North Grenville Municipal Council held a special council meeting on July 22, to discuss the site plan for phase 2 and 3 of the Kevlar commercial development located on County Road 43. The portion of the site that is currently developed includes the Starbucks, RE/MAX, Trigon Insurance, and Mucho Burrito.
Phase 2 and 3 of the development will include two buildings with a total of five new commercial units. Tenants will include a physiotherapy office, Domino’s Pizza, and a Harvey’s/Swiss Chalet restaurant. The plans for the new development also include pedestrian sidewalks to facilitate connectivity within the development; a community pathway which connects County Road 19 with County Road 43; a new entrance and exit to the development off County Road 19; and bike racks at the new buildings. North Grenville Planner, Amy Martin, says the site plan has also been sent to the Accessibility Advisory Committee which will look at how individuals with differing abilities will react to the proposed site. “[We are] waiting for their comment and review,” she said.
Although council are supportive of the development, they did have a few concerns. Mayor Peckford raised the issue of site drainage, as she has been in correspondence with several property owners whose land is adjacent to the municipal drain that handles flows from both the Kevlar and Colonnade developments. “More than one property owner is feeling that their lands are far wetter and not draining well by virtue of additional stormwater that is coming from Colonnade and Kevlar,” she said.
Director of Planning and Development, Phil Gerrard, said that, in the case of the Kevlar development, the stormwater management plan was peer-reviewed by consultants, and approved by both the Municipality and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA). There was also an Environmental Compliance Approval from the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), which is needed when stormwater is being directed off-site.
Should a property owner feel that they are having issues due to water being funneled onto their property, their recourse is to hire an engineer to assess the situation.
Mayor Peckford also mentioned that she was disappointed that the pedestrian connectivity between the Kevlar and Colonnade developments was not addressed in the site plan. “I’m surprised that I didn’t see better connectivity, because I understood Kevlar themselves wanted to facilitate that,” she said. “This feels so intuitive as a way to bring together two large commercial developments.”
Councillor O’Sullivan echoed Mayor Peckford’s concern, adding that she doesn’t see the point of the community pathway, because it doesn’t connect to anywhere. “It says it’s a community path; but it seems to be a site plan path that has nothing to do with the rest of the community,” she said.
Amy Martin explained that the purpose of the community pathway is to eventually connect to the sidewalk and bike path which are in the plans for the new and improved County Road 43. That being said, Mayor Peckford pointed out that the re-development of County Road 43 could take several years. Councillor O’Sullivan mentioned that, even with sidewalks along County Road 43, there is still no connectivity between the Rail Trail and the community pathway, which would be beneficial. “There is no direct link from the rail trail,” she said. “That just dead ends on Wellington Road.”
Although Director Gerrard said he will bring requests for more pedestrian connectivity back to Kevlar, he did note that this is outside the site plan approval process. “I shouldn’t be speaking on their behalf; but I can tell you from past experience that they’ll want to be compensated by the Municipality, because it doesn’t deal directly with the development of this site plan,” he said. He did mention that the Municipality has the ability to improve connectivity by investing in a sidewalk between Ryan’s Well Drive and the Kevlar development, along County Road 19. Although it is a county road, sidewalks are a municipal responsibility. “That’s the missing piece here that we need to obtain,” he said.
Mayor Peckford said that, given the density of the commercial developments that continue to grow in the area, it might be a good idea for them to take a look at providing that pedestrian pathway between the Kevlar development and Ryan’s Well Drive. Director Gerrard said that development charges could most likely be used to help fund such a project. “Sidewalks and multiuse pathways can, to some degree, be paid for through development charges,” he said.
That being said, Mayor Peckford hopes to continue the conversation with Kevlar to see if they can help to provide a solution for connectivity moving forward. “They do such good work in the community and I think they appreciate the need for people to safely transverse a number of different properties in that area,” she said. “I think we’d really like to take a harder look at how we create that safe passage sooner rather than later.”