This Article Has Been Reprinted With Permission From The Stouffville Free Press
Rick Wigmore, Cheryl Shindruk and Phil Bannon
Photo by Kate Gilderdale
When rapid growth makes development inevitable, a collaborative approach between town, developer and area residents can go a long way towards overcoming concerns and creating consensus.
Earlier this year, Geranium Corporation presented a proposal to the Town to build 18 homes on 12 acres of land along Lakeshore Rd. In May, Musselman’s Lake Residents Association (MLRA) president Rick Wigmore met with Geranium president Mario Giampietri to discuss the impact of the plan on the existing community.
Mr. Wigmore cited density, the effectiveness of the proposed septic system, potential problems resulting from water flow across the property and traffic congestion as four major concerns expressed by residents. Mr. Giampietri agreed to investigate and address those concerns, and asked if there was a stewardship plan in place at Musselman’s Lake.
“We said, yes, but we don’t have the money to execute it,” said Mr. Wigmore. “Then he said, ‘How would you like a limnologist?’ (a specialist in the study of freshwater ponds and lakes). He asked if we’d like this number one guy, Neil Hutchinson. We said that would be really nice.”
In July, Ward 2 councillor Phil Bannon arranged a meeting between Cheryl Shindruk and Shauna Dudding of Geranium Homes, Neil Hutchinson of Hutchinson Environmental Sciences and the MLRA’s Rick Wigmore, with Mr. Bannon representing the town.
“Neil came up with a (stewardship) plan which he priced at around $40,000 and Cheryl gave us the good news that Germanium was willing to proceed with this,” said Mr. Bannon. Mr. Hutchinson’s review will address weed control and provide an assessment of water quality at the lake.
“We are very impressed with the work that the community is doing,” said Ms Shindruk, who is Geranium’s vice-president of land development. “We started building homes in Ballantrae area a couple of years ago on the west side of Hwy 48, and the community and market interest was strong and positive.”
An existing property on the proposed Lakeshore Rd. site, which is built to high environmental standards, will be integrated into the new development, said Ms Shindruk. “We designed the development to maintain that home. Each site is unique and you work with it.”
The dedication of the residents makes Musselman’s Lake a very special community, said Mr. Bannon. “Everyone works so hard at our annual community cleanup. We also have a tremendous (town) staff who work with the developers and the community for the best outcome.”