Council Matters - July 4, 2013

Over the last number of months, Council has received public input and has engaged in much discussion on the proposal to provide road access to the Maple Bay Peninsula (Stoney Hill) area. At its June 19 regular meeting, Council postponed a motion that proposed to remove one suggested route from consideration, referred to as the Petitioners Local Area Service Route. Council instructed the Mayor and municipal staff to meet with the Petitioners' representatives and with the owners of Birds Eye Cove Farm. The primary concerns with the Petitioners Route were identified as archaeological and First Nations' impacts, environmental and ecological impacts, and cost.

On June 27 a meeting with the Petitioners' representatives and the owners of the Bird's Eye Cove Farm took place and they provided insight into why the Petitioners' Route should remain an option. The key considerations were:
- the route provides the least impact on the Farm's operations;
- the route is the safest and meets the municipal criteria of no more than a 12% grade;
- the detailed cost estimate provided by the Petitioners engineering consultants; and
- archaeological and environmental impacts can be managed.
There was a very useful exchange of both facts and opinions, and the Petitioners made a strong case to keep their proposed route on the table.
At the July 3 Council meeting, based on the input from the Petitioners and Farm owners, it was recommended that Council first focus on the Petitioners' Route. It was discussed that any additional engineering analysis, environmental studies, archaeological studies, First Nations consultation and community consultation should focus on the Petitioners' Local Area Service route and related bylaws so that Council can make a final decision on this route prior to spending time and resources on alternative routes. Council agreed that this was a reasonable approach.

To facilitate a meaningful review of the Petitioners' Route, a number of key considerations will be presented at a public meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9, at the Maple Bay Fire Hall. At that meeting, Council hopes to receive feedback from interested parties on the Petitioners' Route.
Council also agreed that after the public meeting, a Stakeholders Working Group will be established to evaluate the Petitioners' Route based on any concerns raised at the public meeting. The goal of the Stakeholders Working Group will be to bring a recommendation to Council on whether to support the Petitioners' Route and related bylaws.
Please attend the public meeting if you can. We anticipate that we will be asking for applicants to volunteer for the Working Group at that time.