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‘Absolutely baffling:’ Peterborough County council concerned about transportation in city’s official plan

·4 min read

County councillors were surprised to learn that several proposed road corridors included in the city’s draft official plan could significantly impact transportation networks in the county.

Cavan Monaghan Township Mayor Scott McFadden told council Wednesday that the city’s draft official plan update includes an area on the western and northern outskirts of the city that is set aside as a future municipal roadway corridor connecting Highway 7/115 to Trent University.

“I’m not aware of any conversations with either ourselves (Cavan Monaghan Township) or Selwyn, Douro-Dummer or the county relative to those corridors,” McFadden said.

“But they do have a significant impact on each of our townships. I know in Cavan Monaghan the corridor goes right through one of our large subdivisions and it would bisect between Crestwood Secondary School and James Strath Public School. It’s obviously a concern.”

The draft plan also includes a road corridor on the city’s eastern outskirts going through Douro-Dummer Township that would connect Television Road to University Road and another for a provincial highway extending from Highway 7/115 at Television Road to Trent University.

While those two corridors have been on the books for awhile, the city’s draft official plan officially removes The Parkway extension corridor after being in the plan for decades.

The city is receiving comments on its draft official plan until Nov. 1. McFadden urged the county and his township counterparts to express their thoughts on the issue.

All municipalities are required by the province to have an official plan outlining how land should be used. The plan deals with issues including housing, industry, transportation, institutions, water and sewer services.

Otonabee-South Monaghan Township Mayor Joe Taylor said there are a number of aspects of the city’s plan that he does not understand.

“It appears to me the city of Peterborough is merely taking the dreaded Parkway and moving it out of the city and into the county,” Taylor said.

“I don’t understand how another municipality can designate lands outside of their own.”

McFadden also pointed out that where Chemong Road North edges Selwyn Township, the city’s official plan is proposing 30 hectares of land be designated as prestige employment to meet its needs. However, a majority of this land fronts onto Fairbairn Street and County Road 19, he said.

“I’m not aware of any discussions that have been had with either the county or Selwyn relative to the impact of 30 hectares of employment lands that would be essentially dumping on the county and township roads. So, again, I wanted to bring it to your attention.”

Bryan Weir, the county’s director of planning and public works, explained that municipalities cannot designate land outside of their own jurisdiction, but the official plan discusses collaboration on transportation networks.

“They’re very loosely drawn at this point in time, but it’s to indicate that Peterborough county and the city should be talking about reasonable alternatives to transportation networks outside of the city, as well,” he said.

“Certainly, we want to understand the impact this might have on the county transportation network but there might be impacts on local transportation networks as well,” Weir continued. “So, it’s important for these municipalities (townships) to also get involved.”

Taylor said he plans to look at these items further. He said he will “definitely” be submitting comments to the city.

“If this is correct and the proposed arterial route goes right between Crestwood Secondary School and James Strath Public School, that’s ridiculous. I can’t imagine why anyone would even consider that. But furthermore ... it looks like that proposed route would require the purchase or expropriation of hundreds of county homes to be removed. This makes no sense to me at all,” he said.

Bonnie Clark, deputy mayor of Otonabee-South Monaghan Township, agreed, saying “this is absolutely baffling that with something that affects the county there’s no collaboration.”

Warden J. Murray Jones said county council will be counting on staff to “get to the bottom of this. I think we’re all extremely frustrated and we really do need to scrape the dust off this issue.”

Weir said there has been county consultation, involvement and input with the city’s official plan process over the past four years, but he will be investigating further.

County council passed a motion instructing staff to take appropriate measures to represent its issues and to foster more collaboration between the county and the city.

Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him at bburke@metroland.com

Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner

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