Township council passes on Sunderland land swap proposal

Township council has passed on a land swap proposal in Sunderland.

The proposal, which came up for discussion at last week’s meeting, was submitted by Miller Planning Services on behalf of the MacInnis family – the owners of approximately 48 hectares on the south side of River Street, west of the current urban boundary for the village.

While efforts are underway to have the land incorporated into the urban boundary, as part of the Region’s Official Plan review, the family has also suggested exchanging roughly 30 acres of their property for the 17-acre municipal property that includes the village’s arena, the surrounding park and fairgrounds.

“An opportunity exists to provide for updated and expanded programming on a larger parcel of land to serve the growing community. There is also an opportunity to move the existing lighted sports facilities away from the existing residences on the edge of the fairgrounds and eliminate any negative impacts that currently exist,” reads a submission to township council.

“There is also an opportunity to allow for additional residential growth on these current Sunderland parklands in order to strengthen the settlement area for the future.”

A preliminary concept drawing submitted with the proposal includes three large light baseball diamonds, a soccer field, four tennis courts, parking areas and a separate six-acre parcel for a recreational facility.

“There would be ample opportunity to service the recreational needs of both existing and future residents of Sunderland and other portions of the Township’s population on a relocated park facility,” the letter reads.

Councillors received the proposal for information only, with Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell calling it “premature.”

“I’ve had quite a few preliminary conversations about this…and people in Sunderland love the park that we have,” she said.

“It would cost a lot of money to relocate the facilities. Appreciate the proposal, just don’t think it’s practical to consider,” added Regional Councillor Ted Smith.

Other councillors agreed that assessment.

“It would take a heck of a lot of money to do it,” said Ward 3 Councillor Walter Schummer.

“If all of those costs are left to the municipality, it doesn’t seem like a fair trade at all,” noted Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble.

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