THUNDER BAY – A proposed new subdivision west of the city’s urban core is getting the greenlight to proceed to the next stage.
Thunder Bay city council on Monday night approved the draft plan for the 24-lot addition, which would be located on a currently vacant parcel of land just off 20th Side Road south of Nova Drive.
The new development would result in two new streets for the single detached dwellings, which would be serviced by municipal water with individual private septic fields.
At the May 28 meeting, several nearby residents came forward to voice their opposition for the new subdivision. The primary concern was that adding more development would acerbate stormwater management issues and elevate the water table in an area where flooding is already a worry.
“It’s the intent of this development there won’t be any detrimental impacts to the adjacent areas. Although those adjacent areas will not see necessarily a lot of improvement it should not get worse because of this development,” city project engineer Aaron Ward said.
The draft approval from administration includes 29 conditions that must be met prior in order for a subdivision agreement to proceed. Those include the completion of hydrogeological studies, appraisal of groundwater conditions, erosion control plan and dedicate land for drainage and stormwater management.
“There’s a big difference from how things were designed and built in the past to how things are designed and built today,” Ward said. “The level of construction standards we have today I think are far superior to handle the drainage problems we see in these situations where we have potential for high water table.”
The developer’s application received responses from multiple agencies, including CP Rail which requested a noise and vibration study because the development is adjacent to their line.
As well, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit expressed opposition citing a lack of trail or sidewalk connections to promote walkability, potential for food inaccessibility and a motor vehicle dependent lifestyle as a result of distance from commercial areas and that infill and intensification in the urban area should be the focus of new housing.
Coun. Larry Hebert was surprised by the health unit’s input.
“This is the first I’ve ever seen those kind of comments from the health unit regarding walkability to shopping. There’s places in Westfort that aren’t walkable to shopping,” Hebert said. “Why are they making these comments?”
As well, council also received a report showing there is a two-year supply of residential lots with 138 currently available, which increases to a nearly 12-year supply when factoring in plans of subdivision that have received draft approval.
“In 2018 it is expected that a number of new registered plans for single detached dwellings will move forward and it is anticipated that developers will also move ahead with several multiple unit development projects on infill lands,” the report reads.
Last year there were 70 single detached dwellings built, with 32 of those in plans of subdivision and the remainder on infill lots. The number of subdivision permits was by far the lowest in the past five years, declining from a high of 91 in 2013 when there was a total of 155 permits for single home builds.
Plans of subdivision expected to be added this year include 37 single homes, 20 townhouses and 30 apartment units in the Hutton Park Estates and Gemstone Estates subdivisions that are anticipated to be registered by the end of the month. The first stage of the Dawson Heights development with 25 single lots is expected to be registered later this summer.