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REPORTING · 13th September 2012
Walter McFarlane
Pyne Hamlet, once again, came before Council for approval on Tuesday, September 4th. The bylaw had been delayed after its last appearance at Council, on July 16th. This bylaw would define what a rural resort would be.

In a memo to Council, Administration provided the background information, the bylaw and several recommendations. Their main recommendation was to approve the second reading as amended, schedule a public hearing to consider several amendments and issue public notice.

The memo explained the bylaw had already received two readings. The third reading had been put off because an agreement could not be reached between the proponent and administration.

According to this memo, Doctor Howard Mills had originally agreed to enter into a covenant regarding the definition of cottages as being only temporary or seasonal accommodations on a resort. Following the public hearing on July 16th, he was no longer willing to enter into the covenant and has been unable to reach an agreement with administration.

The proposal is to build 14 three to five bedroom ‘Cottages’ on a single property adjacent to Minette Bay Lodge. The memo also points out the resort could be converted into a residential neighbourhood by either the current owner, or a future owner. Regardless, the property requires a zoning amendment to proceed.

The bylaw is straight forward and would be usable by anyone who is willing to open a rural resort. It states the zone can be used for commercial accommodation such as: a Bed and Breakfast, Campground, Cottages, Guest Cabins, Hotel, Inn, Lodge or a Motel.

It permits other businesses as accessory uses including: café, convenience stores, gift stores, marine stores, souvenir stores, convention centers, golf courses, lounges, marina’s pubs, restaurants, spas and related personal services.

Council did receive one comment in opposition of the project at a public hearing. The comment: “expressed specific concern about erosion of public access to waterfront and the privatization of waterfront lands.”

One part of the bylaw which would see discussion in the meeting regarded a recommendation to plan land for schools and churches.

At the meeting on the 4th, the proponent, Doctor Howard Mills, stepped up on behalf of his wife, Ruth Mills to talk about the property. He also gave each of Councillors a printed, full colour brochure about Pyne Hamlet.

Mayor Joanne Monaghan stated his project was very impressive.

Mills told the public he has been emailing back and forth between the City Councillors regarding this project and several recent changes to the proposal.

Councillor Corrine Scott asked him if he had any issues with the drafted bylaw. Mills stated there were many issues he had which were all covered in the private emails.

“If the planner’s wishes were implemented and approved by Council, we wouldn’t have a project and therefore, I’m very against it,” said Mills.

Scott wanted to know if there was anything in particular he was opposed to. Mills replied there was a recommendation for Council to combine both the pieces of their land into one. This means they would have to offer their current business, Minette Bay Lodge, to the banks as collateral.

Scott told him this was not in the draft bylaw. Mills replied it was not in the current bylaw but there was a recommendation in past correspondence with the Planner.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff said the draft bylaw had 2 readings and asked Mills if he wanted Council to give it a third hearing. Mills replied he would expect Council to do this. He also reminded the Council of the long meetings they had in 2009 for the rezoning they were after to make their project at the time happen.

“We see absolutely no reason for the confusion generated by the planner’s comments,” said Mills.

Scott stated she found one thing which confused her in the bylaw, a request for appropriate land to be put aside for Schools, churches and other institutions to serve local residents.

“I don’t think putting a school in a resort is a good idea,” said Mills.

Scott explained the motion was to rezone the area into a G4-A Rural Resort Zone. She pointed out the land could be anyone else’s land down the line. Scott was uncertain if having to build a church or chapel down the line meant having to subdivide a portion for a chapel. She considered a chapel an accessory use for support facilities.

Mills stated a future owner could take advantage of this and they had put a chapel in their drawings of the Hamlet for decoration rather then economic sense. They had also considered a dock but reconsidered this because Minette Bay dries often. He added if the Hamlet is successful in the future, they might add a church but a school in a resort did not make sense.

When it came time to make a motion, Councillor Corrine Scott needed some clarification about the churches and schools prior to making the motion. Scott wanted to know if Doctor Howard Mills or a future owner would have to come back to Council for approval of subdividing lands for a school or a church. She suggested putting a church under commercial or accessory uses.

Gwen Sewell, Community Planner, replied it would require a change under a municipal bylaw. However, the intent of schools and churches were not for schools and churches but for public assembly spaces which could be used as schools and churches, such as a Convention Center.

Scott revised her question, would the rural resort have to subdivide to build a chapel. Sewell told her if the owner wanted to build a chapel, it would end in a change under recreation facilities to include chapel as an accessory use.

Scott made a motion to amend the bylaw to include chapels under accessory use. The motion was seconded.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff was opposed to the motion because Mills had stated the chapel in his photo was decorative. Mills wanted a third reading and the adopting of the bylaw. If a chapel was an issue in the future, they would deal with it then.

He pointed out he wanted to move ahead with third reading, although it was not recommended by the memo. Sewell told the Council, if they wanted to change accessory uses, they would have to take it to a public hearing. This would put them back to second reading. He did not want to delay the project.

Scott stated she was concerned about having to have the owners to come back through the process a second time when the problem could be fixed now. Councillor Edwin Empinado would later agree. She withdrew the motion to include chapels.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion to give the bylaw third reading and adoption. He stated Council has received a lot of input.

“It may not be a perfect outcome but, in my opinion, time is of the essence and I am really excited by the development that the Mills are putting forward. There is some serious capital which is being put up and I think it is in the best interest of the community that we allow them to proceed and this will be a wonderful addition to our community. I think we can live with what we have,” said Feldhoff.

Mayor Joanne Monaghan suggested Council also do final adoption of the motion at the meeting. Sewell wanted to make sure the motion was third reading as amended with several underlined amendments in the bylaw.

Feldhoff agreed to third reading as amended. Sewell explained to Council there were some minor changes which fixed the language of the document.

Scott compared the two bylaws and confirmed it was exactly the same with the exception of a few changes. The underlined sections provided more detail and wordsmithed a few areas. She wanted to give it third reading without the changes to the underlined sections.

Sewell explained these changes do not require a public hearing. They could give it a third reading and adopt it then and there.

The motion for third reading and final adoption of this bylaw for a rural resort were called and carried. It was unanimous.