It’s not going to be a lazy summer at Guelph City Council as the next several weeks they, along with the Township of Guelph/Eramosa and the County of Wellington, will determine the fate of an issue that ties all three governments together. Guelph is ready to absorb the site of the Dolime Quarry and make it a part of the city proper, but there’s an obstacle course of meetings they have to run through to make it happen.
Back in 2019, the City of Guelph reached a deal with River Valley Developments, the owner of the Dolime Quarry situated just west of the Hanlon Expressway and south of Wellington Street, to shut the quarry down and redevelopment the land. Before that though, the property needs to be absorbed into the City of Guelph and annexed from its current municipality, which is the Township of Guelph/Eramosa.
A thorough public engagement process took place in the winter of 2020, and council formally endorsed the direction that March. Now, the time has coming for annexing.
“Through engagement in 2019 we heard strong community support for the solution that Council approved in 2020,” said general manager of Environmental Services Jennifer Rose in a statement. “We’re excited to be able to move the solution forward and really appreciate both the Township’s and County’s support in making this happen.”
The “this” that all three municipal government is trying to make “happen” is the proposed annexation agreement and a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) that will rezone the Dolime property. If the mention of the MZO sounds scary, the City of Guelph public notice assures that the future residential development on the property will “follow the City’s standard planning processes, ensuring more opportunities for the community to engage throughout the process and before final plans are approved.”
First things first though, the annexation.
The County of Wellington has posted a Notice of Public Meeting – Land Annexation for June 24 at 9:50 am. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom. Members of the public will be able to offer their input so long as they email or phone Wellington County deputy clerk Nicole Cardow at nicoleca [at] wellington.ca or 519-837-2600 extension 2524 before 4 pm on Wednesday June 16.
In July, the debate moves to Guelph where the annexation and MZO will be discussed at Committee of the Whole on Monday July 5 at 2 pm, and then again at the regular council meeting on Monday July 19 at 6:30 pm. The agenda for the committee meeting will be posted to the City’s website on Thursday June 24, and people will be able to register to delegate up until 10 am on July 2.
No word on when the annexation motion will come to the Township of Guelph/Eramosa council, but their next meeting dates are June 7 and 21 for regular council business, and June 16 for their Committee of the Whole meeting.
As announced in October 2019, the City ended a long-running stand-off with River Valley about quarry operations by reaching the proposed agreement of annexing the land, re-zoning it, and redeveloping it as a new residential, or mixed-use, area of Guelph. River Valley will retain ownership of the lands, while the City will protect important water resources, 11 million litres of which are being used every day in the quarry.
“My perspective is that this is a very positive solution for everyone, especially around the protection and safety of our water, both now and in the future,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie at the announcement back in 2019.
“Yes, it’s is about our water for sure, but there have been complaints over the years of the the blasting, and the disruption to the neighbourhood that surrounds around the quarry,” Guthrie added. “The fact that it will be stopped, and that it won’t happen anymore, that’s another added benefit to having the quarry shut down.”