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December 22, 2022

Open letter to the Municipality of grey Highlands Councillors: Listen to us!

Old Baldy and the Beaver Valley

Dear Councillors,

You will all remember the signs proliferating the municipality asking the previous council LISTEN TO US.

That council did not listen to us.

Now, after presentations by the Beaver Valley Development Group, the area population has been made aware of the short-sighted, ill-conceived plans to turn a Unesco Biosphere Reserve into a suburb.

Some of the reaction to the development group’s last virtual presentation are listed below, so that you can see for yourselves, not only the overlooked aspects of a plan to put a town where there is green space, but also the passion ,dedication and attention to detail brought by concerned area residents.

Listen to Us:

"Could you please explain how 500 units fits within the existing "context"....a 300% increase in units in the area doesn't just melt into the scenery!!!!!"

"Excavation on karst-sensitive land on the upper portion will adversely impact our sensitive and precious water tables — that is where Amik residents get their water. So if it is syphoned off then they will be left without. This was already fought and turned down in the ’80s."

'"Sustainable Tourism' and 'recreation' does not require high-density housing."

"Health and wellness? That would mean leaving the forest natural…green space, watersheds, oxygen…the whole valley contributes to the health of the province…you would only need a wellness centre when people are sick…and this plan stresses and assaults nature."

"What I am seeing here is housing — not a community. Housing does not make communities. And none of this is sustainable with regard to climate change."

"What will be the implications for existing services such as education, health, etc. given the population increase. These systems are already significantly undersized."

"A subdivision? It is a whole new town 300% bigger than Amik and Kimberley combined."

"There is no accountability in consultation…no engagement…this is how they can say they consulted the community?"

"There is not capacity for sewage. Please read the reports on Grey Highlands municipal site. Also the water treatment is only big enough to support the former Talisman Resort and Amik. This was done very purposefully to limit development."

"What is the capacity of the sewage lagoons at present? What is the maximum capacity of lagoons even after developer investment i.e. what has the municipality told you that you can increase to? How will this impact the middle property and development there? We need a secondary plan that is led by the municipality to ensure a comprehensive plan that benefits all, not just developers!"

"It's pretty telling that part of the development team doesn’t know the population of Kimberley."

"…if they don’t even know the current population, what do they know about the water table?"

"Who will pay for sewage and water infrastructure costs and how can there already be capacity in the wastewater system when you are potentially adding 500 homes plus all the tourism business?"

"Potentially tripling traffic volume through the village is beyond the capacity of what the Safety Group has proposed."

"The sense I get is that this is just an exercise to say they gave us a chance to react — clearly expect them to take a hard line on Official Plan and designations, and forge ahead. This is a chance to get a huge return on the investment."

"It seems like basic needs are not considered — shopping, medical care, water quality/access, transportation etc."

"It is obvious that this meeting is most disturbing to us all. We can see through to the truth. It is deceptive. I don't appreciate this."

You should be able to glean from their responses that this is a well informed and passionate corner of the municipality, willing to work with you.

You have a second chance to LISTEN TO US, and it will be in all our best interests.

Please let me know if council would accept input on this matter, by scheduling further meetings with just us — the people who live and work here.

Sincerely,

Geoff Bowes,
Grey Highlands

 


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