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Increased landscaping and parking provided by the developer of a proposed commercial plaza in Port Elgin helped convince members of the planning committee to approve planning changes to allow the Westdell Development Corporation to plan a supermarket, a drive-thru restaurant, an outdoor vending area, and a rumored Starbucks.

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The plaza on the southwest corner of Goderich St. and Devonshire Rd. features four one-story buildings as well as a seasonal outdoor retail area. The three smaller buildings would be anchored by a large format commercial use. No store/business name has been made public, but at an earlier public meeting, Bruce County Planner Barbara Mugabe mentioned Starbucks as a potential tenant.

The development’s attractiveness and environment have raised concerns from councilors and the public over adequate landscaping and parking, and in his update Mugabe said Westdell had increased landscape coverage to 28 % – still less than the 30% guideline, but more than the 20% initially offered. By comparison, landscaping coverage is 15% in Port Elgin, Walmart and Canadian Tire.

Mugabe said a 28% ground cover is “enough landscaping to protect parking areas from sidewalks, in addition to creating a softer and more attractive perimeter”.

Although the future of a barn on the property has not been resolved, Westdell has contacted Saugeen First Nation and Ontario Barn Preservers, as councilors suggested, to determine if it can be repurposed.

Com. Dave Myette, a member of the Ontario Barn Preservation Group, said he was sure the developer “wouldn’t waste the resources of this barn.
“There are a lot of redeployment places. [There’s] one just in Southampton – Heritage Wood – who would jump at the chance, I’m sure, to refurbish some of the wood…” Myette said.

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Deputy Vice Mayor Mike Myatt said the 28% landscape coverage is “very fair and very reasonable” and thanked Westdell for investing in the community.
“I think this will be a very good development for the north side of Port Elgin and Saugeen Shores here, and I just want to congratulate the developer for bringing those dollars here. I think it’s going to be a dandy,” Myatt said.

In support of the development, Mayor Luke Charbonneau said creating additional retail space is very much in line with what the City needs to do.

“We have an awful lot of residential zoned properties in this municipality, but not enough commercial properties… so that moves us in the right direction,” Charbonneau said.

The Planning Committee has approved the Westdell Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments – final adoption of the zoning amendments has been deferred pending approval of the Official Plan Amendments by Bruce County.

The Westdell report can be viewed at [email protected]

This century-old house, garage and barn on the southwest corner of Goderich St. at Devonshire Rd. in Port Elgin would be demolished to make way for a proposed commercial plaza – including a rumored Starbucks and supermarket.