Improvements to Snyder’s Flats Road, parking lot likely tied to plans for Bloomingdale subdivision

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If it’s all or nothing, then nothing may be the best bet when it comes to paving a portion of Snyder’s Flats Road in Bloomingdale – at least for now – as Woolwich council ponders the priorities.

A decision has been put off until at least June 19.

In response to Coun. Larry Shantz’s regular requests to pave the parking lot at the Bloomingdale Community Centre, engineering staff has suggested doing that as part of a $1.3-million upgrade to a 400-metre stretch of the roadway running off of Sawmill Road. The upgrades have been on the books as part of a long-discussed subdivision planned for a site across from the community park.

The proposal, which would see the township pay most of the costs up front before eventually recouping some from the developer, met with mixed reviews from councillors meeting last week. The hesitation increased when staff noted that advancing the Bloomingdale project would mean postponing plans for improving High and George streets in Elmira.

Noting that Shantz was concerned largely with dust, Coun. Patrick Merlihan suggested that wasn’t a pressing enough issue to rush the entire project, especially as the township has stepped up dust-suppressant measures in the area.

“Maybe we just sit on this another year and see what happens,” he said.

Although Shantz has been pushing to pave the parking lot, scaling back a playground project to find the funds, director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley argued it made sense to do the entire project in one fell swoop, including the installation of storm sewers and paving the road.

“That’s definitely our recommendation – do it as one big project,” he said in a later interview. “Don’t piecemeal this one.”

Shortly after the May 31 council meeting, the adjacent landowner submitted an application to develop seven residential properties and a commercial lot on 13.3 acres across from the community centre.

In that light, Shantz said later in the week that he’s content to wait while the development application goes through its paces.

“I’m willing to wait … as long as it’s on the books and is going to be done,” he said, noting that his simple suggestion to take “dollars for dollars” to do the parking lot instead of the playground had grown beyond his initial ask.

In the meantime, he’s happy with the application of dust suppressant, rolling and packing.

“That’s what I’m hoping for – something to keep the dust down.”

Given that moving up the Bloomingdale project would mean taking funds from other projects – and perhaps borrowing more to pay some developer costs upfront – Shantz said he would prefer to avoid that scenario.

“I’m not in favour of making someone else wait because of that,” he said of deferring needed improvements to High and George streets.

The new subdivision proposed for Bloomingdale currently calls for seven residential lots, ranging in size from 1.63 to 1.85 acres, and a commercial property on some three acres. The new homes would be on septic systems and served by private wells. Municipal storm sewers would be installed, however, and would serve to drain runoff from a newly paved parking lot at the community centre.

The developer is seeking official plan and zoning changes to permit the project to go ahead. Kennaley said he expects that process to take some six months.