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County hears concerns from the public regarding proposed re-designation of Puslinch hamlet

County’s manager of policy planning explained they have been examining new options for development for South Wellington because of highways 6 and 401, and the Morriston bypass
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A few members of the public spoke as delegates during the virtual public meeting.

WELLINGTON COUNTY - A new study for the Official Plan Amendment 119 which looks at the re-designation of the historic hamlet of Puslinch received concerns from the public during a virtual public meeting last week.

Sarah Wilhelm, county’s manager of policy planning, presented the Official Plan Amendment 119 on Thursday, She explained they have been examining new options of development areas for South Wellington because of the effects of highways 6 and 401 and the Morriston bypass. 

“The Highway 6 and Morriston bypass expansion project presents unique constraints and opportunities for the township as well as for the county,” said Wilhelm during her presentation. 

“The re-designation of the historical hamlet of Puslinch is logical at this time due to the status of the Highway 6 realignment. The current designation of the hamlet causes a limited or prohibited residential lot creation, and mainly focus on agricultural and agriculture-related uses. There’s a potential for small scale commercial, industrial and institutional uses in that area.”

The re-designation of the hamlet will allow for residential lot creation, subject to appropriate zoning; potential for local commercial, small scale industrial, institutional developments and parks, as well as open space where compatible and adequate servicing can be provided. 

However, county residents were concerned with the proposed study as factors such as agriculture, natural resources, and money affect the designation.

Barkley Nap, a Puslinch resident, spoke as a delegate at the virtual meeting and explained that he has four main concerns with the proposed study. 

“One being the subjects in this amendment should be clearer as there’s a lot of confusion on whether the Hamlet will be bigger or if it will be turned into an industrial development,” explained Nap during his delegation. 

“Second, the economics being looked at in this study needs to be reassessed as the lands proposed mainly consist of farmland. Farmland doesn’t require much services and actually pays much of what it receives. It contributes to the economy.”

Nap further noted that his third concern is around the large amount of land proposed in the study as the study covers 50 per cent of the remaining land in the township. Consequently, his fourth concern was the prospective loss of food production as prime agricultural land will be demolished into residential, industrial and commercial developments. 

Linda Burkowski, another local resident, echoed Nap’s remarks, but also stated her concerns around Nestle and the county’s natural water resources. 

“If we’re going to have all this extra development and industrialization, how are we going to take care of extra water-taking?” wondered Burkowski. 

“I have a shallow well, and so do others. Nestle has that big deep well and they take the best water for sale and leave us with what’s left over. If we have more industrialization and commercialization, I’m worried about our natural resources. I strongly urge you to consider our resources.”

For Neal DeRuyter, however, who is a planner with MHBC planning and spoke on behalf of his client, Bryan’s Farm, stated their support of the re-designation. He and his client believes that it could be a way to gain some of Bryan’s Farm’s land back that was bisected by the province for the Morriston bypass. 

“My client supports the re-designation, however, we’re also asking the county to consider expanding the designation boundary to include their lands,” explained DeRuyter. 

“As a result of the bypass, Bryan’s Farm had to shift around their operation. They have been operating in Puslinch for over 35 years. I think by having the designation boundary follow the new highway and include our client’s land will provide flexibility.”

The planning committee will be looking over the proposed study along with the delegations and public comments for discussion. Afterwards, they will present it to the county council before sending it to the province for approval. 

Angelica Babiera, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Angelica Babiera, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Angelica Babiera is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Wellington County. The LJI is funded by the Government of Canada
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