PUSLINCH - The Township of Puslinch is formally objecting to the approval of the City of Guelph’s plans for expansion in to the Clair-Maltby area.
At the township’s special council meeting on Wednesday, Puslinch council unanimously objected to the approval of the Clair-Maltby plan until the concerns raised by the Township of Puslinch have been adequately addressed and incorporated into the plan.
In the years to come, the city’s southern urban boundary is expected to grow into the Clair-Maltby area – about 414 hectares of land in the city’s southeast corner, bounded by the future extension of Poppy Drive West to the north, Victoria Road to the east, Maltby Road to the south and Southgate Business Park to the west.
It’s slated to become predominantly residential lands, with a variety of recreational and retail or service commercial uses, along with a preserved natural heritage system including numerous parks and trails, an active transportation and wildlife overpass on Gordon Street, and more.
If approved, the Clair-Maltby secondary plan would set regulations regarding residential density, building heights, floor space, housing types, road requirements and transportation plans, among other things.
Puslinch staff and council have sent comments to the City of Guelph with regards to its concerns with traffic, urban-rural transition area, and the proposed building heights.
City of Guelph has answered many of the Township of Puslinch’s comments, however, a few still remain outstanding such as comments submitted by Puslinch’s consulting hydrogeologist and the county planning staff.
“There is clearly no commitment from the City of Guelph to provide meaningful long-term monitoring to protect water quality for residents along Maltby Road and further to the south,” stated Harden Environmental, Puslinch’s hydrogeologist, in the staff report.
Harden Environment further noted the terrain of the Paris Moraine is built in a way where stormwater from parking areas and the road networks is captured.
Despite environmental protection being stated as a key priority in the plan, there is no present solution to the salt issue according to the township’s hydrogeologist.
“The salt management plan recommendations do not include monitoring of overburden or bedrock aquifers supplying local wells in Puslinch Township,” stated in the report.
“Both sodium and chloride, both elements in salt, have concentration limits in regard to aesthetic quality of drinking water. The city relies on clean groundwater as do all the residents in the Township. However, the terrain of the Clair-Maltby secondary plan area, the proposed density, and the lack of overflow stormwater outlets to streams will result in the contamination of groundwater.”
Meanwhile, the county planning staff’s comments related to the landscaping or setback requirements say the city does not want to include specific requirements in the policies to allow future applications to respond to site-specific conditions.
“There is still a concern that there is only wording to 'encourage' increased setbacks and that there is no specific and consistent minimum standard being applied,” stated in the staff report.
“The concern regarding the setback requirements, including wording and a minimum setback of 12 metres has been raised since 2019. As the other planning comments in staff’s previous report do not appear to be acknowledged or considered.”
Coun. Sara Bailey wondered if township staff and county planning staff will speak as delegates at the City of Guelph’s special council meeting on Monday, where city council is set to consider approving the plan.
Bailey believed physically showing up to voice the township’s concerns will send a more meaningful message to the city.
“At this time, staff have not planned to attend the City of Guelph meeting to give a verbal delegation. We’ve just planned on submitting our written council resolution with the appended consultant’s comments and reports,” explained Courtenay Hoytfox, township clerk, during the meeting.