thprra.org

Subtitle

About Us

WHO ARE WE?

Purpose

Tutela Heights Phelps Road Residents’ Association (THPRRA) exists primarily to protect one beautiful green corner of Brant County from developers who would negatively impact the environment with significantly higher density development which is demonstrably out of sync with the existing area.  We also exist to reach out and to support other citizens groups working to protect the green space within Brant County from significant and unsustainable development pressures encouraged by the impact of the Provincial Master Transportation Plan and the Provincial policies for growth.

 

Brant County as it currently exists is a sustainable community, without the impact of “big business” development such as Walton, Hopewell, First Gulf, and Dufferin and St. Mary’s Cement.  Brant County is traditionally an agricultural community and has been so for a very long time.  Brant is known for being a “breadbasket”. It is the hope of many County residents, some of whom chose to live here for the agricultural lifestyle, that in decades to come, this County will still be a beautiful and thriving agricultural community.  Unfortunately, the impact of the provincial greenbelt and provincial transportation master plan has made Brant County attractive as a place for land developers to profit via the loss of valuable farmland –a land grab.   That should not imply that Brant County should be host to sprawl and/or GTA type development.

 “The planning and development of the County of Brant is influenced by demographics, environment, economics, finance, geography, municipal services, human resources and technology. The planning process in the County of Brant will strive to ensure a healthy environment for the residents and future residents, will give priority to the needs of the collective community known as Brant, will encourage and facilitate balanced and sustainable economic growth in appropriate locations, will protect the natural environment, will protect the agricultural resources and rural character that is synonymous with a safe community, will respect the cultural diversity and heritage of the area, will strive for orderly and economically viable development, will endeavour to provide quality services in a fair and equitable manner that are responsive to the general and specific needs of this community, will promote this community, will encourage residents to become involved in their community, and will strive to ensure the wise use of the natural resources bestowed on this geographic region.”  (Brant County Official Plan 2010)


The proposed Riverbend Estates in Tutela Heights is not consistent with Places to Grow Ontario, the Provincial Policy Statement, the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the County’s own growth plans and with the nature and character of the surrounding neighborhood.  We do not believe that approval of Riverbend Estates as it is proposed would have due regard for the natural environment of this area, the rich archeological history of First Nations and for the surrounding land uses.  We remain unconvinced that the proposed development, particularly as regards water, represents due regard for other areas of the County who will be impacted by a significant loss of local water.  The proposed development does not, in our opinion, represent a logical and orderly pattern of development, as proposed in the County’s own growth projections (see County Transportation Master Plan). 

Growth forecasts for the County (OP 2010) show potential residential growth of 12,200 citizens over the next 20 years.  Assuming a 4 person household, this would represent approximately 3050 homes required over the next 20 years.  The Riverbend proposal would fulfill, at 295 homes in total, 9.6% of this total requirement in the next five years, in a secondary settlement area.  This simply does not make sense and is inconsistent with the intent of the County’s own official plan.

We would like to specifically address a statement made several times by representatives of Walton concerning those who “would oppose development anywhere at any time, despite genuine efforts on their part”.  We wish to clarify that THPRRA does not oppose development anywhere at any time.  We support development in the locations that the County has determined are the appropriate places to develop.  These areas, as the County has defined them, represent complete communities, are consistent with Places to Grow Ontario, provide the appropriate infrastructure and are consistent in nature and character with the proposed style of development envisioned by the Riverbend Estates proposal.  We support sustainable, reasonable, logical development as defined by the citizens of the County and the officials elected to represent those citizens, rather than development driven by business interests not resident in the County.  Who is determining the vision for Brant County????

We are the people who will be living in this community, long after the Walton’s of the world have made their profits and moved on.  It is important to protect our ground water, the riverbank, natural areas, farmland and residents of the County for the long term and for the benefits of those who will raise future generations here.

We also question the wisdom of “putting the cart before the horse”.  Brant County currently is not in a state of economic growth.  Hence, where will the demand for this new housing come from?  Would it not make more sense to attract new business to Brant and then build houses as the demand for such arises?   It is a well-established fact that residential taxes will not cover the ongoing infrastructure requirements of a new development.  While preliminary development fees may appear attractive, in the longer term, for our future generations, there is a net cost to the County.   

