September 19, 2023

Wellington Federation of Agriculture urges Erin council to protect farmland in future

The Federation was the sole delegate at the public meeting for the proposed development of 332 residential units in Hillsburgh

ERIN – The Wellington Federation of Agriculture is urging Erin Council to think twice before rezoning prime farmland for future development.

Janet Harrop, president of WFA, was the only person from the public who spoke at last week’s public meeting for Hillsburgh Heights Inc’s draft plan proposal to build 332 residential units in Hillsburgh. The proponent requires official plan and zoning by-law amendments before the plan can proceed.

No decision was made at the meeting.

Harrop, noting that growing up is as important as growing up, said she was at the meeting to advocate for farmland that could be considered for development down the road.

Hillsburgh Heights Inc. plans to build 332 residential units and provide land for a possible future school and park just west of Trafalgar Road and north of Upper Canada Drive in Hillsburgh.

Of the 332 residential units, 284 will be single family homes and 48 will be townhouses on the street.

Harrop stressed the importance of preserving farmland in Wellington County, as land in the county is some of the most fertile and productive land in Ontario.

“While we realize this parcel of land has been identified as a future development and is within current urban boundaries, we just want to introduce ourselves and talk about farmland in the future,” Harrop said on Zoom. during a meeting.

“I really believe that we are currently in a position, as part of our comprehensive review, to review properties such as those under development and to consider future applications for the use of this agricultural land under the ‘urban expansion and recognize the importance of agricultural land.’

Harrop noted that some of the proposed plan’s frontage on land that is currently in agricultural areas is excessive, when that land can be used more for agriculture.

“The town of Erin has both primary and secondary farmland and the secondary farmland is still very suitable for various agricultural uses such as grazing. We want to emphasize the need to pause and consider rezoning farmland in your future priorities,” she said.

“As we move towards recognizing carbon sequestration in the fight against reducing greenhouse gases, agricultural land becomes even more important. We would like to see how it builds more rather than outside.

Mayor Allan Alls explained that when he was at the county planning committee meeting earlier today, a staff report was submitted to the committee stating that very little acreage had been taken from the master farm inventory lately ; the county prioritizes agricultural land as well as residential developments.

Meanwhile, the con. Rob Smith wondered how developers will implement electric vehicle charging stations, as this is one of the requirements of the draft plan and the city’s goal to be greener.

“I see the draft plan is needed to have electric vehicle implementations but I wonder if our building code requires having that not that that’s a bad thing it’s just not specified . We need to make that clear and require it in our building code because that’s where the future is heading and we’re trying to be greener. I want them all to be required to have electric vehicle charging stations, not just a few,” Smith said.

Alls noted that Hydro will be pushing to put electric vehicle charging stations into municipal building codes, so council should see the codes coming.

Regarding the sewage treatment plant, Coun. Michael Robins wondered what the construction schedule for the development as well as the factory was, and whether there was any impact on facilitating the ability of existing households to access the factory since residential developments are far From the factory.

“We have already won the tender for the sewage treatment plant which includes the capacity to serve this development, so it will be built within the next two years. We are preparing to tender for the collection system which includes segments one through four, and segment four will serve Hillsburgh up to Trafalgar Road,” said Director of Infrastructure Services and City Engineer Nick Colucci.

“Thus, this development will be serviced and the developer will be responsible for the external maintenance of the development at the end of this segment. This will be built in the next two years and tendered in one piece. For existing properties in Hillsburgh, we will service existing homes and businesses on Trafalgar Road as we build segment four. Other properties in Hillsburgh will have to deal with this at a later date.