Barron Canyon residents riled over rezoning application
LAURENTIAN VALLEY – Residents are riled over a rezoning application within their neighbourhood by Barron Canyon Road.
The Township of Laurentian Valley’s April 18 council meeting included a public hearing on a request to rezone the one-acre lot located at 1756 Barron Canyon Rd.
Jason Marleau, the individual who is looking to lease the property, recently submitted the application for the zoning by-law amendment, on behalf of property owner Carmen Minutillo.
The property is currently zoned as rural (RU) which allows the land to be used for a single detached residential dwelling.
Marleau is hoping to rezone the subject lands to permit the use of the property for a retail store/canoe and camping equipment outfitter and allow the conversion of the existing dwelling.
The effect of the amendment would be to establish a Rural-Exception Seventy-One (RU-E71) zone with special provisions to permit a retail store and canoe and camping outfitter on the subject lands and to rezone the property from Rural (RU) to Rural-Exception Seventy-One-holding (RU-E71-h).
The lot is occupied by an existing single detached dwelling and septic system which are proposed to be converted to the canoe and camping outfitter use.
With his shop (Algonquin Bound Outfitters) currently situated at a smaller establishment at 525 Barron Canyon Rd., the new establishment (1756 Barron Canyon Rd.) would be larger, in a better location and have a host of necessary utilities.
“Essentially, what we're thinking of doing is just to move our operations from our current location to this new location – and then close the old location. Currently we're affecting a bunch of people down the road from us, but this new location is at the very end of the road so it would be much less of an issue for people trying to access their residences,” said Marleau. “We’re also working with an engineer to expand the radius of the parking lot so people can get in and out safely – we’d want to get people off the road and safely in our space.”
Algonquin Bound Outfitters caters to the needs of people who are engaging in canoe and camping activities in Algonquin Park and surrounding areas of the Township or County. As Barron Canyon Road provides an access into a portion of Algonquin Park where these outdoor recreational activities are undertaken it is an appropriate use in the area. The business is open most of July and August with average hours being from 9a.m. to 5 p.m., and it is closed for the majority of the remaining months of the year.
At the Tuesday night people, nearly all of the neighbourhood’s residents were in attendance to express their opposition towards the rezoning application.
“There's no accident that the entire neighbourhood has shown up to this meeting,” said neighbourhood resident Michel Gaudet. “There's only one lady who is not here because she is not well right now, but otherwise you are looking at the entire neighbourhood sharing the exact same concern which above all is safety.”
Gaudet and his neighbours shared their concerns, stating that the location of the business would become a safety hazard for drivers travelling along that part of Barron Canyon Road as the parking lot and loading area would not provide enough space for trailers to safely get their canoes and equipment, turn around and get back on the road.
“It's a blind hill and imagine the dust rolling off of that gravel portion of that road and a lot of times that whole area is obscured. Just last summer, not even 12 months ago there was a motor vehicle accident where two vehicles managed to tag each other,” said Gaudet. “With trailers and cars going into this establishment, there will be some spillover that will cause people to be on the road and that will be a hazard and there could be a situation where someone will be injured.”
Clifford Farr expressed similar concerns about the business posing a safety hazard to motorists – particularly with speeding issues in the area.
“My concern is the road access and the speed limit,” said Farr. “We get a lot of motorists speeding along that road and not following the 80km/h limit. If there’s motorists speeding and others trying to get out of this lot with their equipment, that could be a major hazard. We need to ensure that it’s safe.”
In response to the public’s concerns, Marleau said that if his application moves forward, he would work with a contractor to expand the lot as much as possible in order to provide that necessary space for drivers to safely get in and out without causing any accidents.
“We would like to do whatever the county will allow to create as much space as possible but also to keep the character of the property,” said Marleau. “But there has to be space there to get people off the road, we don't want people on the road as it's not good for business and it's not good for safety. So the goal is to get people off the road and up to our place safely.”
Council has plans to further deliberate the rezoning application and consider all of the public’s concerns when they bring the topic back to table at the May 2 meeting.