that Boblo has a “break-even point.”

“If it doesn’t reach its break-even point, it’s not self-sustainable,” he said. “It has a very unique set of needs. If we didn’t reach the break-even point, what happens?”

If the island couldn’t be sustained and costs like the ferry were to be inherited by the town, DiCarlo said it would have a devastating impact to the tax rate. He said the developers, Amico, have worked hard to try and accommodate development on the south end of Boblo and care about the environment just as everyone else does.

“Being involved on the inside, the developer has changed the development I don’t know how many times at an astronomical cost,” the mayor said.

The developers did “an incredible amount of work” to plan a development while at the same time maintain the beauty of the island, he added.

DiCarlo said most Boblo residents he has spoken to favour the development but noted “I think it’s fair to also recognize there are residents not in favour of it,” he said. “It’s always a question of where the majority lies.”

There are still steps to go through but the mayor added that Amico and the town’s planning department have regularly worked well together.

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