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Midland waterfront residents request town's support opposing Tay Township project

Council ultimately decided the project's future rests with the County of Simcoe and Tay Township
The Wye Heritage Marina in Tay Township has Midland residents to its west. Mehreen Shahid/MidlandToday

Midland watefront residents received cautious support from council in reponse to their request that they oppose a project in Tay Township.

"I share some of the concerns around natural heritage and septic," said Coun. Jon Main, addressing the four presenters from the Tiffin group. "I just don't know if it would be proper for the town to endorse a resolution. I think it is stronger coming from the community."

The group made a presentation at this week's council meeting requesting members pass a resolution expressing their opposition to a development proposed for the Wye Heritage Marina in neighbouring Tay.

The project proposes boat storage, a pool, 74 pre-fabricated cabins and motorhomes, the latter being along the western spit of the property, along the mouth of the Wye River.

Coun. Bill Gordon said he rarely agrees on issues with one of the presenters, George Dixon (a member of Midland Community since 2011), but this wasn't one of those times.

"If we were considering doing this in Midland, I would never support it," said Gordon. "It's absurd. I know some people label this as a NIMBY-type request. Your homes are built on what was formerly pristine land down there. My argument back is that may be true but that was some time ago and this is now."

He then added that the town doesn't have the ability to tell Tay what to do.

"They don't have to listen to us," he said. "Maybe they'll take some weight with us passing this resolution. As a neighbour, we need to show solidarity with our residents. I'd like to believe we show unanimous solidarity in passing this relatively harmless and certainly not binding resolution."

Mayor Stewart Strathearn reminded councillors that the county was keeping a close eye on the project.

"In the county's letter to the township, they asked for a scoped natural heritage study," he said. "They've asked for a scoped natural hazard study and an archeological study given the activities that have occurred in the not-so-distant past. They went on to specifically speak to compatibility. When they indicate that the intended use is under the provincial policy state. They were, on the face of it, from the higher level authorities, compatible."

The letter, said Strathearn, noted that township staff and council should be satisfied that the proposed development is compatible with surrounding land uses, including the residential uses west of the subject lands.

"This shows that the county is very cognizant of what's going on there," he said. "They are part of the approval process."

Rob Elliott, executive director of community and development services, reaffirmed Strathearn's interpretation of the letter.‚Äč

"What Simcoe County has asked for is confirmation of compatibility," said Elliott. "They've also asked for a number of additional studies, which have not been received as yet. I think that's the appropriate course of action: let those studies come in, let the county and township review and make comment on those." 

The town, he added, can play a good role in monitoring that application and ensure there is conformity and no incompatibility with its planning goals.

"I personally think the motion confirms our belief that the county needs to pay particular attention to the compatibility issue," said Strathearn. "We support them in asking that and the other studies they've asked for. Staff will continue to monitor and understand the reports as they come in."

Gordon asked if council would support such a project on the Midland side.

"I suspect most of you wouldn't," he said. "Whatever we decided here tonight isn't binding on Tay. All we're doing is sending a message of solidarity on behalf of the people who we were voted in to represent."

Council then unanimously passed a motion stating that the town supports the county's position that township staff and council should be satisfied that the proposed development is compatible with surrounding land usage, including the residents west of the subject lands. And that (Midland) staff will monitor the application and advise of issues.