Central Huron approves amendment for Bluestone Wake Park
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
After a few months of discussion, Bluestone Wake Park in Central Huron has been given the green light to open this summer.
Central Huron Council made the decision at its strategic planning meeting, held Monday night in Clinton. Council deferred the issue at its May 2 meeting, asking for a report from municipal staff to be presented at the Monday night meeting, in the hopes of allowing the park to begin planning for the summer ahead.
Council’s decision flew in the face of the recommendation of planner Nathan Garland of the Huron County Planning and Development Department. Garland had recommended deferral on May 2 and then returned on Monday night with a recommendation of denial.
The temporary bylaw amendment would be in place for a requested three years and would allow the wake park to operate adjacent to Teeswater Aggregates. The two properties would also share a body of water.
“The county is recommending the application be denied as the information (studies and mitigation) to support the use in the location shown has not been provided,” Garland stated in his report to council.
“Concerns expressed by staff and the need for the required studies relate both to the potential impacts of the wake park operation on the aggregate operations and the potential aggregate processing impacts on the wake park operation and the guests in attendance,” Garland continued. “The aggregate operations are currently in place and operating with significant resources still available. The licences through the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry allow for the unrestricted hours of extraction and operation on site as per the required health and safety measures and licence conditions. Therefore, in the absence of any formal agreements, the potential for concurrent uses exists.
“Staff would comment that a much more robust buoy system along the property line (in the water body) is now proposed, which is more typical of an adjacent recreational use to industrial operation you would see around dams.”
In her report to council, Clerk Kerri Ann O’Rourke said that the site plan and development agreement proposed had been reviewed by the municipality’s legal team. However, she said that the hours of operation would still have to be determined and potentially amended, subject to the completion of several studies and mitigation, as well as the lifting of the holding zone.
In addition, Bluestone owner Andy Oke presented a signed and notarized document to the municipality stating that, if at any time, the operations of Teeswater Aggregates were negatively affected in any way by the wake park, the wake park would cease operation until a resolution between the two parties could be reached.
While the document had not yet been signed or agreed upon by a representative of Teeswater Aggregates, councillors said they were comfortable with the level of effort put forward by Oke and his team.
Deputy-Mayor Dave Jewitt spoke to the report from staff, saying he was prepared to support the temporary bylaw amendment, which was contrary to the recommendation of Garland.
He did suggest putting the amendment in place for one year, rather than the recommended three. However, O’Rourke said the applicant had asked for three years, so that was why she kept it that way in her report.
Jewitt suggested that perhaps the next council could look favorably upon a renewal in one year’s time, waiving any associated costs. However, the recommendation remained that the amendment be in place for three years.
O’Rourke also stated that the holding provisions would be in place for 90 days, but could be lifted earlier if the studies and mitigation measures were completed sooner.
Council then passed a number of bylaws with little discussion allowing the wake park to move ahead.