A recent survey suggests a vast majority of residents in Kilworth and Komoka are concerned that Middlesex Centre isn’t acting in their best interests when it comes to a controversial development proposal.
The survey, commissioned by the Kilworth-Komoka Rate Payers Association, a local group made up of area residents, is centred on a development plan to build a 548-home subdivision along Glendon Dr.
The proposal from Don Black Investments Ltd./Tridon Developments would see the construction of 457 single-family homes, 91 townhomes, a park, and a school on a 55-acre piece of land, 10293 Glendon Drive, bordered by Glendon to the north, and a neighbouring subdivision to the east. The property is currently home to farmlands.
In the survey, conducted by phone on the evening of Jul. 5 by Mainstreet Research, respondents were asked how concerned they were that Middlesex Centre council “may not be managing development in Kilworth and Komoka in the best interest of the local community?”
Of the 149 households who took part – about 10 per cent of households in the community – 68 per cent said they were very concerned, while 21 per cent said they were somewhat concerned. Four per cent said they were “not at all concerned.”
The margin of error in the survey was +/- 7.73%.
According to Darren Micallef, spokesperson for the Kilworth-Komoka Rate Payers Association, the results of the survey aren’t necessarily surprising. The group has raised concerns with the development over issues related to parking, density, and green space.
“What’s happening here is the developer has gone to council and has literally requested that the majority of the bylaws, the same bylaws that have built Kilworth, Komoka, and a lot of other Middlesex Centre towns and villages already in process, this developer wants to go and change all that to the point where there’ll hardly be any green space, there’ll hardly be any opportunities for a car to be parked in a driveway.”
Based on the proposed plan, Micallef says homeowners with two vehicles will have to park one of their vehicles on the road as there will be no room to park both in their driveways.
“It looks very much like this council, and this developer, want to cram in homes that are taking up to 60 per cent of your lot,” he continued. “If I come out of my front door, I’m walking three or four feet and I’m on the road, I mean that’s how much these buildings are taking up over the space of the lots.”
The survey also touched on the issue of sewage capacity, and whether the existing infrastructure would be able to handle the new subdivision. Seventy-five per cent of survey respondents said they were very concerned about the possibility the development could create a sewage overflow, affecting the local environment and existing homes.
Micallef says he disagrees with the assertion that their disapproval of the development is due to NIMBY-ism.
“That’s not it at all, we just want something that’s consistent, that the developer can build a decent subdivision using the same bylaws that we all had to build our homes with,” Micallef said. “And I know there’s modifications here and there, but when you look down the list, and he literally wants to change a majority of the bylaws, we have an issue with that.”
According to a public memo from the Kilworth-Komoka Rate Payers Association, the development had been expected to get the rubber stamp from councillors.
“We had spoken to many councillors and almost every one of them said they were going to vote in favour [..] even though we strongly opposed,” the memo reads. “The general concensus (sic) was they wanted Kilworth to be more affordable to everyone and that the way of the future was smaller homes on tiny lots.”
During a vote on Apr. 20, however, councillors voted to defer. Don Black Investments Ltd. has appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board.
“Town council seems to be playing a game with this developer, that council refused to decide on this development,” Micallef said. “Because the town refused to make a decision, it’s almost certain that the OMB will side with the developer.”
Asked why he thought councillors voted to defer, Micallef said “they wanted to go back to the citizens that elect them and say ‘it wasn’t us, we decided to defer it,’ and that way they can’t say that they actually agreed upon it. [..] We’re hoping that there will be an answer one way or another on that, because I think, what I’m hearing, is a lot of the citizens in our area will determine that come next election as to which way they’re going to vote.”
A public meeting has been scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday night at the Coldstream Community Centre to address a proposed amendment to the Middlesex Centre Official Plan made by Tridon in regards to the site.