Friday, March 5, 2021

Staff recommends moving forward with a secondary plan for Wallaceburg’s southside

Municipality of Chatham-Kent staff is recommending that a request for proposals be issued for a secondary plan for the southside of Wallaceburg.

Council is set to vote on the recommendation at their upcoming electronic meeting, scheduled for Monday, October 19, 2020.

“There is demand from developers and community groups to pursue a secondary plan for the southside neighbourhood in Wallaceburg,” said Ryan Jacques, manager of planning services, in a staff report.

“Chatham-Kent owns several properties in (this) southside neighbourhood that are not providing noticeable public benefit or generating property tax revenue.”

Jacques added: “A secondary plan will promote new land uses in the area. These uses are not predetermined. However, based on years of discussion it is reasonable to assume these uses could include new residential uses, including apartments and affordable housing, commercial space for businesses, improved public access to the Sydenham River and space for public gathering.”

Jacques said a secondary plan will “encourage incremental and organic transition” of new land uses over time.

“Through the reinvestment in the neighbourhood by an array of stakeholders from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors,” Jacques said in his report.

“This change will lead to the revitalization of the neighbourhood. Neighbourhood revitalization will benefit adjacent neighbourhoods and the entire community.”

Jacques said the proposed area to be included in the secondary plan for the southside of Wallaceburg includes lands south of the Sydenham River, west of Murray Street, north of the railway corridor, and east of Herbert Street, and lands south of King Street and east of Minnie Street.

See the map below:

Municipality of Chatham-Kent

Jacques added in his report that the outcomes of the secondary plan will align with community needs and Council’s strategic priorities.

“The current land use plan for the neighbourhood located in downtown Wallaceburg on the south side of the Sydenham River does not provide for the future growth and prosperity of Chatham-Kent,” Jacques said.

“The current plan represents historical development patterns of a bygone era.”

Jacques said a secondary plan is a “land use plan” for a particular area of a municipality that is prepared as an amendment to an official plan.

“Typically, a secondary plan provides detailed policies for the area it covers,” he said.

“Adopting a secondary plan into the official plan is the responsibility of a municipality. A secondary plan happens through a deliberate, collaborative, and transparent public process. This process provides for people to participate through the various milestones from learning and visioning, identification of alternatives, and evaluation of a preferred outcome.”

Jacques said over the past seven decades or so, there has been a general decline in the industrial, commercial and institutional presence in the Wallaceburg southside neighbourhood.

“It is clear that this neighbourhood is no longer functioning as it has in the past,” he said.

“Without intervention, there is little prospect for redevelopment here in the future.”

The idea for a secondary plan on Wallaceburg’s southside is not a brand new concept, Jacques noted in his report.

He said the work completed by the Wallaceburg Community Task Force from 2007 to 2010, including an Urban Design Charette with planning students from Fanshawe College, which focused on the southside neighbourhood in Wallaceburg, “should inform the secondary plan.”

Jacques said the Wallaceburg Community Task Force also created a ‘Wallaceburg Vision 2020′ community strategic plan during that time.

“This document should be considered in the creation of the secondary plan,” Jacques added.

“(The Wallaceburg Vision 2020 project) was a great exercise to gain the views of the citizens and allow the community to provide direction to the Wallaceburg Community Task Force and other stakeholders.”

Jacques said the work on the secondary plan would be funded from planning services’ base budget for special projects and it is anticipated that the scope of work can be completed in the range of $50,000 to $75,000.

“A request for Proposals can be issued in 2020 and it is anticipated that consultant selection and project start-up would occur in early 2021 with a final plan to be considered by Council by end of summer 2021,” Jacques said.

He added that the scope of work should be outsourced, as planning services does not have the required staff to take on a project of this scale and a professional planning office can provide expertise in public consultation and urban design, specifically with waterfront and public realm considerations in mind.

“Chatham-Kent staff will be involved throughout the process,” Jacques said.

Several secondary plans have been prepared in the past throughout Chatham-Kent and form part of the official plan, Jacques added in his report.

Council is receiving the report on Monday, after a motion by Wallaceburg Councillor Aaron Hall was approved as part of the consent agenda during the electronic meeting held on Monday, September 21, 2020. Read more background on this story, here and here.

To read Jacques’ full report, click here.

Monday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m.

It will be LIVE streamed, here.

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