North Huron looks ahead to housing development in Blyth, Wingham in 2021
BY DENNY SCOTT
Reeve Bernie Bailey says 2021 will be a year of residential development for North Huron with the groundwork for several projects being laid in the first two years of the current term of council.
Bailey says the comments in this article are his alone and not necessarily the will of council. He says his number one concern for 2021 is moving forward on residential development and benefitting from previous development.
“We’ve got some amazing numbers as far as residential development in previous years,” Bailey said. “It takes three years for that to impact taxes, but it will help.”
He said that efforts to increase the residential stock available in North Huron are driven by two needs: a lack of housing and high taxes. He proudly stated that, since he and his council had taken over, North Huron’s wards had dropped as far as taxation rank is concerned in the county. While Wingham, East Wawanosh and Blyth were the highest taxed wards in the county, Goderich is now the highest taxed area.
“We’re heading in the right direction,” he said.
As far as specific projects, Bailey said that a local developer had purchased a large agricultural property that abuts several dead-ends on the east end of Blyth and planned to move forward with significant residential development in the area.
He also said that he plans on pushing forward with the municipally-funded Hutton Heights residential development just south of Wingham and encouraging development of the former A2A residential project, also in Wingham.
“We’re eager to go on all of that,” he said.
His second priority for the year is to push for the sale of the Richard W. LeVan Airport and the surrounding farm lands, as he felt that negotiations with Morris-Turnberry Council weren’t proceeding.
The airport, which is owned and operated by North Huron, alongside the surrounding agricultural lands, which total approximately 400 acres, are in Morris-Turnberry, and Bailey has stated he wants the land annexed as part of ongoing cross-border servicing negotiations with Morris-Turnberry Council. “We can’t make a deal,” he said.
Bailey wants to see the airport and the agricultural land put up for sale and use the proceeds to buy and rezone land in East Wawanosh for residential purposes, with a focus on lands bordering Wingham and Blyth.
“Building leads to more tax money for North Huron,” he said. “We need to stop spending in other municipalities.”
Bailey said selling the airport is a hard decision, but it was one that needed to be made.
Working with neighbours is also a priority for Bailey, provided everyone is working towards the same goal.
Other projects will also be directed by council, the Wingham and Blyth Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) and the North Huron Economic Recovery Committee.
Bailey said there are several “big ticket” projects that need to move forward so they can be completed before the next council is elected. Bailey said he didn’t appreciate the unfinished work left for his council and didn’t want to do that to the next council.