The fast-tracking of a major redevelopment at Kawartha Downs is a step closer with Cavan Monaghan Township council’s support Monday for a provincial ministerial zoning order (MZO) which the development company, Romspen Investment Corp., is requesting from the province.
“I would suggest this would not be before council for at least another 15 years if you didn’t have an MZO,” said Mayor Scott McFadden, after all council members voted in favour except Deputy Mayor Matt Graham.
A MZO can be issued by the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs to help overcome delays to development projects, according to the ministry’s website. The ministry expects requests for zoning orders include a supporting municipal council resolution.
The proposed revitalization would include an expanded gaming operation, a hotel, a multi-purpose indoor concert facility, outdoor concert facilities with an entertainment amphitheatre, an agricultural fairground, sports facilities, soccer fields, a tractor pull track, overflow parking and 588 new residential homes.
There would be on-site private communal servicing (water and sewer) facility, and the company says it is also committed to providing services to the Peterborough Airport if it is interested.
In a presentation to council, Richard Weldon, managing partner in Romspen, said the development will be family-friendly and be “a catalyst for growth in the area.”
He envisions local, regional and international acts performing at the concert facility which might have a 4,000 to 5,000 seat capacity.
“The potential for this area is incredible,” he said, with no cost and no risk to the township.
But Coun. Cathy Moore expressed concern that the proposed 588 houses, semi-detached homes and townhouse units would be relocating housing development away from Millbrook.
McFadden said that would not happen and Millbrook growth would go ahead as planned.
The hotel would be built in a modular fashion to allow additions, but initially it might have 150 to 200 suites, Weldon said. “It is our intention is to go as big as we need to satisfy the demand.”
He said it’s tough to say now how many jobs there could be with the project, but possibly 1,500, in addition several hundred construction jobs, and “very often we pay more than the minimum wage.”
While Graham said that he supported the Kawartha Downs expansion, the amount, size and scope of the housing proposal gives him “huge concerns” and the idea of servicing the airport is “astronomically premature,” noting there are a number of other areas in the township also in need of servicing.
Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him at email@example.com.
Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner