Smiths Falls council not ready to rule on land sale request

Posted on: December 9, 2016

Chris Must

Smith Falls town councillors have been unable to reach agreement on the request from a newly-retired couple hoping to buy a small piece of town-owned land to build a garage.

The owners of 57 Broadview Ave. West, Mr. and Mrs. G. Davies, want to acquire a piece of land measuring 5.8 by 36.58 metres to add a garage to their property. But because the land was set aside for parkland for up to 150 new lots making up the Wood Avenue Subdivision, town staff are recommending it not be sold.

“It’s a valuable piece of parkland serving the community,” senior town planner Niki Dwyer told councillors at a Nov. 28 meeting. “At this point staff feel it is premature to dispose of the asset.”

Dwyer added that the subdivision is still under construction, the parkland has not been developed, and the town’s overall plans for the area remain to be determined.

“The future of what the site is going to like is unclear,” said Dwyer.

“I’m a proponent of more green space in that area of town rather than less,” agreed Mayor Shawn Pankow.

Other council members argued that because the piece of land is small, and is separated from the rest of the green space by an access road, that the property owners should be allowed to buy it. “I think we need to give a little bit here,” said Councillor Dawn Quinn.

Dwyer said detailed plans for the development of the parkland may take “a year or two” to complete. Property owner Davies, who attended the meeting, said his house would be up for sale if that was the case. “We came here to retire,” he added.

Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Morris noted that development of a parks master plan is a strategic priority for 2017.

Councillors asked for more information about the exact dimensions of the property before making a decision. The matter will return to council in the new year.