Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
School opponents take fight to Region
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 24 Feb 2006, p. 1, 3

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Several area residents sent a loud and clear message to regional council members Wednesday-- they are opposed to the application for a private school on the Eighth Line. The current condition of the Eighth Line and how the increased traffic from the proposed Keswick Sutherland School will impact safety on that road was one of the main reasons for the opposition raised by the residents. How the development will affect their water supply was another top concern. Approximately 45 people attended the public meeting on the amendment to the Region's Official Plan to permit the school, proposed for a 95.6 acre property on Eighth Line between 27 and 32 Sideroads. The school is to include an equestrian centre. Eighth Line resident Lois Fraser, who lives across from the school, provided a traffic analysis based on research she had done, including contacting private schools, and estimated if the school is built there will be an additional 406 vehicle trips on the road each day-- a 634 per cent increase, equivalent she said, to the amount of traffic generated from 68 additional homes. That was based on 20 per cent of the students being bused to school, which Fraser said was the norm at the private schools she contacted. The applicants, however, had a different estimate. In a letter to the Town of Halton Hills planning director Bruce MacLean

in response to concerns raised by the public at an earlier information session on the school, Glenn Wellings, planner for the applicants, said based on the traffic impact study the worst-case scenario (if no children took a bus to the school) 232 additional vehicle trips (136 in the morning and 96 in the afternoon) would be generated on the road. He acknowledged, however, busing would be provided. Fraser's estimate, based on no students taking a bus to the school, would be nearly double that. She said that would result in an additional 458 vehicle trips on the road each day. "The safety of my family is at stake," said Fraser. "If you allow this proposal to go through and do not spend the money to bring this road to standards safe for the projected amount of traffic, then there will be legal repercussions for the Region and the Town of Halton Hills," said Fraser. Fraser also provided council members with several photos showing the curves, S-bend, and hills on the Eighth Line that she said already are a challenge to maneuver at current traffic levels, especially in the winter. Several other area residents raised concerns about road safety including Kim Zangrilli of Abbit Cr., who said her children "will no longer be safe playing in my yard." Water was another key concern raised by the residents. "Will we have enough water to drink, will our water system be soured by the sewage run-off from both human and animal waste. Where are the guarantees," said Nanci Llewellyn, of the Eighth Line. Llewellyn said she is concerned the proposed development will impact their lifestyle. "We acknowledge that everyone engages in some sort of NIMBY-ism (Not In My Back Yard), however, who would have guessed that at the time we purchased our home that such a large massive business was slated for a country field just north of us," said Llewellyn. Area resident Colleen Kelly said the proposal doesn't adhere to the Halton Hills Official Plan because it is not an institutional use and doesn't serve the rural area. Other concerns raised included emergency response to the school, adequate water for fire suppression, and the qualifications of the applicants to run a school. A petition signed by 115 area residents opposed to the school was provided to regional council members at the meeting. Not everyone at the meeting, however, was opposed to the development. Timber Court resident Kent McClure supported the proposal, saying the school would provide jobs, additional tax dollars and enhance the value of local properties. He said he was confident stringent government requirements would address the objectors' concerns. Abbitt Cr. resident Mike Pearson also spoke in favour of the proposal, as long as stringent requirements address all reasonable concerns. Pearson said he was offended by the "inappropriate, condescending and intimidating tone" of the more outspoken objectors at the Feb. 9 information meeting hosted by the Town of Halton Hills. Wellings took the opportunity Wednesday to respond to some of the concerns raised by the residents at the last information session. He said misinformation that has been distributed is that the school will generate 300 cars a day, the school won't have busing, the proposal will cost taxpayers millions of dollars, the development is equivalent to 150 homes, the proposal will negatively affect nearby Scotsdale Farm and the equestrian centre will operate on a 24-hour basis. "That is simply erroneous information, that's not consistent with the planning studies and technical reports. "Many supporters of the school have been intimidated by the process," said Wellings, adding that some who were at the information meeting were intimidated to express their views. "The concern that this is a business, I'm not sure the relevance of this point," said Wellings. He said he was confused by the comment that residents said they would support a public and not a private school. "The land use impact is the same," he said. On the traffic issue, Wellings said many of the conditions on the Eighth Line are existing conditions, and not an effect of the proposal. "In fact the traffic impact study is recommending a reduction in the speed limit," said Wellings. The greenbelt plan under which the property falls provides for several different uses, he said. "The province has actually suggested we examine the aggregate potential of the property," said Wellings. "I'm not suggesting an aggregate operation is an appropriate use for the property. I'm not raising this to alarm the residents of the area, however I am suggesting that we need to recognize the greenbelt plan is not a static document." Region staff will now develop a position on the proposal and report to Regional Planning and Public Works Committee with a recommendation on the application.

Tallyn, Lisa
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Date of Publication:
24 Feb 2006
Personal Name(s):
Fraser, Lois ; MacLean, Bruce ; Llewellyn, Nanci ; Kelly, Colleen ; Wellings, Glenn ; Zangrilli, Kim ; McClure, Kent ; Pearson, Mike
Corporate Name(s):
Keswick Sutherland School ; Scotsdale Farm
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School opponents take fight to Region