At the final session (before the summer break) of Carleton Place’s Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, June 25th, a multi-phase development proposal for McArthur Island was presented. The project is planned to be built in 5 phases over a 5-10 year time span. When completed it will contain 586 residential units (including 144 long-term care rooming units), and a mix of commercial and medical services. It took the town’s acting planner Tyler Duval, some time to present the details of the proposal which included 4 variance relief requests from current bylaws and regulations.
Included in the project will be the rehabilitation of the existing 5 storey structures as well as construction of 2 new 6 and 7 storey buildings. The variances requested were adding retirement home, long term care facility and clinic, medical as site-specific permitted uses to the strategic property designation; a reduction to the required 30 metre setback from a natural watercourse, in accordance with the recommendations of the supporting environmental impact statement; relief from the requirement for buildings over 3 storeys to be stepped back with each successive storey (at 45.0 degrees); and a reduction to the site’s total vehicle parking requirement from 675 spaces to a proposed 656 spaces.
Duval noted that the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority had not yet completed their review of the proposal with suggestions on how to protect sensitive environmental features and the watershed. When questioned by committee chair, councilor Theresa Fritz as to why the project was being put forward for conditional approval without the MVCA’s comments, Duval replied that is was necessary to meet the province’s new accelerated time-lines for municipal land development applications.
Mayor Doug Black inquired as to whether the increased traffic would present any excessive wear and tear to the exiting bridges (commonly known as the ‘back bridges’) to which Duval replied that public works department comments had not yet been finalized.
President of McArthur Island Inc., James Mikulasik indicated that any Hackberry trees removed during construction would be minimized and replaced on a one for one basis, as well as including a harvest of seeds for future expansion of this unique species. His company is partnering with Tricity Canada of British Columbia for the project. Tricity Canada has had experience in these types of projects in that province. Mikulasik also indicated that they were looking into reintroducing the use of water power to the island, but to produce electricity instead of powering a woolen mill.
No mention was made by either Duval or the project’s team on how the existing small residential streets in the area would be able to cope with the increased traffic. Black did comment that the adjacent existing public works facility would eventually be listed for sale and it was the town’s plan to look to approve condominiums for that site when public works moves to their new location just north of the Carambeck Community Centre. When questioned by Hometown News after the meeting Black stated that the town’s plans were to convert the access street into a one-way road.
In the end, the committee voted unanimously to grant conditional approval pending receipt of MVCA comments before any construction permits would be issued.