Water

Walton’s website shows estimated peak flows of water related to this new development at approximately 133,590,000 liters/year.   This will be water that is moved from one part of the county to another.  What will happen to the people in the neighborhood of the new well?  One of the property owners in that vicinity (a farmer), who watched his well drop more than 3 inches in the 72 hour test phase has clearly stated he will lose his farming business entirely.  The new well is situated in an area with a spring fed water trail.  What will happen to that farming community that relies upon irrigation, to the local wells and the wildlife it supports?  There has not to date been an environmental assessment done on the impact of the water taking area. 

133,590,000 liters per year (treated sewage) is a significant volume of water for the “receiving” area as well.  This equates to 24,289 milk tankers per year being dropped into local soils.  How can the impact of 66 milk tankers worth of treated sewage per day in this small area not be a worry for existing residents?  Where will this water go?  Walton’s own studies confirm that this area has deep clay soils so the surface water will be the logical target for all of this treated sewage.

(click on the water tab for more information)

Sewage

As private septic owners, we generally are aware of what can damage a septic system and because we have personal financial responsibility for these systems, take care not to introduce substances that will harm such systems.  The 200 new homeowners in this area will not have that personal connection to their sewage system.  As such, they make not have the same awareness that private owners do – and damage or early wear and tear to the community system may result.  Walton’s proposed remediation to this problem is education of the residents.  With all respect, we question this statement.  Who would do such education?  Walton, by the time residents are buying these homes, will have moved on.  There will be no logical time for such education and new residents will likely treat this septic system the way municipal water systems are treated, as they will not have the personal connection to the system that current residents do.  Why would they?  The residents of the County, new and existing, will pay for this through property taxes.

The proposed sewage treatment system is a BNR system with 8 acres of weeping tiles and a 4,000 square foot pumping station.  This was the least desirable of the various options available to the developer but which is now being touted as the preferred and “state of the art” alternative.

(click on the sewage tab for more information)

Roads

There are no plans in the County’s own documents to upgrade roads in the Tutela/Phelps network however this development will likely introduce 4-600 more cars into this small area.  The road itself is fragile and somewhat unstable.  It is a narrow country road in places and in others, quiet homes front on the road itself.  This will have the impact of turning a quiet neighborhood into a high traffic area.  Again, we have concerns about loss of property values, quiet lifestyle and even safety and security, as many residents walk Tutela Heights road in relative safety.   Estimates show 222 more trips on Tutela during peak evening hours, 172 more in the morning peak hour.  Given that there are few new jobs in Brant County, it is reasonable to expect that many of these cars will head east to the GTA, further clogging Garden/Blossom and especially the already pressured intersection of Cockshutt and Phelps, not to mention 403, etc.

Raw data counts conducted by Stantec indicate a daily count total of 445 travelling eastbound on Tutela Heights to the Mount Pleasant intersection.  Of these 129 cars travel between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., east bound down Tutela Heights and south towards Brantford.  The study indicates an increase of 172 trips in the same peak hour.   Assuming the single exit model for Riverbend, this more than doubles existing traffic volume.

(click on the roads tab for more information)

Riverbank

Riverbank – we invite you to visit personally the Bell Homestead and view the riverbank in person.  What will happen when (not if) the slide occurs.  Surely we have not forgotten some of the other, rather spectacular slides experienced along the Grand?  The developer will not lose any land – nor be financially impacted by a riverbank slide. The impact will be on the existing residents – those who lose their land and those who will pay the tax increases required for the remediation work that will be required.  What will be the impact of 5 and greater years of construction on this area, if not to further contribute to the destabilization of this riverbank?  Why would County approve any development that has the potential to accelerate the process?

Consistency with the Neighborhood

In their letter to County, Walton makes some effort to show they have consulted with the community and that the proposed Riverbend Estates represents the community’s plan.  We take considerable issue with this statement.  Although the plan has indeed been modified from the original 214 houses, the modification envisions a reduction of only 14 units to 200, movement of property lines to accommodate individual resident’s sensitivities and cosmetic changes to take into account the look and feel of the Tutela Heights neighborhood.  Regardless, there are a significant number of homes (approximately 130) in the proposed development which would have roof lines less than 10 feet apart.  No matter what types of cosmetic changes are envisioned to the plan, this type of density will never be consistent with this neighborhood.

