Plan for County Road 91, seriously flawed
Finally, a hearing date of Feb. 24, has been set for a pre-conference hearing to jointly hear both the Clearview Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP) amendment, required if the reconstruction of Clearview Sideroad 26/27 is to go forward, and Clearview Road 91, formerly Simcoe Country Road 91, to be closed and transferred to Walker’s Industry Ltd.
The Blue Mountain Watershed Trust wrote to The Creemore Echo on Dec. 1, 2018 with respect to our concerns on what Clearview is planning to do and we feel this update would be of interest to your readers.
Clearview made their first application to the Niagara Escarpment Commission for approval to reconstruct Sideroad 26/27 in January of 2014.
This application was refused by the Niagara Escarpment Commission on Nov. 27, 2015 by a vote of 12-1 and appealed by Clearview. In preparing for the appeal of their development application their consultants discovered additional wetlands within the Sideroad 26/27 requiring an amendment of the NEP to allow construction of the road. The following are the reasons given:
• The road project does not meet the test of “essential” as alternatives were not taken into consideration, a requirement of lands zoned as Escarpment Natural Area and a requirement of amending the Niagara Escarpment Plan required by the discovery of additional wetlands within the road allowance.
• A tunnel under County Road 91 was provided making the case for reconstructing Sideroad 26/27 as “essential” not the case.
• Further development of the road would offend the objectives of the Niagara Escarpment’s two most sensitive land use designations i.e., Escarpment Natural and Escarpment Protection Areas.
• Further development of the road would cause environmental harm to cold-water streams and steep escarpment slopes and the endangered species known to be present.
• This summer Clearview repaved County Road 91.
• The proposed reconstruction of Sideroad 26/27 does not allow commercial vehicles over five tonnes to use it.
• Large farm equipment will need to find alternate routes in moving to fields up or down the escarpment.
• Aggregate suppliers other than Walker will be made less competitive because of the added distance to their customers.
• Reconstruction impacts the environment and endangered species found in and around the Sideroad 26/27 road allowance. This is not the case if County Road 91 is not closed.
• Alternatives need to be studied, there are other viable options available that should be considered if a proper schedule of Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA) had of been followed in the first place. This is the purpose of the MCEA process and would have consulted with the public and addressed the issues in a far more fair, timely and cost-effective manner. It is also a requirement of a NEP amendment.
We submit what Clearview is proposing is seriously flawed and in no way comparable to County Road 91, a major intercounty road that has served the area for over a 100 years.
It only benefits Clearview and Walker Industries Ltd. It ignores the impact on the adjacent municipalities of the Town of The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands and traffic up and down the Bruce Peninsula. It is a questionable transfer of public land to the private sector.
The Blue Mountain Watershed Trust needs the support of your readership in following through with the hearing and to find additional funding to continue this important effort.
Vice Chair Watershed Action Group
Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation.