Agreement sets stage for industrial infilling at Elmira site

A long-vacant piece of industrial land in Elmira moved closer to development with Woolwich council’s approval Tuesday night of a subdivision agreement.

The deal with 2144183 Ontario Ltd. creates three new industrial lots on land surrounding the former Glenoit building on Howard Avenue, one of which is slated to house a propane distribution facility. That two-acre site is on the corner of Union Street and Oriole Parkway.

A second parcel, approximately 1.4 acres, fronts on Oriole Parkway, while a third of approximately 2.6 acres fronts on Howard Avenue. All three join a previously-severed lot to the west.

For owner Dennis Martin, the formal arrangement allows for development to go ahead quickly on two of the parcels, though he remains concerned about the requirements – a drainage channel and municipal right-of-way – on the lot facing Howard Avenue.

“Time is becoming a bit of an issue. I’m prepared to sign this development agreement if I have to,” he told councillors, adding he would prefer some additional flexibility for the third parcel. Specifically, he wants to avoid coming up with a detailed engineering plan for the storm water easement only to have to redo the plans later if the current location is deemed inadequate.

“I’d rather not have to do that twice. I’m asking for some leniency from council.”

However, Dan Kennaley, director of engineering and planning, advised against changing the subdivision agreement on the fly, as it had already been vetted by the township’s lawyer, and would have to go back for another review. In light of Martin’s time constraints for developing the other two parcels, he suggested the developer sign the agreement, and then seek an amendment later pertaining to the requirements put on parcel three.

Martin’s request was greeted sympathetically by council, which instructed Kennaley to find a way to make the process work to minimize Martin’s expenditures.

“You know what our intent is,” Coun. Mark Bauman told him.

While unable to guarantee the ideal outcome for the developer, Kennaley said planning staff will come up with some kind of alternative.

“We’ll do what we can to avoid any unnecessary costs.”

The deal clears the way for what should be fairly quick action on the two parcels adjacent to Oriole Parkway.

The first has been earmarked for London, Ont.-based EDPRO, which will build a propane distribution facility on the site. Not a retail operation, the company will focus on supplying residential, agricultural and business customers in the Waterloo-Wellington area.

EDPRO Elmira will concentrate primarily on filling 33-pound cylinders for the forklift market, and filling bulk trucks destined for the residential agricultural markets.

The company had hoped to begin construction this month, but was delayed by the severance process resolved this week and some other regulatory issues, also largely resolved.

Martin said he also has a customer interested in the second parcel – a long strip along Oriole Parkway — though the details aren’t in place just yet.

Parcel three, fronting on Howard Avenue, was to be the site of a new building for Rigarus Construction, but the company opted for a spot on Donway Court in the new industrial subdivision at the south end of town.

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