Hold coming on waterfront development in Port Dover

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A moratorium on waterfront development in Port Dover is expected to pass next week.In a surprise move, Norfolk council Tuesday agreed to impose an interim-control bylaw on waterfront development in Port Dover. A motion to this effect will be tabled at next week’s council meeting.Under the Planning Act, municipalities can impose a one-year moratorium on specific kinds of development while they sort out issues related to the same. The Planning Act also allows for a one-year extension.Interim-control bylaws are usually adopted without notice so affected property owners don’t take actions that frustrate a council’s objectives.Mayor Kristal Chopp proposed the bylaw at a point in the agenda titled “Future of Port Dover.”“We are at a critical moment in the history of Port Dover,” Chopp told council. “When I look around the incredible community I now call home, I know one bad decision made by this council will – not could – but will forever change the face of Port Dover as we know it because it will set a dangerous precedent for every single development that comes after.“I certainly don’t want that to be the legacy I leave behind and I really hope that none of you do either. We get one shot at preserving this most critical asset to Norfolk County and one shot only. Once the waterfront in Port Dover is gone, it’s gone forever. There’s no do over, Dover.”After council adjourned, Chopp said the question boils down to whether Norfolk wants “Niagara-on-the-Lake or do we want high-rise condos?”Chopp said an interim-control bylaw at this point isn’t as drastic as it might be in another context. She reminded council that new development in Port Dover is on hold until further notice anyway because of a moratorium imposed earlier this year due to water servicing issues.Chopp flagged the treatment deficit in Port Dover this spring. She and council are worried that – given the current infrastructure capacity in Port Dover – demand for water could conceivably outstrip the town’s ability to supply it.Norfolk’s preferred solution is to run an $18-million pipeline from Jarvis into Port Dover. This would take advantage of the huge water- treatment plant in the Nanticoke Industrial Park.That plant was built 50 years ago to service the 250,000 residents who were supposed to be living today in the satellite city of Townsend.Instead, the plant provides treated water to Jarvis, the hamlet of Townsend, Hagersville and New Credit. Both Norfolk and Haldimand share a vision of the plant servicing all towns in Haldimand and eventually Norfolk.Chopp told council that Norfolk and Haldimand have many hurdles to clear before Nanticoke water in Port Dover becomes a reality, let alone running pipelines to Caledonia, Cayuga, Dunnville, Simcoe, Waterford, Delhi and Port Rowan.Vittoria Coun. Chris VanPaassen told council the former City of Nanticoke was about to embark on a “secondary plan” for the waterfront in Port Dover when the restructuring of Haldimand-Norfolk Region pre-empted the exercise in 2000. VanPaassen says what was a good idea then remains a good idea today.“We’re only 18 years behind getting that done in Dover,” Van Paassen said. “It’s about time we did it.”In her presentation, Chopp said now is a good time to have this discussion. A “piecemeal” approach to the waterfront, she said, will likely limit public access to the Lynn River, Black Creek, the harbour and Long Point Bay while leaving Port Dover with projects the community regrets.She noted that ownership of the waterfront in Port Dover is in the hands of a few families and that these families are thinking of cashing in their assets and moving on.Chopp said these families are willing to discuss the future of this real estate because they too want the best possible future for their community.The “multi-stakeholder discussion” ahead will include “land owners, developers and residents.” Questions to be answered include: “What is the aesthetic we want? What are the public spaces we want? How will we ensure continued public access to the waterfront?”In her presentation, Chopp speculated that Norfolk and Port Dover have arrived at this point because previous councils were addicted to new taxes generated by unbridled development.The mayor pointed out new revenue from this source in 2019 will be greatly diminished because of the water moratorium. That could make for extra-challenging budget deliberations when time comes to set the 2020 operating budget in [email protected]

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