Colin Mann Lunenburg 0

Express Concern about the Bareland Condo Development - Oceans Landing Private Estate

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The following is a letter of concern recently sent to the Registrar of Condominiums (Province of NS) and copied to Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Mayor of the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg); Chasidy Veinotte (Councillor, Municipality of the District of Lunenburg); and Jeff Merrill (Director of Planning and Development Services, MODL) regarding the Proposed Development now named 'Oceans Landing Private Estate' If, as a Resident of Second Peninsula and surrounds, you share the concerns expressed in this letter, please add your name to this petition which will be forwarded in support of the letter. Thank you for your consideration.

Open Letter to the Registrar of Condominiums

Re: Lunenburg County Condominium Corporation Number 42 (the “Proposed Development”)

We are writing to you about concerns the local community has with respect to the application for approval for the Proposed Development.

The primary concern of current residents is that the Proposed Development is totally inconsistent with current land uses on Second Peninsula and the surrounding area. Much of Second Peninsula is currently farmland and woodlots. There are residential homes, but these are generally on larger lots and there is a very low density compared to the Proposed Development. The nature of the Proposed Development is much more consistent with a suburban subdivision which would normally be adjacent to the service boundary of a large urban community or large town. The proposed development has a density that is 2.5 to 3 times that of other residential areas on Second Peninsula. Some reasonable development of lands on Second Peninsula is inevitable and expected, however the Proposed Development is of a density that is likely to irreversibly damage the environment, character and safety of the neighbourhood of Second Peninsula.

The Proposed Development is seeking approval from the Registrar as a bare land condominium. By applying this way, the developer has circumvented the entire system established by the local Municipality for subdivision approval and does not need to comply with any of the rules the Municipality has developed for land subdivision, planning and development. While this is not the first bare land condominium in Lunenburg County, we respectfully submit that the authority of the Registrar’s office to approve bare land condominiums should be used sparingly in light of the fact that local subdivision rules – well established and thought out by locally elected government – are being completely circumvented. We believe that the Registrar should refrain from approving applications for bare land condominiums where the following circumstances are present:

1. The Bare Land Condominium is of substantially higher density from current local and/or adjacent land uses; and

2. The local community is against approval of the Development proposed as a bare land condominium.

Both of these conditions exist with respect to the Proposed Development.

We note that if the Registrar approves the Proposed Development, it is actually taking a positive step to enable the Proposed Development and is actually a primary actor in facilitating the development of the subject lands as proposed by the proponent, actively undermining the intent and purpose of the Subdivision Bylaw in the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg.

In addition to our primary concern, we have several additional specific concerns which we believe need to be fully and properly addressed by the developer.

1. Water. There are 25 lots proposed. The preliminary plan which we have been able to obtain does not show what is intended for providing water to the estimated 50 to 75 additional residents of the Proposed Development. This is a major concern. Our understanding is that a drilled well is a problem on Second Peninsula because there is gypsum underground. We believe the Developer should be required to provide a clear plan of how potable water is to be provided to the residents of the proposed development. If traditional dug wells are proposed, this is a major concern. As we prepare for the effects of climate change and as the summer months are already drier, many existing residents run out of water and must resort to adding water to their wells. There is a local business that provides the service of bringing Town water in a water truck to fill wells and supplement water supply. It is clear there is already substantial pressure on the water table from existing residents of Second Peninsula. Adding 25 new homes in such a density would compromise the current water supply for existing residents and make existing supply totally untenable.

2. Sewage Treatment. The plan we have seen is not clear on how sewage treatment is to be handled. Most lots are about 30,000 square feet. The soil in Second Peninsula is largely clay and is not particularly well suited for handing a septic tank and disposal field. If a conventional system is proposed, under normal engineering rules, larger lots would be required to properly treat the sewage – generally the requirement would be to increase lot size to about 75,000 square feet or larger which is also commensurate with other existing developments on Second Peninsula. If not already done, substantial engineering and soil analysis is needed to ensure there is proper sewage treatment. As well, much of the land drains towards Martin’s Cove which is a problem. Martin’s Cove is shallow and accordingly subject to heating in the summer. It also is long and has a very narrow entrance means there is limited current and limited mixing with open ocean within the Cove. These factors mean that the water in Martin’s Cove is susceptible to agal blooms and water quality issues. The addition of 25 homes in high density, many of which will have sewage making its way into Martin’s Cove, is a serious environmental and ecological concern. We believe the Developer should be required to retain qualified independent oceanographers and marine biologists to study the impact of the Proposed Development on Martin’s Cove. As well, the Developer should be obligated to retain qualified specialists to do the measurements – ideally through a number of different times of the year – to establish baseline information and to carry out periodic monitoring – e.g. every quarter – to ensure the water quality of Martin’s Cove is not adversely affected. If it is, there should be a bonded positive obligation of the Developer to remediate any problems. While this might seem onerous, in our view it is appropriate given the massive scale and density of the Proposed Development compared to existing residential properties that border or drain into Martin’s Cove.

3. The Pond at the entrance to the Proposed Development. There is an existing pond adjacent to Second Peninsula Road and the new road constructed by the Developer to provide access to the Proposed Development. This pond is one of the few freshwater ponds on the Peninsula. When Second Peninsula Road was built, one side of the pond was compromised and the natural shoreline of the pond together with natural vegetation was replaced with a rock wall that forms part of the Second Peninsula Road. The Developer has already exacerbated this with construction of the driveway – much of the shoreline of the pond is now a rock wall instead of a naturally sloping shoreline with natural vegetation that has a positive effect on the ecology of the pond. We believe the way the access road has been constructed has compromised the integrity of a valuable wetland and that it needs to be remediated – i.e. the entrance to the Road should be moved so the pond is not affected. The Developer should be required to produce an independent and professional environmental study of the pond after the Road has been rebuild that will confirm that the access road is not adversely affecting the pond. Residents of the area who frequently walk along the road have previously noted the presence of small aquatic mammals in the pond. They are no longer present, no doubt in part to the silting which has already occurred and compromised the habitat.

