PETAWAWA – Residential development could block the town from extending its trail network along the Petawawa River.
According to staff, that's a possibility as council discussed the impact of land severances along the Petawawa during the June 26 committee meeting when it reviewed an amendment is to rezone severed lands that border the river just west of the railway bridge.
The application from numbered company 1067175 Ontario Incorporated was requesting to sever a 0.815 acre parcel of waterfront property that was to be added to an adjacent 5.88 acres parcel of land. The property fronts the former Wilson Estate, which sits on a bluff overlooking the river. The rezoning would change the lands from Extractive Industrial Reserve to Limited Service Residential.
The purpose of the lot addition was to ensure that the existing residential lot had complete ownership to the water’s edge, explained director of planning and development Karen Cronier. Council had previously supported the granting of the lot addition on condition that a zoning bylaw amendment was obtained to rezone the waterfront road allowance lands from Extractive Industrial Reserve to Limited Service Residential.
Coun. James Carmody noted that he had received concerns from kayakers that they would lose access to the river at this location, which has been used as the launching point for the Hell or High Water competition in the past. Cronier responded that access for the kayakers will be maintained.
However, others on council voiced their concern that municipally-owned property, which could be developed for recreational purposes in the future, was starting to dry up along the river. Coun. Treena Lemay asked staff to conduct an inventory of what property is still available for the town.
“Certainly the nice scenic Petawawa has lots of potential for development,” said Lemay. “When the town is making decisions for future development, we shouldn't forget that so we don't get ourselves locked in.”
The town does have access along the Millennium Trail and down behind the Vermont Meadows neighbourhood. It also has access on existing closed road allowances.
“We've had the situation where people are trying to claim those road allowances and we are trying to ensure that doesn't occur,” noted Cronier.
Indicating that it was his belief that the town is not done adding to the Millennium Trail, which was constructed in 2000 as the starting point for the town-wide Emerald Necklace network, Deputy Mayor Tom Mohns said it should determine what land is available westward to the Highway 17 bridge as that would be the logical extension for the trail. Staff warned that council may be disappointed.
“There is a limit to the amount that is left,” said chief administrative officer Dan Scissons.