Potential new subdivision draws criticism and questions

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A local resident is raising questions about a plan for a potential new subdivision in Ormond, particularly because she believes the developer is aiming to deceive those who already live in the area. Evelyne Giroux and many of the other Ormond residents have concerns about two seemingly contradictory diagrams of the same location. One is a land severance request made to the United Counties of SD&G, which appears to show a plan for two houses to be built on Rodney Lane. The other is a diagram showing plans for a 64-home subdivision – published by a Kemptville Engineering Consultant firm – on the same location where the request to sever the two lots is being made. 

Evelyne notes that the land in question – currently zoned as agricultural land – was farmed into a “beautiful crop” last summer. She and others are concerned about the potential loss of valuable farmland. Evelyne contends that the two lots shown in the application made to the United Counties of SD&G will be used to build model homes for the development project of 64 houses. 

“I am wholly opposed to the rezoning of prime agricultural land for the purpose of development,” said Evelyne. She notes that SD&G has been fighting to preserve farmland, raising questions about the efficacy of such a large development going ahead when it will be put right over top of existing, high quality agricultural land. She notes that the land was clear cut and fitted with tile drainage just two years ago.  

“The land on Rodney Lane is not selling. There is no growth in Ormond. There is no need of 64 houses,” Evelyne adds. She is also concerned about water issues, since 64 new houses would mean 64 private wells drawing from potentially the same aquifer or aquifers already being used by the existing Ormond residents. “Residents of Ormond are already running out of water from our wells,” she said. “It shouldn’t be built back-to-back on our property. Why are we becoming part of this subdivision when there is a lot of other land that could be used for that?”

Mayor Tony Fraser, who also serves as Warden for the upper tier Council of the United Counties of SD&G, agreed that “there are gaps that need to be filled in” in the existing planning. Councillor Matthew Uhrig provided a similar comment, pointing out that the plans are still very new.   

Peter Young, Director of Planning and Economic Development Services for the United Counties of SD&G, provided the following statement regarding the proposed project:

“SDG Counties received severance applications to create two new lots on Rodney Lane in Ormond within the Township of North Dundas. Currently, the south part of the property (about 34 acres) is within the rural settlement area (hamlet) of Ormond. The Provincial Policy Statement states that ‘Rural settlement areas shall be the focus of growth and development and their vitality and regeneration shall be promoted.’ Subdivisions are permitted in rural settlement areas such as Ormond, subject to submitting required studies and meeting agency requirements. The southern portion of the property has been within the settlement area boundaries of Ormond since at least the 1993 Township of Winchester Official Plan, and was also included in the 2006 and 2018 SDG Official Plans. We have not received a subdivision application at this time. We required a concept plan of the entire property to confirm that the proposed severances would not preclude future development, but the concept plan has no approval status. Any future subdivision application would require a hydrogeological study and terrain analysis to review the impact of new wells and septic systems on neighbouring properties, along with stormwater management and other technical studies. We have received comments from Township staff, South Nation Conservation Authority and members of the public and are considering those comments and materials in making a decision on the two severances.”

Evelyne and similarly concerned neighbours are not going down without a fight. “Ormond is a historic corner with a unique heritage that the Township should be protecting,” said Evelyne. “There is a centennial house that was once a school and a general store. Ormond could be like Merrickville, with its unique atmosphere and heritage. Adding a residential project will destroy the rural farming community heritage of Ormond and turn it into a busy suburban neighborhood.”

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