4. Watercourses and wetlands. We believe there are portions of the land that are either wetlands or small watercourses and the Proposed Development will adversely affect them. The Developer should be required to provide an independent and professional study to determine to what extent there are wetlands and watercourses and the impact of the proposed development on any wetlands and watercourse on the property. The plan needs to be modified to accommodate and maintain any such wetlands and watercourses in accordance with current environmental laws. The proposed density and layout, in our view, would likely destroy any existing wetland or watercourse features.

5. Traffic. Second Peninsula Road is a unique public road. For most of its length, including the part that is adjacent to the Proposed Development, the road has many sharp turns, and one side of the road is bordered by Martin’s Cove. This makes driving on Second Peninsula Road a challenge especially in wet or winter conditions. The Proposed Development will likely see between 50 and 75 additional people driving on Second Peninsula Road which in our view is too much additional traffic given the nature of the Road. As well, the addition of a busy intersection on a sharp turn as proposed is in our view very dangerous given the scale and density of the Proposed Development. Second Peninsula Road is promoted as a quiet, dead-end road which encourages healthy active living with many people walking and biking the road. These activities will be made unsafe with the addition of such density of population as is being proposed. The width and sightlines of Second Peninsula Road are simply not suitable to handle the density of traffic injected by the Proposed Development.

6. Garbage Collection. Garbage collection on Second Peninsula is carried out by the Municipality solely on the Second Peninsula Road. Each resident of Second Peninsula puts a garbage box on the Second Peninsula Road and garbage is placed in the box for collection on garbage day. Green bins are also put on Second Peninsula Road for collection on garbage day. The Proposed Development has very little frontage on Second Peninsula Road. It is not clear what the developer is intending, however 25 garbage boxes and 25 green bins on the limited frontage every week will be a real problem. At the very least it will be unsightly. As well, different people end up approaching the obligation to provide a secure and solid garbage box in different ways. It is extremely likely that some of the 25 residents will not properly maintain their garbage boxes and that garbage will end up littering the roadway including the adjacent pond creating a significant environmental problem. This problem will be exacerbated by the presence of local birds and animals which are very good at getting into the garbage and distributing it onto the land and into the adjacent watercourses. We note that the local subdivision requirements include a need for each lot to have at least 20 feet of frontage on the public road. The wisdom of this requirement is clear when one considers garbage collection. As well, this problem highlights why the Registrar should be very cautious when exercising its power to override the local subdivision requirements enacted by the local Municipality.

7. Protection of Wildlife. Second Peninsula has a rich and diverse population of wildlife with substantial populations of deer and small mammals. This density of the Proposed Development, unprecedented on the Peninsula, which extends almost the entire width of the Peninsula will effectively block any corridor for movement of these animals. It will effectively cut off the rest of the peninsula from the ‘mainland’ and will put further negative pressure on the wildlife of the area. In addition, these mammals will be forced more and more onto the roadway in order to move along the peninsula, increasing the roadkill and the dangerous vehicle-animal collisions that already occur.

8. Protection of Agricultural Lands. Much of the lands proposed to be developed are currently farmland with fields that have been used to produce hay for local animal farmers. If the Proposed Development is permitted to proceed, the land will be lost forever as farmland. Many jurisdictions have put in place rules protecting farmland in recognition of the importance of local food security. Nova Scotia is in a particularly interesting position as a massive amount of land in Nova Scotia is simply too rocky and barren to be farmed. This makes it very important to protect what farmland we have. Lunenburg County is one of the few places in the province where there is good soil and good farming. We believe this is one more factor that should support a decision by the Registrar not to approve this application.

9. Tourism. Second Peninsula is widely promoted to and appreciated by visitors from far and wide. The peaceful and pastoral nature of the surroundings, accessibility to the ocean at the Provincial Picnic Park, the availability of a quiet, dead-end, scenic road for walking and cycling along the water’s edge are all tremendously attractive to visitors to Nova Scotia. There are fewer and fewer places in Lunenburg County, or the South Shore of Nova Scotia, where these factors come together. If the Proposed Development is allowed to proceed as proposed, these will all be threatened.

10. Community and heritage. While at first blush this might seem somewhat amorphous, it is an important consideration. Many of the families living on Second Peninsula have been there for many generations. A certain culture, way of life and connection to the land has grown up over the years and the generations. The Proposed Development will forever change and likely destroy that way of life. It is totally different from the way current people interact in the existing community. The addition of a high density large suburban development in the heart of Second Peninsula will forever and detrimentally change the community. One of the telling features is that it appears it is intended to make the Proposed Development a gated community. While that might be common elsewhere, it is the antithesis of life as it currently exists in Second Peninsula where many of us don’t feel the need to lock our doors or our cars. Some development and expansion is inevitable, but it needs to be done respectful of the unique culture, heritage, environment, and ecology of the area.

Conclusion – In light of all these concerns we strongly believe the Proposed Development is completely inappropriate for the community of Second Peninsula and respectfully request that you withhold approval of the Proposed Development as a bare land condominium. We believe you have an obligation commensurate with the responsibility the office provides to withhold consent to projects that are inconsistent with the existing community, opposed by the existing community and will have an irreversible and substantial negative effect on the community. We will be following up this letter with a petition indicating the depth of these concerns amongst the residents of Second Peninsula and surrounds

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