By Chris Pickup

The ‘Waves” project tentatively poked a toe out of the water at council last week, after a thorough swamping the week before.

The original proposal for a seasonal residential private development was proposed and unanimously turned down at council in committee August 25.

The reasons were many including the project was to be on agricultural land, the lakeshore frontage was the worst for erosion in the county, the access roads sightlines and condition were dangerous for more traffic, and the proposed servicing was a problem.

However, developer LJM developments Inc. came back to council before they ratified the decision, asking for a deferral rather than an outright refusal, to allow them time to work with county staff on a downscaled, more compatible smaller development.

LJM spokesman John Ariens told councillors “you do have the flexibility to consider” such a development on agricultural land at both provincial and local levels.

In addition, he felt the project could be a “catalyst for improvements” of sightlines and safety at Pyle Road, which would be the access point to the development, and servicing was for a private commercial development, not a subdivision.

Overall, Ariens felt the project would encourage high quality development on the lakeshore.

Staffer Mike Evers acknowledged he was “open to having a conversation on technical concerns.”

Rob Shirton, who represents that ward, said he would like to be involved in the discussions.

He also wondered about the county’s Official Plan. “It is to be approved this fall. How does that shake out with what we are discussing here?”

Evers noted it is only phase 1 coming up in the fall, which mostly concerns the urban areas. “Phase 2 is a ways away yet.”

Mayor Ken Hewitt noted discussions with the neighbouring communities needed to happen, while Bernie Corbett added “agricultural, water and sewer concerns need to be considered.”

“I was 100% against the original, now I’m at 65%,” Shirton said. “It was a little bit intense. We need to work with staff.”

He stressed there has to be public input. “There should be an open house for neighbours, and if we get buy-in, it is a possibility, but not a slam-dunk.” There should be an opportunity to explore amendments with staff and public, he added.

“Council doesn’t want to see this back without public input.”

The vote for deferral was carried unanimously.