Ontario Land Tribunal sides with Fort Erie in denying waterfront development

The Town of Fort Erie’s decision to block a proposed development on Erie Road has been upheld by the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). Crystal Bay Cottages Inc. had appealed to rezone their property to allow for eight new housing units, but the OLT dismissed the appeal on April 29, 2024.

Council had originally rejected the rezoning request in March, citing concerns that the development would not be compatible with the existing neighbourhood character, lacked sufficient on-site open space, and fell outside areas designated for intensification.

“This decision recognizes the importance of council ensuring developments reflect our vision for growth,” said Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop.

Both Mayor Redekop and Councillor Tom Lewis emphasized the importance of balancing growth with community needs and existing plans.

While the Town acknowledged the need for housing, it maintained that development should be done responsibly and in accordance with the community’s vision.

“We are very pleased with the OLT decision,” said Chris McQueen, chief administrative officer. “It reinforces that communities are best placed to make planning decisions on growth that is manageable and responsible.”

Fort Erie’s population is projected to grow significantly by 2041. Town plans aim to accommodate this growth through intensification in designated areas, while preserving the natural character of waterfront neighbourhoods.

“The OLT decision aligns with our plans and protects the character of the neighbourhood,” said Anamika Dilwaria, director of planning and development services.

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