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Yes, Pointe Estates is back on the table

Tuesday, December 13, 2011   by: Brad Coccimiglio

The Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority has re-opened a doorway to development of the controversial Pointe Estates.

At a meeting late Tuesday afternoon the Conservation Authority decided to allow developers to go forward with a hydro-geological study provided the study adhears to Ontario Ministry of the Environment guidelines. 

Jeffrey Avery, manager of Avery Construction and one of the primary proponents of the Pointe Estates proposed development, was not in attendance on Tuesday night but is a contact point for the Conservation Authority.

The proposed Pointe Estates development would be built in two phases and include 91 rural estate lots and would destroy more than 150 acres of wetland on the shore of the St. Mary's River.

It would be built on land bordered by Pointe Aux Pins Drive, Dagleish Road, the St. Mary's River, Alagash Drive and Pointe Louise Drive.

Neighbours in the area have vigorously opposed the development based on numerous concerns since the potential development first came to light in 2007.

Some of the concerns include:

  • Possible loss of what appears to be one of only 11 wetlands that border on the Great Lakes.
  • How construction of a dead-end canal almost a quarter-mile long will effect the water table and water quality in the area.
  • Impacts of the development on area flora and fauna through removal of habitat.
  • Social impact and emergency vehicle access due to the road closure and bridge removal. (Residents will have to drive around the canal.)
  • Social and environmental impacts of increased marine traffic including jet skis and other loud, fast recreational water craft.
  • Pollution from both construction of Pointe Estate and residents living in it after it is complete.

At its meeting on Tuesday, Conservation Authority members discussed neighbours' concerns, focusing mainly on water quality issues.

Conservation Authority member Frank Manzo also brought up the issue of the authority's responsibility to protect wetlands.

He reminded authority members of the passing of a regulation in 2005 that protects wetlands, meaning the land cannot be built on, and of a board resolution that was seconded at the time by current Chair Ken Lamming.

Lamming said the area is classified as a ‘minor wetland’.

The area doesn’t not meet some of the criteria for provincial designation as a significant wetland, he said.

This means some development can be allowed on it under some circumstances, said Lamming. 

Last Friday, Avery submitted an outline for a proposed well yield analysis program. 

One of the reasons the conservation authority denied approval to develop Pointe Estates some time ago is because the initial proposal from Avery did not sufficiently answer some concerns that were raised, one of which was water quality and another was well service in the area.

The proposal to complete a hydrogeological study approved on Tuesday would give Pointe Estate developers an opportunity to address these two concerns.

The study proposed by developers would have seen three wells but the authority granted a conditional approval to conduct the test which stipulates the test conform to ministry standards.

According to ministry guidelines, a hyrdrogeological study would need up to six wells to be used for analysis.

The conservation authority is planning to contact Avery regarding the development with some new requests, specifically to increase the previous proposal to meet ministry guidelines in order to perform the hydrogeological study in the area.

Initially, the development was thought to be a no-go, but the Conservation Authority has again decided to entertain the possibility of allowing further study of the wetland under its protection which could lead to the development going ahead.

Earlier SooToday.com coverage of this event

Big development conceived for Pointe Des Chenes area
More about the proposed Pointe Louise canal
Residents swarm meeting about Point Louise project
Pointe Louise development still under consideration
Wetland dreams: Pointe Louise neighbours unconvinced
Will Pointe Estates be reincarnated?

 

Comments
7
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Grace 12/14/2011 9:13:28 AM Report

I guess NO doesn't mean NO!
If at first you don't succede keep pushing until a board member resigns!
Then NO public reason why!
Too many questions with very little answers!
benz1 12/14/2011 9:56:41 AM Report

Sad. Money supersedes again.
PPA 12/14/2011 12:19:11 PM Report

For a better understanding of the effects of this proposed development please visit : http://pointesprotection.org
View some of the local wildlife and read the Conservation Authority Staff Report
Grace 12/15/2011 5:50:05 AM Report

Thanks Very informative!
Good to see that the neighbourhood PPA ratepayers association is there to enlighten and inform the taxpayers!
Great job people!
Keep up the excellent work!
Saultbie22 12/15/2011 12:10:07 PM Report

I am excited to see where this goes. I'll buy a lot. It's a beautiful area with lots of potential for people who are going to boost the sault's economy to call home.

The wetland issue is a moot point. I'm quite certain all of the 'Pointe' was a wetland at one time. In fact, a big supporter of the 'protection association' can be quoted from a previous article saying "They found evidence of it when they were putting in the roads," said [Peter] Gagnon. "This whole area used to be wetland." Another fact, is that his mother-in-law owned the first home to be built on the land. And who now lives in that home? Peter Gagnon.

'Hypocrite' is the best term for the opposition of this development. At some point, their homes were 'developed' as well. And who knows who WOULDN'T be in Sault Ste. Marie if the existing Pointe homes were not built. The City would not have the tax dollars from those homes that it does, and the Sault would be without at least a few professional individuals.

So open your eyes, and realize that the Sault needs and deserves a beautiful neighbourhood like this. It is a good source of revenue for our City, and it's a competitive edge to attract professionals back to the Sault. It is a good thing, and Sault Ste. Marie needs to keep moving forward.
bubba2006 12/17/2012 10:33:36 AM Report

The area is a wetland,everything els is a mute piont. The CA has a mandate to follow that was given to them by the federal and provincial government. The people entrusted with this mandate hold public trust which must not be inderminded by promised contracts,or office administrative contracts, nor should and cousine of the developer thenselves show favourtism to the developer. All would be considered CONFLICT OF INTEREST!!! HMMMMMMMMMMMMM...
Avert would like to wash himself from ALL LIABILITY around the project maintenance of dredging, water flow, (to which it is now and always has been a pseudo stagnant canal), well contamination and construction of new wells not IF but WHEN the project fails. There are reasons why both the U.S. marine cor, the Environmental protection ajency and every other scientific body around the free world has stopped such dead end canal projects,THEY DO NOT WORK. As far as tax revenue, sale of a home in the city and purchase of a home on a moat-soon-to-be-ses-pooldoes not end in a net increase in taxes, just a change of address. Goes to show you of the thought some folks think in when they give this failed plan the thumbs up.
bubba2006 12/17/2012 1:32:17 PM Report

SAULTBIE, wow, your views around increased taxes are as expected... I am sure people will come from far and wide to build on a dead end moat, full of stagnant utrified water, rendering it lifeless (aside from the blue-green algea which is itself toxic to the liver and kidneys on vertebrates, ) Water quality alone will stop this project, that is if the bord and/or council is not, shall we say "convinced" otherwise. With fellow contractors and cousins sitting on the bord of the CA. The creadibility of the entire process leaves MUCH TO BE DESIRED...
Comments
7
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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