Creemore Village Green project gets green light
Clearview council voted Monday to approve the Creemore Village Green project.
The township’s General Manager of Parks, Culture and Recreation Terry Vachon said staff has been working with members of Creemore Community Foundation for five months to work out the details.
“I think we’ve landed on something pretty concrete,” Vachon told council on Oct. 7.
With approval, the township has entered into construction and management agreements with the Creemore Community Foundation, with respect to the TD Bank land, the Creemore Horticultural Park, and part of the Station on the Green lands.
Council agreed to receive ownership and title of the property from the Creemore Community Foundation “upon substantial completion of the construction.”
There were councillors planted firmly on each side of the issue, while others were waffling in the middle, still wondering about other possible uses for the building and how the financing would work.
Councillor Thom Paterson enthused about the public input process and thanked everyone for all of their hard work. He said the community had an interest in having more than a park, and as a result the Foundation committed to hiring a programmer and maintenance person at a cost of $50,000 per year.
Councillor Ed Christie said he too thought the process has been very fair.
“It’s very easy for me to give my full support,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Barry Burton said he would be representing those who are opposed to the project. He reiterated that the Parks Recreation and Culture Master Plan says the township doesn’t need more parkland, that the Station on the Green board has not endorsed it, and that it removes accessible parking.
“I feel there are other uses for the bank,” said Burton. “…As opposed to tearing down a perfectly good building,” adding it is the most accessible building in Creemore.
“I feel it is my responsibility to represent the people who are opposed. I don’t feel the whole community is behind the project,” he said.
Councillor John Lamers was also a no vote. He had asked Foundation co-founder Stuart Lazier about interest in the bank as a commercial use.
“I can’t say there isn’t a market for it,” said Lazier. “The benefits of creating a Village Green will far outweigh the value of the building, especially with the activation component suggested through the [consultation process].”
Councillors Connie Leishman and Doug McKechnie both said they have come around on the project and could support the project.
“We have already dealt with the fact that the building would be disposed of,” said McKechie. “I think the ship has sailed on the Village Green.”
Leishman said, as a business owner, it took her a while to get to a place where she could support removing a commercial building.
“There is no question this has divided the community,” she said… “I’ve heard from both sides and I kept my mind open as long as I could. I look to the young people in the community, they are my barometre.”
Councillor John Broderick was also in the middle but ended up on the yes side, asking staff to ensure the Foundation’s financial commitment could be met.
CAO Steve Sage said staff has done all it could to ensure the funds are in place and will be available to complete the project.
He also said there wasn’t anymore time to wait because the Foundation required approval at the Oct. 7 meeting so the transfer of property could be finalized by the end of October.