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Council hears concerns about increased development

November 22, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Orangeville Council heard concerns about the increasing rate of development happening within the town, during a regular meeting held last Monday (Nov. 8).

Local resident of 10 years, Jeanette-Marie Palermino said she seen a dramatic change of landscape since moving to Orangeville.

“I’ve been discouraged to see multiple public notices for development near the intersection of County Road 16 and Highway 9. To see further deforestation and construction is upsetting,” she remarked.

“The dramatic urbanization of this one’s quaint town has potentially serious public health risks.”

While focusing efforts on mitigating the impacts of COVID-19, Ms. Palermino argues that the town fails to heed warnings of conservation scientists on habitat fragmentation and deforestation being a precursor for more frequent pandemic.

“For years conservationists have been unable to captivate policymakers’ attention regarding the protection of natural habitats, and old forest growth,” she noted. “However, increasingly, research is linking the destruction of natural habitats and deforestation as selecting for more adaptable species, which are more likely to transmit diseases to humans.”

Ms. Palermino, who’s also a small animal veterinarian, said she’s heard from many fellow residents’ who are concerned about the exponential growth of ticks they’re finding on their pets as of late, whereas five to 10 years ago, this was hardly a worry at all.

Mayor Sandy Brown responded to Ms. Palermino’s concerns by noting that balancing development with protecting natural habitats is a very complex problem.

“Almost every piece of vacant land other than the parkland that the town owns, is owned by developers,” he said. “They do have property rights, and they will exercise them at some point in the life of that land.”

Mayor Brown added that the Town’s planning department tries to mitigate the impact of development and conservation authorities do have jurisdiction over many valley lands, wetlands, and waterways within the municipality, which are protected from development.

“We’re surrounded by Greenbelt, which is a good thing, so we’re prevented from growing to a certain extent. But with the land inside Orangeville, it’s hard to stop that from being developed,” he noted.

“We’re fortunate here, that our water and sewer capacity is limited. Some of these other municipalities like Newmarket and Milton… they have unlimited supply of sewer and water capacity, and that is causing the unlimited growth that we’ve seen in those municipalities.”

The growth in Orangeville has been “tepid”, in comparison to nearby towns, according to Mayor Brown.

“We appreciate what you’re saying [Ms. Palermino], but it’s a very complex problem,” he noted. “I think all of us on this council want to maintain our public spaces and our forest, but when you’re inside the roughly 15 square kilometers of the Town of Orangeville, it’s going to be very difficult to stop development.”

Coun. Todd Taylor weighed in following Mayor Brown’s comments, noting that Ms. Palermino’s concerns are valid and he agrees that some of the developments coming into Orangeville are too dense for the small town.

“I offer no criticism of the neighbours to our south, but we’re not Mississauga, we’re not Brampton, we’re trying to offer a different experience here,” he reasoned.

Being in some of the planning meetings for incoming developments, Coun. Taylor said it can be quite frustrating, realizing that Council doesn’t have the level of influence he’d like it to have for what gets built.

He thanked Ms. Palmerino for bringing her concerns forward and Council then moved on to the next presentation on their agenda.

The next Orangeville Council meeting is scheduled for Nov. 22.



         


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