Clearview enters into TD land talks
At this stage in the TD bank land redevelopment, Creemore Community Foundation (CCF) co-founder Stuart Lazier asked Clearview council for its support.
The Foundation has moved into the design phase of a new “village green” having decided to proceed with plans to demolish the bank, which closed last May.
The TD Lands Community Consultation Committee (TLC), as its final act before dissolution, presented to council its findings from the public input process.
Chair Sara Hershoff said the committee was committed to finding consensus but an agreement was not reached on whether or not the building should be torn down, with the community seeing value in both the commercial property and the prospect of community space.
“We could see all the perspectives,” said Hershoff. “They were all out in the community.”
The committee, knowing the Foundation was intent upon developing a village green, did find consensus on the specific supporting measures contained in its final recommendation: TLC recommends supporting measures to enhance commercial and cultural vitality through programming and community engagement for the CCF to implement in order to create and ensure the long-term viability of a public, active, green space.
They are commercial vitality, long-term viability, place making, and ensuring success, ie: provide programming, hiring a community program coordinator, work with partners, funding, signage, make it a four-season space, and celebrate and strengthen the impact of the Creemore Horticultural Society among other things.
“It is time for our community to bring this vision to life. It is now in the hands of the next committee,” said Hershoff.
Lazier thanked the committee for its thorough work.
He said this is a one-time opportunity to make a transformational change with the construction of a village green.
Saying you can never get 100 per cent support, “I think we have very strong support behind us” and asked for council’s support.
They will apply for a demolition permit and transfer the TD property to the Foundation during the construction phase, before turning it over to the municipality.
Councillor Thom Paterson made a motion to make official the partnership that is forming with the municipality and asked that staff draft a partnership agreement with the Foundation.
Paterson’s motion reads:
Whereas the Creemore Community Foundation is prepared to undertake the redevelopment of the former TD Bank property with the understanding that the current adjacent municipal lands occupied by the Horticultural Gardens and the Station on the Green would be included in the design of a multifunctional, multigenerational, four seasons village green;
And whereas it is the intention of the Foundation that upon the completion of the project, the public and private lands be consolidated as Clearview Township property;
Be it resolved, That the Council of Clearview Township direct Staff to work with the Creemore Village Green Project Team to prepare a redevelopment plan;
And further, that a draft partnership agreement be created for Council’s review and approval that outlines the requirements and responsibilities of each party to successfully execute the objectives of the project including the ongoing maintenance and activation of the village green;
And further that Council and the public be kept informed and consulted as the project moves forward;
Deputy Mayor Barry Burton was the only council member to oppose.
He didn’t say anything during the meeting but afterwards, he told The Echo that he has walked the street in Creemore and has talked to several store owners who are opposing it.
“I think it’s a mistake,” said Burton. “Tearing down a perfectly good commercial building on the main street isn’t going to help.”
“Finding a replacement financial institution is more important than creating more park space,” he said, adding that he has spoken to TD officials and there is no certainty that another bank or credit union couldn’t move in.
He said the presence of a financial institution scores a community points when seniors’ and affordable housing is being considered, which has become a main focus of the community. The imminent growth of the village by 500 homes should also be a consideration.
“If I thought the community really wanted [the bank demolished] I would support it,” said Burton. “The community is too divided on this and the other options haven’t been explored.”
Burton said he is continuing his efforts to gauge the community and explore those options. He said he is concerned about the loss of commercial tax revenue, which would ultimately be absorbed by the rest of the tax base.