70 Waverley Road Application

I am writing in response to your request for comment on the proposed rezoning of the lands fronting on Waverly Drive and bordered by the Guelph County Club Golf course, in your letter dated Nov 29th, 2006, titled; An application for zoning bylaw amendment.

I have several concerns about the proposed property exchange and rezoning which I have listed below:

1 The Guelph Country Club has in recent years sold two large pieces of its land in order to sustain itself. Initially it sold the piece of land on Woodlawn Road for condominium development. Next it sold the land along Riverview for the development of detached homes. My concern is that this proposed land swap and rezoning is the beginning of a piece meal sell off of the rest of the golf course. This could become valuable park land that the rate payers of Guelph should have an opportunity to purchase. The City of Guelph and the Guelph Country Club would both benefit in having a dialogue around the long term future viability of the golf course and the highest and best use of this valuable track of green space in the north end of the city.

2. It has come to my attention that one of the stake holders is a company by the name of Cox. Cox owns a lot just to the west of lot #1 on the map I received. One can see that this lot (a natural extension of Stevenson St) could accommodate further development onto the golf course lands if it were rezoned (currently residential) into a road allowance. This would allow for a northerly extension of Stevenson St. on to what are currently golf course lands. This could accommodate further residential development of the golf course lands. My concern is that we are not getting the entire picture of the future intended use for these lands. It is my feeling that if the future intended use for the golf course lands is to be residential development then the City of Guelph and its stake holders should be privy to this information. It may be in the better interest of the City of Guelph and all its citizens to play a part in the future intended use of this entire large track of land that boarders on Riverside Park and is currently part of a natural corridor or green belt extending as far as Guelph lake Conservation area. It is common knowledge amongst city and park planners that these types of natural corridors are practically impossible to replace in urban centers once they have been decimated.

3. Since the subject lands have water running through them shouldn’t the Ministry of Natural Resources and/or the Ministry of the Environment be involved? I believe that when a watercourse is altered, it is a matter of Provincial jurisdiction. In this instance you (the City of Guelph) are proposing that this public watershed be rerouted from the park land onto private property. My concern is that the city is giving away a valuable public asset without due process? In addition, there are significant implications for the wildlife in the area. Surely the Provincial government must be consulted on this?

4. Further as I live in this direct area I’ve noticed that a company by the name of Golder Associates is doing water drilling, sampling and testing within the park. I was notified about this by mail. When I asked Melissa Castellan, City of Guelph’s contact person, regarding concerns about this zoning amendment, I was informed by Melissa that one had no connection with the other and that she was unaware that there was water sampling going on in the park at this time. She explained to me that the city may coincidently be doing sampling for some other reason unknown to her. This leads me to believe that is a case of one hand not knowing what the other hand is doing and furthers my resolve to seek transparency.

5. Finally, your request for comment was addressed “To the property owners”. Does this mean the people who rent the homes backing onto the subject park lands will be part of the consultation process? To my knowledge most of the link style homes and both 3 rise apartment buildings are rented and the landlords are absent. I guess my question is do tenants have input into this process since they represent the largest group of people bordering on the lands in question?

On closing I would like to comment that I am opposed to the proposed development because of all these unanswered questions. My concern is that due process and transparency is the bench mark we set to lead us in all development. We can ill afford to practice anything but utmost care in what truly belongs to the future. SB


We have reviewed the application for a zoning by-law amendment for the above property and offer the following comments.

1.There are no supporting environmental reports mentioned in the notice that we received. This naturalized area contains a variety of tree species as well as other native plants. It provides wildlife habitat for many bird species and possibly amphibians as well. The city planted several species of trees in this area perhaps a decade or so ago. It is assumed that this area was intended to become a natural space. We also note that a small section of a stream is located here which may provide fish habitat. If this is the case, federal fisheries statutes may apply. None of these issues appear to have been addressed.

We note that in the notice of the application that we received, the area of Windsor Park that this application applies to is described as “unimproved”. We find this description odd and definitely inaccurate. The City of Guelph is now in the process of developing a Natural Heritage Strategy which is concerned with natural spaces in the city. Describing an area as “unimproved” when it is in fact a natural space, diminishes the value of the site in many people’s mind. All natural spaces have value, both to city residents and to the natural environment, perhaps especially in the natural functions they provide such as air and water quality improvement and wildlife habitat.

2.We note that there is no tree conservation plan. The site now supports a variety of tree species of varying age classes. Many of these trees are native species. As well, the city planted many trees of different species in this area which are now thriving. It appears that this issue has not been addressed.

3.We feel that the naturalized area of Windsor Park is equally important as the playground area of the park. The naturalized area provides wildlife habitat for many species and supports a variety of vegetation and wildflowers. The playground area of the park receives very little use while the naturalized area receives approximately the same amount of use through nature appreciation. As previously mentioned, residents in the area receive many environmental benefits from the naturalized area that would not be provided by the playground and mowed lawn areas of Windsor Park. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the saying goes, and many people find this naturalized area of the park to be beautiful.

4.No provision is made for a future extension of Stevenson Road north to connect with Woodlawn Road. Areas north of Woodlawn Road are now being developed. Balmoral and Windsor Streets are now carrying heavier traffic volumes as residents travel to areas in the centre of the city using this shortcut. Other alternative routes are Victoria Road and Woolwich Road which are less convenient for some. In all likelihood, the Guelph Country Club will be developed in the future. Provision should be made for an extension of Stevenson Road to eventually run through the golf club property.

We feel that this naturalized area has not received sufficient study to proceed with a zoning by-law amendment. This is particularly so since it involves a city property, namely Windsor Park. The city has planted trees in this area of the park to restore and naturalize the area. We feel that natural spaces that are attached to more formal parks and easily accessible to residents are valued resources and should be protected.              CC