Essa council has accepted that the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic School Board
no longer has plans to build a new school site as part of the
Stonemount Development in the Gold Park Gate, Maplewood Drive section
The school board has decided to spend about $11.4 million to expand Our
Lady of Grace Catholic School, which will take in students from Prince
of Peace Catholic School in CFB Borden and Our Lady of the Assumption
Catholic School in New Lowell, once they close.
For its part, Stonemount is proposing to use the school block to
accommodate additional housing units.
"The overall Stonemount plan represents 13.5 persons per hectare -
which is considered as low density and nowhere near the alternative
greenfield density target of Essa of 32 residents and jobs per hectare.
An increase in units will help this plan to transition from 13.5 to 14.
In fact, Block 124 alone will provide a density of 30.5 persons per
hectare," according to a planning report to council.
"While Essa would usually discourage cul-de-sacs, use of the parkland
block must be reviewed and considered. To compensate for parkland to be
incorporated into Concept 2, the developer is offering the Municipality
some of their land. The offer, due to the layout and design of lots,
would not represent an "even-trade" (a difference of 0.4 hectares).
This is unavoidable. In fact, on further investigation it would seem
that this developer has only contributed three per cent of all their
lands for parkland purposes. The Planning Act allows a Municipality to
collect five per cent of the land holdings or a cash-in-lieu
contribution or a combination for parkland purposes. Furthermore, the
lands dedicated to the Municipality for park purposes were not
developed with facilities or equipment. Of course, the developer is
also slated to make a land dedication of open space (unusable) lands
next to the river."
Essa councillors have directed staff to negotiate for whatever options
provides the most parkland.
"As of now, we have three per cent," said mayor Terry Dowdall. "We
might as well take all we can."