OMB upholds Amaranth Council’s rejection of wakeboard project

July 9, 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Tom Claridge – The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has upheld Amaranth Council’s refusal to amend its zoning bylaw to permit the use of a former water-skiing site for a wakeboard facility.

The site on 20 Sideroad includes a man-made 5.6-hectare lake that the owner, Brennan Grange, already uses personally for both water-skiing and wakeboarding.

In a 23-page decision that followed hearings held in May, OMB member Helen Jackson found that the proposed redevelopment “is not consistent with the 2005 PPS [Provincial Policy Statement] does not conform to the Growth Plan, and does not conform to the official plan policies of the Township of Amaranth.”

She added that since the zoning application being appealed did not conform to the official plan policies, their consistency with the 2014 provincial policy statement “need not be considered.”

The appellants, Mr. Grange and the proposed Bayou Cable Park, had asked the council to rezone the western portion of the property, containing the lake, from Rural to Recreational, and to sever it from an eastern portion containing the Grange home and an accessory building.

The hearings were told the appellant began consulting with the township’s planner, Christine Gervais, in August of 2010 and submitted the rezoning application two months later. Acting on the planner’s recommendation, Council’s rejected the application on July 18, 2012, setting the stage for the OMB hearings.

The council’s action was supported by a group of local residents, the Amaranth Alliance for Rural Preservation (AARP), which was granted party status and whose witnesses said the proposed project would destroy the area’s rural character.

“AARP members and the participants spoke consistently about the quiet, tranquil and private life that they value and that they have achieved in the rural and agricultural setting of the township,” Ms. Jackson wrote. “Some of those who testified said that they sought out this area especially for these qualities.”

She added that the residents were specifically concerned about the noise the proposed facility would create. “They state that in a rural setting such as theirs, the ambient noise is so low that any additional noise would be clearly heard. Some testified that the previous use of the lake for water-skiing competitions was noisy, but generally tolerable since it did not occur often.”

The hearing was told that while the site had been used for water-skiing competitions, they took place only intermittently, and the proposal called for the wakeboarding to operate daily from Tuesday to Saturday between May and October and be open to all ages. The facility was to have permanent parking lots for up to 40 cars plus an overflow area with space for another 252 cars.

The hearing was advised that the appellant had not made any final decision on the type of PA system that would be used, and in her testimony, Ms. Gervais described the rezoning application as premature, since issues related to noise remained to be resolved.

Ms. Jackson agreed, finding “that the proposal is premature, as the noise issue has not been fully delineated.”

Orangeville lawyer David Thwaites, who represented AARP at the nine-day hearing, said his clients “are obviously pleased with the decision, as am I.”

Noting that the decision made no mention of any potential award of costs, he said that while the township and AARP could apply for such an award, they are generally difficult to obtain from the OMB.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.