Residents have asked for property and lot sizes consistent with the neighborhood.  This has not been accommodated.  In fact, we have been repeatedly reminded by Walton representatives that they have the right to put 300 homes on the Riverbend Estates land.  Recent developments in this area have included Valley Estates and Rue Chateaux.  These developments did not meet with significant resident opposition, because they ARE consistent with the neighborhood. 

Walton’s preliminary estimates for 295 homes at 3+ persons per household will significantly alter the peace and tranquility of this area – from a traffic, noise and density perspective.  This has the potential to negatively impact existing residents in many ways, including property taxes and loss of individual property values. 

Incomplete Community

As noted by the County’s own planning staff, the proposed development lacks the mix of land use that would be found in a complete community, according to the provincial plan for growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, (Steve Stone, March 16, 2011).  There is no close industry, no retail, no public transportation, no existing infrastructure. 

THPRRA’s role

We remain committed to representing our community, to ensure that Brant develops in a way that is sensitive to our rural roots, supportive of local agriculture, economically sound and environmentally sustainable. We want Brant County to continue to be a place where people choose to live, work and play. As citizens of Brant, with deep roots in this community, which in some cases go back to settlement, we want to see our community prosper now and in the future. Our investment in the community, in the land, in the businesses we have created and the homes we have bought is multi-generational and needs to be respected. 

Growth projections for the Tutela Heights area, according to the County of Brant Master Transportation Plan, include only 40 new residential units in the next 10 years.  The current developer proposals would exceed this by approximately 700%.

We would like to specifically address a statement made several times by representatives of Walton concerning those who “would oppose development anywhere at any time, despite genuine efforts on their part”.  We wish to clarify that THPRRA does not oppose development anywhere at any time.  We support development in the locations that the County has determined are the appropriate places to develop.  These areas, as the County has defined them, represent complete communities, are consistent with Places to Grow Ontario, provide the appropriate infrastructure and are consistent in nature and character with the proposed style of development envisioned by the Riverbend Estates proposal.  We support sustainable, reasonable, logical development as defined by the citizens of the County and the officials elected to represent those citizens, rather than development driven by business interests not resident in the County.  Who is determining the vision for Brant County????



We are the people who will be living in this community, long after the Walton’s of the world have made their profits and moved on.  It is important to protect our ground water, the riverbank, natural areas, farmland and residents of the County for the long term and for the benefits of those who will raise future generations here.

We also question the wisdom of “putting the cart before the horse”.  Brant County currently is not in a state of economic growth.  Hence, where will the demand for this new housing come from?  Would it not make more sense to attract new business to Brant and then build houses as the demand for such arises?   It is a well-established fact that residential taxes will not cover the ongoing infrastructure requirements of a new development.  While preliminary development fees may appear attractive, in the longer term, for our future generations, there is a net cost to the County.   

Water

Walton’s website shows estimated peak flows of water related to this new development at approximately 133,590,000 liters/year.   This will be water that is moved from one part of the county to another.  What will happen to the people in the neighborhood of the new well?  One of the property owners in that vicinity (a farmer), who watched his well drop more than 3 inches in the 72 hour test phase has clearly stated he will lose his farming business entirely.  The new well is situated in an area with a spring fed water trail.  What will happen to that farming community that relies upon irrigation, to the local wells and the wildlife it supports?  There has not to date been an environmental assessment done on the impact of the water taking area. 

133,590,000 liters per year (treated sewage) is a significant volume of water for the “receiving” area as well.  This equates to 24,289 milk tankers per year being dropped into local soils.  How can the impact of 66 milk tankers worth of treated sewage per day in this small area not be a worry for existing residents?  Where will this water go?  Walton’s own studies confirm that this area has deep clay soils so the surface water will be the logical target for all of this treated sewage.

Sewage

As private septic owners, we generally are aware of what can damage a septic system and because we have personal financial responsibility for these systems, take care not to introduce substances that will harm such systems.  The 200 new homeowners in this area will not have that personal connection to their sewage system.  As such, they make not have the same awareness that private owners do – and damage or early wear and tear to the community system may result.  Walton’s proposed remediation to this problem is education of the residents.  With all respect, we question this statement.  Who would do such education?  Walton, by the time residents are buying these homes, will have moved on.  There will be no logical time for such education and new residents will likely treat this septic system the way municipal water systems are treated, as they will not have the personal connection to the system that current residents do.  Why would they?  The residents of the County, new and existing, will pay for this through property taxes.

