Anticipating questions that people haven’t been asking yet, this week John Reid provides some more answers.

You can also find these and other questions collected on the Answers page.

1) Can the 350 acres be subdivided under the current zoning?

The property is already subdivided into five larger parcels, and has zoning for further subdivision into 10-acre lots or 5-acre lots. About 50 acres are in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), which would be difficult to subdivide.
Grafton-Lake-Lands_Fig-11_Rel-to-Snug-Cove-860px

2) How many lots can be created by subdividing under the existing zoning?

Approximately 30.

3) What does the Official Community Plan (OCP) allow for?

Approximately 70 units.

4) How many units will be in your proposal?

Approximately 100.

5) Why can’t you keep density at the OCP numbers like you have before?

To date, most of my developments have managed to keep the density numbers in line with the OCP. This has been because of the high-value oceanview properties that we were able to sell.

At Grafton Lake, the lands that we propose to develop are inland properties and do not carry the premium of an ocean view. Trying to achieve higher prices on larger lots simply could not compete with other locations on the island. We need to create a different product to sell.

Also the community is looking for affordability. To achieve this we have to lower our infrastructure costs by making the lots smaller. Secondly, we need to build smaller homes to keep construction costs down. Clustered neighbourhoods surrounded by large natural areas and a rural agricultural theme will be a very attractive product, but it will require a few more homes to make it work financially for the owners.

6) Will you be building any rental properties?

I think there is a place for rental cottages close to the agricultural lands, but I want to hear more from the community on this.

7) Will there be attached housing, multifamily housing?

I am not sure at this time, I think you loose the rural feel to the development when you move towards attached housing.

8) Where will the water come from?

There are a couple options here: one would be to use the lake as the water source, and the other is to develop a ground water system like many other areas of the island that rely on wells. I am aware that the lake is not just a reservoir but also a functioning ecosystem, and we would like to keep it that way. We are beginning discussions with the municipal staff to determine what would work best. We are proposing a site for the Cove Bay water treatment plant up by the lake if the Municipality decides they want it as an alternative to sites they have chosen in the Snug Cove area.

9) What about sewage disposal?

We will have common septic fields serving up to sixteen homes at a time. This will ensure fewer of them, and that we can take advantage of the best sites available. A similar approach has been used at King Edward Bay and Belterra.

10) Where do you think Cape Roger Curtis (CRC) went wrong, and what are you going to do that makes sure that does not happen again?

At Cape Roger Curtis, the single most important lesson I learned is to explain the density expectations early in the public consultation process. This did not happen at CRC. That process went on for a very long time before the numbers first came out, and when they did everyone was shocked by the magnitude of them. If I learned anything from watching that process it would be to get the density numbers out early so no one gets surprised later. That is why I am giving rough numbers today, and this will allow our process to move forward without the “elephant in the room”.

11) Won’t putting in trails and doing a development nearby increase activity around the lake?

Yes, there is no doubt that more people would be living nearby and that they would use the trails. Our proposal would protect the entire area around the lake and give the Municipality greater control over those lands. Decisions around how the trails should be used and where they are located, or whether there should be any public access to the lake and other environmentally sensitive areas, are decisions the community will have to make. We will not be the decision maker here; we’ll turn over the land to the Municipality and they will decide how it is to be used. Our proposal is to change the zoning to protect the lake and its surroundings and then give the municipality control of the lands.

12) Why doesn’t Council just outright ban development around the lake?

The land around the lake is zoned for residential large lots. If the Municipality wanted to expropriate the land, there are ways for them to do so. However this would require compensation to the land owner for the loss, which would require tax payers’ money. Again, as we have mentioned previously, there is also the option of a conservation buyer stepping forward.

13) I understand Primex, the owners of the Grafton lake properties, also own the three parcels currently used as a parking lot beside the General Store in the Cove. Will they be included in your proposal?

No.

14) What happens if Council says no to your proposal?

The five parcels go back up for sale. They could be bought separately or as a whole. If they are sold separately any chance for a comprehensive development would most likely be lost.

15) What is the biggest risk you see to this proposal going ahead?

There are many risks to development, but it usually comes down to money. The owners and I will not proceed if there is not a sufficient financial return. I am hopeful we can come up with a plan that benefits both the developer and the community.

It would be nice to get this one right.