Business park could be serviced sooner than later

There is a window of opportunity, says mayor

By Barb McKay

Kincardine’s business park at Highways 9 and 21 is closer to being serviced.

It has been well over a decade since plans first got underway to service the parcels of commercial land and 2013 was the last time the Municipality of Kincardine council took a serious look at a servicing master plan. But last Wednesday, representatives from B.M. Ross and Associates, the firm hired to develop the master plan, were back in front of council with a recommended path forward.

A portion of the business park was developed back in the early 2000s and services were extended from Durham Street to connect to Canadian Tire, Sobeys and Meridian. Boston Pizza, Kincardine Family Dentistry and the Marriott hotel have since moved into that portion of the business park on Millennium Way. Further development came to a halt, however, due to the high cost to service the remainder of the lands. The hope was that developers would front the cost for water and sewer services, but so far the land has remained vacant.

The draft servicing master plan calls for access into the business park by extending Russell Street and extending Durham Street to create an access from Highway 9, where there is a road allowance. According to engineers, there is sufficient capacity with the current municipal water services to extend water lines from Russell Street into the south end of the business park. A booster pumping station may be needed in the future if water pressure is not sufficient. Sewer services should also be extended and would require a new trunk line along Russell Street and upgrades to the Park Street sewage pumping station. Additional stormwater ponds are also included in the plan.

Lisa Courtney of B.M. Ross and Associates said the work could be done in tandem with development.

“One of the benefits of this servicing strategy is that it can be done in phases.”

An environmental assessment process has been undertaken for the lands, as well as a traffic impact study. Courtney said additional archaeological assessments will be required before some of the land can be developed. In all, the entire cost to service the land, including engineering fees, is $11.7 million. That is up from the last cost figure of $10 million presented back in 2013.

“With the final price of all these phases it’s a good thing we have a hospital because it’s a lot of money,” said Councillor Randy Roppel. “This land has been sitting for a long time and I would have hoped that we would have been farther along by now. We need to see if there are opportunities before we move forward.”

Councillor Laura Haight said with a municipal water and sewer services master plan currently in the works there is an opportunity to look at all the municipality’s infrastructure needs and finance it all with a debenture loan over a 20-year period so services would be ready for development. She said the municipality would recover some of its costs from development charges as development occurs.

“It’s something we should put our minds to,” she said.

“I get a lot of feedback that we have a lot of interest in the business park and council needs to look at phase one and be ready,” said Mayor Anne Eadie. “If the infrastructure is there I believe business will come. I think it’s important to get started or we will miss out. We have a window of opportunity.”

B.M. Ross engineer Dale Erb said installing a new sanitary sewer trunk line is likely the top priority and would not likely require any further studies.

“We have development going up the lakeshore and other municipalities are benefitting because they are ready,” said Councillor Maureen Couture.

That is why the municipality should look at the benefits of taking out a large loan and completing all the phases of the project, Haight noted.

Courtney said once the master plan is finalized it will be sent out for review by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority. There will also be an opportunity for public review and feedback. B.M. Ross will then come back to council with the final master plan this summer.