Letters

Contentious Mono garage development draws residents’ ire

November 28, 2019   ·   0 Comments

Written By JAMES MATTHEWS

Mono town council got an earful Tuesday night from residents concerned about possible environmental impacts of a development on Hurontario Street at the Mono Centre Road (Dufferin County Road 8).

It was standing-room-only in the council chamber Nov. 26 as concerned residents turned out to speak against a resident’s plans to construct a 14,000-square foot building on property zoned agricultural-residential. Many residents expressed concern the property owner’s development was a commercial/industrial endeavour.

Mono resident Mike Clark runs Smokies Garage and Smokies Gooseville Tavern on the property. He applied for a zoning variance in May that would allow him to construct a 14,000-square foot building on the property.

The proponent has maintained that the tavern is a private facility for entertaining guests and friends and, despite being billed as Smokies Garage, the facility is to accommodate his hobby, customizing motorcycles.

“While I understand there are concerns from residents and from council regarding entrance approvals, conservation permits, building permits and municipal approvals, I think it is important to stress that staff abides diligently to our existing review process of current Zoning Bylaws and the Official Plan,” said Michael Dunmore, the town’s director of public works.

He said town staff have been diligent during the review process and the applicant has provided all requested information to satisfy bylaw requirements.

“The applicant has provided information as requested to satisfy the town, other agencies, and authorities,” said Mr. Dunmore. That information pertains to soil consultant-prepared certification that fill brought to the property is clean.

Resident Bob Mitchell said the town’s bylaw needs a clear definition of personal and commercial use in relation to building size.

“How well-defined are those two terms?” he said. “There is a lot riding on that. This is a commercial-sized building.”

Deputy Mayor John Creelman said as much as 18,000 cubic metres of fill is destined for the Smokies development.

Questions surrounding the fill seemed particularly vexatious to some residents in attendance. They expressed concern that contaminated soil may be used as fill and, if so, contaminants could leech into a nearby Nottawasaga River tributary.

“We have an environment that needs to be protected,” said one woman. “A commercial entity in a residential agricultural-zoned area is not acceptable.”

Mr. Dunmore said people’s environmental fears are rooted in speculation.

Councillor Fred Nix said he agrees with people’s concerns for the environment that stem from the proponent’s development being outside land zoned for industrial use.

“We’re going to be watching this development like a hawk,” said Mr. Nix.

Mr. Dunmore said the applicant has complied with all zoning requirements which, from the municipality’s perspective, pertains to an entrance on Hurontario Street. Other permits have been issued by the County of Dufferin and the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority that are beyond the town’s purview.

Mayor Laura Ryan said the municipality could face legal ramifications if it rescinds the entrance permit.

“He (Mr. Clark) is following all the laws out there right now,” said Mr. Nix. “But I’m still suspicious.”



         

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