POINT EDWARD – Several acres of wooded waterfront property have been cleared, leaving residents “stumped” about what’s in store for the land north of the Point Edward Casino.
“The developer went in and took down the trees last fall just after getting a permit from the Ministry of Natural Resources,” says Jim Burns, the village’s CAO.
Cantaqleigh Investments Ltd. of Sarnia has earmarked the land for commercial and residential development. If the entire proposal proceeds Point Edward’s population could jump to about 2,800 from 2,000.
A public meeting was held in September to outline Cantaqleigh’s plans and start the rezoning process.
“Then, six weeks later, we were asked to hold off on approval for rezoning and the county was asked to wait on the application for subdivision approval,” said Burns.
Cantaqleigh first proposed development of its lands near the casino eight years ago. But endangered Butler garter snake discovered on the site had to be relocated to the nearby spit lands in a complicated and expensive process. Fewer than 30 snakes were found and moved at a cost of $300,000 to the developer, according to Burns.
After the snake problem was addressed Cantaqleigh cleared the property of what was considered scrub, dramatically changing the landscape near the casino entrance. The trees were removed in preparation for a mandatory archeological dig.
“Cantaqleigh is stepping back to re-evaluate,” said Burns. There’s no reason to believe development will not move ahead but the timing may have changed.
“We know there’s a history of historically significant (native) artifacts found wherever excavation is carried out near the bridge,” said Burns. “We believe Cantaqleigh … won’t make final plans until the extent of the archeological work is known.”
The proposal unveiled in September included a mix of apartments, condominiums and commercial space on 10 acres (4.27 hectares).
If those plans change, the village will insist on another public meeting, Burns said.