The proposed sewage treatment system is a BNR system with 8 acres of weeping tiles and a 4,000 square foot pumping station.  This was the least desirable of the various options available to the developer but which is now being touted as the preferred and “state of the art” alternative.

Roads

There are no plans in the County’s own documents to upgrade roads in the Tutela/Phelps network however this development will likely introduce 4-600 more cars into this small area.  The road itself is fragile and somewhat unstable.  It is a narrow country road in places and in others, quiet homes front on the road itself.  This will have the impact of turning a quiet neighborhood into a high traffic area.  Again, we have concerns about loss of property values, quiet lifestyle and even safety and security, as many residents walk Tutela Heights road in relative safety.   Estimates show 222 more trips on Tutela during peak evening hours, 172 more in the morning peak hour.  Given that there are few new jobs in Brant County, it is reasonable to expect that many of these cars will head east to the GTA, further clogging Garden/Blossom and especially the already pressured intersection of Cockshutt and Phelps, not to mention 403, etc.

Raw data counts conducted by Stantec indicate a daily count total of 445 travelling eastbound on Tutela Heights to the Mount Pleasant intersection.  Of these 129 cars travel between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., east bound down Tutela Heights and south towards Brantford.  The study indicates an increase of 172 trips in the same peak hour.   Assuming the single exit model for Riverbend, this more than doubles existing traffic volume.

Photo Credit:  Google Earth Copyright 2012


Riverbank

Riverbank – we invite you to visit personally the Bell Homestead and view the riverbank in person.  What will happen when (not if) the slide occurs.  Surely we have not forgotten some of the other, rather spectacular slides experienced along the Grand?  The developer will not lose any land – nor be financially impacted by a riverbank slide. The impact will be on the existing residents – those who lose their land and those who will pay the tax increases required for the remediation work that will be required.  What will be the impact of 5 and greater years of construction on this area, if not to further contribute to the destabilization of this riverbank?  Why would County approve any development that has the potential to accelerate the process?

http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2010/05/06/crews-try-to-stabilize-riverbank-after-slide

(click on the river tab for more information)

Consistency with the Neighborhood

 

In their letter to County, Walton makes some effort to show they have consulted with the community and that the proposed Riverbend Estates represents the community’s plan.  We take considerable issue with this statement.  Although the plan has indeed been modified from the original 214 houses, the modification envisions a reduction of only 14 units to 200, movement of property lines to accommodate individual resident’s sensitivities and cosmetic changes to take into account the look and feel of the Tutela Heights neighborhood.  Regardless, there are a significant number of homes (approximately 130) in the proposed development which would have roof lines less than 10 feet apart.  No matter what types of cosmetic changes are envisioned to the plan, this type of density will never be consistent with this neighborhood.

This is an aerial of the proposed area for development.

 

Residents have asked for property and lot sizes consistent with the neighborhood.  This has not been accommodated.  In fact, we have been repeatedly reminded by Walton representatives that they have the right to put 300 homes on the Riverbend Estates land.  Recent developments in this area have included Valley Estates and Rue Chateaux.  These developments did not meet with significant resident opposition, because they ARE consistent with the neighborhood.

Photo Credit:  Google Earth Copyright 2012

This is an aerial of a Walton development in Edmonton.

Walton’s preliminary estimates for 295 homes at 3+ persons per household will significantly alter the peace and tranquility of this area – from a traffic, noise and density perspective.  This has the potential to negatively impact existing residents in many ways, including property taxes and loss of individual property values. 

Incomplete Community

As noted by the County’s own planning staff, the proposed development lacks the mix of land use that would be found in a complete community, according to the provincial plan for growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, (Steve Stone, March 16, 2011).  There is no close industry, no retail, no public transportation, no existing infrastructure.

Photo Credit:  Google Earth Copyright 2012

THPRRA’s role

We remain committed to representing our community, to ensure that Brant develops in a way that is sensitive to our rural roots, supportive of local agriculture, economically sound and environmentally sustainable. We want Brant County to continue to be a place where people choose to live, work and play. As citizens of Brant, with deep roots in this community, which in some cases go back to settlement, we want to see our community prosper now and in the future. Our investment in the community, in the land, in the businesses we have created and the homes we have bought is multi-generational and needs to be respected.

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