Submission by Mary Simpson & Denise Corneil to Mun. of Southwest Middlesex

Dear Mayor Reycraft and Members of Council, Southwest Middlesex December 4, 2007
cc. Mayor Warwick and Members of Council, West Elgin

Denise Corneil and I are submitting this draft inventory of assets for Wardsville area as input into the draft Official Plan and the strategic planning process that is being planned. We have several recommendations for the Planning Committee based on what we have learned from the community so far:

1. Please delay closing the official plan on the Wardsville section. It needs more research and public input before making it “official”. For instance, there has been a negative reaction towards the term “retirement community”. There are many unanswered questions about the proposed boundary expansion.

2. Please look at the issue of seniors’ housing carefully. Has this issue been address adequately? Seniors are moving away because there is no available housing. Beattie Haven is planning redevelopment and needs input eventually from Southwest Middlesex as well as West Elgin.

3. Certain infrastructure issues continue to rankle certain individuals in the village but were not pushed onto the Nov 28th agenda. There seems to be an outstanding issue of water billing that raises the issue of justice and what costs are/are not shared across the municipality. There is a lack of information about the “building freeze”. Is it lifted?

4. The community wants information about the sewage system. How it works. Is it working? What capacity does it have to accommodate village growth? The people of Wardsville were always told the sewage run-off facility was designed only for existing houses and in-filling in the village. The Official Plan has expanded the boundaries. What are the limits to growth? What are the costs and benefits of growth? Who will pay for environmental studies? How well is the new sewage treatment working? There is a need for factual information as soon as possible.

5. People who are attempting to build homes in Wardsville are encountering difficulty navigating the development process. A village that is so close to the Thames river is extremely sensitive. Site planning is critical. The LTVCA is an important partner. Should citizens be proposing growth in such a sensitive area?

6. Please make the plan itself available on line. The distribution to date has been inadequate. Denise and I have been circulating an office copy and had to personally finance the photocopying of the Wardsville section for people who attended the Nov 28th meeting. Why not offer them for sale. Some would be happy to purchase it if the municipality does not have the budget.

We hope this helpful! These are just some of the questions that need to be answered by the Municipality in order for Wardsville to look ahead. If there are limits to growth these need to be understood immediately by the organizations that are embarking on costly planning processes.

The tone of the November 28th meeting was extremely positive. Let’s talk about the next steps. At the local level, the next months need to be about learning what is possible: opportunities and constraints. An information gathering period.

Submitted respectfully by,
Mary Simpson
Denise Corneil
Community Facilitators

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