Highlighting the natural environment with a “green corridor” and a unique approach to stormwater servicing are two features of a recently introduced concept plan for the long-term development of the northwest quadrant of Kemptville.
Forbes Symon, director of planning and development, unveiled the summary of work done on the concept plan to date to council during the Sept. 6 Committee of the Whole meeting. The idea is to create a planned community in the northwest quadrant, which are the lands located north of County Road 43 and west of County Road 44. These lands were added into the urban boundary of Kemptville during the 2009 five-year review of North Grenville’s Official Plan.
“It was intended to accommodate a large proportion of the future residential growth of the Kemptville urban area,” Symon explained, adding that the Official Plan outlined a need to develop some sort of master plan to guide the growth. “One thing the Official Plan said…was to involve all property owners in developing a master plan that all developers can follow.”
“In actual fact, it’s a planned community, which was a new experience for me and it’s a unique experience for small towns to have a relatively large area like this to plan communities in,” he continued.
The draft concept plan features protection of the more than 52.6 hectares (130 acres) of wetlands in the northwest quadrant as well as a drainage greenway, five low maintenance naturalized ponds to address stormwater servicing, as well as a link to a trails system, paths for pedestrians and cyclists and the possibility of establishing an interpretive trail and boardwalk in the future. The main entrance to this planned community would be situated across from the North Grenville Municipal Centre on County Road 44, with a secondary entrance located on County Road 43 and another further down County Road 44.
According to Symon’s report on the matter, it was important for the plan to identify environmental hazards and constraints, road networks, natural heritage features, linkages for pedestrians, water, sanitary and stormwater servicing, as well as parkland needs. “It would be anticipated that the individual development proposals would complement the agreed upon concept plan for the area,” he stated in his report.
One of those developments already in the works is the approved 480-unit Oxford Village subdivision. In the subdivision proposal, a need for a new sanitary pump station, stormwater management infrastructure and a new municipal well to accommodate the new units was highlighted.
Work on the concept plan began in spring 2010 and major property owners within the quadrant were invited to take part in what Symon calls a concept planning exercise. Engineers, landscape architects, biologists and planning professionals, as well as the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) were also brought to the table and last fall, an environmental review was undertaken.
“Since then over the last year we’ve been working on dealing with a number of technical issues that we faced with master planning this area,” he said, with the wetlands located in the middle of the northwest quadrant being the primary issue.
How to manage stormwater servicing was another concern, which led the group to come up with an “innovative, state-of-the-art approach of dealing with stormwater,” Symon said.
The solution, which has only been used in smaller areas previously, involves the five low maintenance naturalized ponds which will be placed throughout the planned community. Karen Dunlop, director of public works, said if all goes well, these ponds should only need to be cleaned of sediments every 20 years.
A focus has also been placed on ensuring the existing fish habitat thrives as ditch work in the community will force a relocation of the habitat. It is something the RVCA is monitoring closely.
“We will compensate and create a new fish habitat,” Symon explained.
Councillor Terry Butler questioned how many homes would be going into this planned community.
“When the Official Plan review was done, there was an estimation there could be between 2,500 and 3,000 homes go in over a 20-year period,” Symon commented. “At this point in time that number’s closer to the lower number of 2,500 because the wetland ended up being larger than it was originally mapped.”
“We haven’t had a complete analysis done on the maximum or minimum density but that will come out later. This (report) is literally hot off the presses,” he added.
While he had concerns with the primary entrance to the community being on County Road 44, which Symon said was better from a “promotional standpoint,” Butler wondered how this concept plan would fit in with the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville’s County Road 43 master plan.
“The 43 master plan anticipated this development and the volume of traffic coming from the area…we’ve worked at trying to fit the concept plan into the 43 long-term design,” Symon noted, adding that traffic impact studies would be conducted later on in the process.
Another issue was the cost associated with this planned community. Symon indicated all along the mentality of the municipality has been that growth will pay for growth.
“The previous council commented on this when the eastern quadrant was financed by the municipality to open up employment lands but the municipality is not going to finance for residential lands,” he explained. “eQuinelle set the bar with that when they paid their own costs…at least at this point in time it’s anticipated that development will pay for infrastructure needs such as the well, pump lines, station, roads, etc. So there aren’t going to be public expenditures for this development.”
Councillor Tim Sutton wanted to ensure all developers with a stake in the lands were in agreement with the plan.
“All have been well represented at the table,” Symon confirmed.
Mayor David Gordon was relieved to hear that this development would be taking place over a 20-year period. “We need to have the choice to control growth. I think this is a good concept,” he said. “It seems more like an eco-village.”
After Symon introduced the concept plan to council, Symon stressed there is also a need to go through a Class Environment Assessment (EA) for the stormwater and sanitary servicing. Once the EA has commenced, which will take four to five months to complete, the public will be introduced to the planned community through a public meeting set for sometime this fall.
“We think we’ve come up with a document that’s going to guide development in this area for the future…This is going to be one of the most attractive residential projects in the community,” Symon concluded.By Ashley Kulp