Sunday, February 12, 2017

Starting Planning for “East Fenwick”

I was a little surprised during our Committee of the Whole meeting last week because the East Fenwick Secondary Plan area is bigger than originally thought.

Last Fall, Town Council identified the preparation of a Secondary Plan for East Fenwick as a priority for 2017. While we set aside funds over the last couple of years to re-start this detailed planning exercise, Staff hadn't been able to get it started until now.

As you will recall, previous Councils expanded the Town's "urban boundaries" – the areas in which one can build houses, stores, and other developments. Since the Town had installed water and sewer services to the former "hamlet" of Fenwick in the early 1980s, the Town’s 1987 Official Plan made Fenwick an Urban Area and added development rights to those lands in 1990.

So, although not currently built-up, the area in which one can develop includes an additional 235 acres (95 hectares) from Cream to Balfour and between Memorial and Welland Roads.

So, what was my surprise? Staff included properties along Sunset Drive, Alder Crescent, and the east-side of Balfour Street as part of this "secondary" planning process. When I asked about it during our meeting, Staff stated that both the Town’s and Region’s Official Plans policies call for all lands inside Urban Boundaries to be serviced (with water and sewers) and that part of the plan needed to include studies to achieve that.

The goals for the Secondary Plan for East Fenwick include: permitting new development compatible with the existing character of Fenwick but also consistent with Provincial, Regional and Local planning legislation; ensuring appropriate capacity of transportation, water, sewer, and storm services; establishing areas for "public space" and protected natural heritage features; establishing design guidelines; providing well-designed areas that prioritize pedestrians; and providing a phasing plan.

Committee approved the proposal that calls for a collaborative community engagement process, including a community charrette, public meetings, open houses, and the use of an internet tool called PlaceSpeak.

If approved at Council next week, Staff will issue a request for proposals for late-March and work could begin as early as April. Staff suggested that the process could then take nine months.

The East Fenwick Secondary Plan will provide the appropriate policy guidance – including protecting key natural features, walkability, and linkages to the historic Downtown – so that this large area might develop and integrate more fully into the Town.

Councillors and I will look forward to working together with the community as the Town develops the East Fenwick Secondary Plan.
Documents for More Information:

  • For the 6 February 2016 Staff report to Committee about East Fenwick, please click here.
  • For the Terms of Reference for the Request for Proposals, please click here.
  • For a video of the discussion at 6 February 2016 Committee meeting, please click here; discussion starts around 11 minutes, 55 seconds.