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June 08, 2022

Proposal to Grey Highlands Council includes purchase of land in King Edward Park for Brew Pub parking lot in Markdale

King Edward Park gates in Markdale  with view of library

BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — At the April 20 Grey Highlands Council meeting, a proposal to purchase land for a Brew Pub parking lot at 31 Walker Street in Markdale was on the agenda.

The applicant is requesting Council rezone lands to permit a restaurant, micro-brewery and outdoor patio with apartments above for a total of three levels. To make this rezoning work, the applicant will need sufficient parking to accommodate their redevelopment plans.

As such, the land transfer request has to be addressed first in order to process the zoning changes, according to Grey Highlands CAO Karen Govan.

Link to April 20 meeting agenda

Elaine Smyth spoke during the Open Forum portion at the April 20 Council meeting. She represented the Markdale Agricultural Society as well as the Markdale Recreation Committee on the sale of surplus land. 

Smyth presented council with a list of questions and concerns.

One concern was for the location of library parking, since the library currently uses this space for it's own parking. Another concern was about the possible limits that this proposal could put onto volunteer groups regarding the sale of beer at their events.

Thirdly, would there be a public consultation process and would the sale reflect current land values?

Later, during discussion of this motion, Council was divided on their thoughts regarding this proposal. 

Deputy Mayor Desai was in favour of rental units in downtown Markdale but he wanted to formalize the input from the Markdale Recreation Committee, the Agricultural Society and Grey Highlands Public Library boards.

Councillor Little said that she was concerned about the process and also asked when public engagement would occur. Little said that she was also concerned about looking at this project in isolation and how it integrates with the downtown Markdale project?

Other Councillors expressed concerns with the process. After debating the issue at length, Council voted 5-2 in favour of directing staff to circulate the request for comments to the Markdale Agricultural Society, Markdale Recreation Committee, and the Grey Highlands Public Library and directed staff to proceed with obtaining an appraisal of the land.

If Council passes a resolution to declare the land 'surplus' and to proceed with the disposition, notice of the proposed disposal would be given to the public, in accordance with the municipal policy indicating the method chosen, and it would be given prior to the disposal of any real property.

Costs associated with the sale of the land will be included in the minimum bid price for the land.

The matter of parking for 31 Walker Street, Markdale was also discussed at the June 1 Grey Highlands Council meeting.

A Letter to council submitted by Kevin Land, Chair of the library board was received regarding the issue of parking at the library and was part of the meeting agenda.

Several speakers appeared before Council to address the parking issue. Grey Highlands Public Library Board member Steward Halliday and Jennifer Murley, the CAO of the Grey Highlands Public Library shared their thoughts.

Halliday stated "It is our hope that we can collaboratively develop a longterm plan for King Edward Park and the future of the Walter Harris Library."

Halliday added that the library will need to be expanded in the future, due to the future development of 1,000 new homes in Markdale. The library will require sufficient parking spaces to accommodate such growth. He advocated that the proposed parking for the Brew Pub needs to be relocated to the building at 31 Walker Street.

Jennifer Murley, CAO of the library, informed Council that the busiest library branch in Grey Highlands is in Markdale. She added that Chatsworth Township uses the library as well as some residents of West Grey. She stressed that libraries are cultural leaders in Grey Highlands and that land flexibility is required for future needs. 19 parking spaces are required for the library plus 37 additional spaces will be required after expansion of the library, according to future plans. The vision is for a 3,000 square foot expansion of the Markdale library in the future and there will be other users of the park. 

The presentation was received by council.

The issue will be updated when staff return to Council with comments from stakeholders and a proper appraisal of the land facing possible disposition.

Listen to Council discussion of the issue on the Municipality of Grey Highlands Civicweb site. Links to video recordings are on each section of the agenda.


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