Subdivision announced for Ridgetown

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Municipal officials and developers gathered Feb. 24 to announce a new 131-home subdivision for Ridgetown. From left, municipal councillors Steve Pinsonneault and John Wright, developers Fred Naclerio and Dan Vanderveen, and Mayor Darrin Canniff.

By Bird Bouchard
Local Journalism Initiative/Ridgetown Independent
Ridgetown will soon see the most significant residential development in decades.
The Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Apollo Property Management, and Clarke Developments announced a 131-home, $70-million subdivision recently.
Construction of the Highland Subdivision, which will consist of mainly single-family homes, is expected to begin in late spring and will be done in two phases.

The proposed project’s location is on a 23-acre bundle of farmland in the area of Warwick and Cecil streets.
Mayor Darrin Canniff said the development is significant for the growth of Ridgetown, adding the community is going to be a very vibrant and growing town.
“To put it into perspective, if you take the 131 homes and you put two people in each one, the population of Ridgetown will grow by about eight per cent,” said Canniff. “That’s a significant development.”
Being a resident of Ridgetown, Apollo Group of Companies president Fred Naclerio said he looks forward to the community growing and welcoming newcomers to enjoy what he has, living in Ridgetown. He added he has already noticed much demand for the planned homes.
Naclerio said it’s currently impossible to accurately estimate the possible price tag of the homes due to the rising cost of materials and the volatility of the current housing market.
“The market is going to dictate that. It changes every day. The cost of materials is going crazy right now,” said Naclerio.
Also in attendance were East Kent councillors, Steve Pinsonneault and John Wright.
Pinsonneault said this increases the assessment growth and has a positive ripple effect on the local businesses.
“This will be extremely beneficial for the community of Ridgetown,” said Pinsonneault. “It seems every year we are fighting to keep the high school in place, and this population growth should improve the numbers there and make it more viable. We as councillors appreciate the Apollo group and Fred Naclerio moving forward with this project. It’s going to be nice to see the community grow and prosper.”
Wright said the development represents a new phase for the community and will help Ridgetown move in the right direction.
“I grew up in Ridgetown. There were 3,300 people. We’re at 3,400 now,” he said. “This will increase us more than in the last 50 or 60 years.”
Pinsonneault, along with Wright, Canniff and the developers acknowledged concerns of some two-dozen residents and neighbours in attendance. Canniff highlighted there would be time for public consultation before construction would start in the spring.
“Lots of sunlight will be shining on this. We want your input, we want this to work, and we want everyone to be happy when we’re done,” said Canniff.
Pinsonneault echoed the statement, adding it can be challenging to be living in the darkness of rumours.
“I understand the concerns, as there will be changes coming and more traffic. I realize that it’s going to be a bit of an inconvenience for you, but we are definitely going to listen to your concerns, and we will address them,” said Pinsonneault.
Of the many concerns – including the value of homes being affected, dust, traffic, parking, the safety of children during construction, and the development timeline – one of the highlighted concerns from residents was whether the storm sewers could handle the new subdivision.
According to Clarke Group project manager Dan Vanderveen, his team did some investigation on the existing municipal drain at the proposed location of the development.
“From what we saw, the pipe is in good condition. It’s just at the outlet that needs a little bit of work,” said Vanderveen.
He added that the runoff from the site will be the same as what is around now and will be controlled.
Regarding the two-year estimated timeframe for project completion, some neighbours were concerned the project would take longer to complete, adding their children would not have as many safe places to play.
Vanderveen said the Clarke Group is currently working at a pace of approximately 100 homes per year, which would allow for the development to be completed in the proposed time frame.
Naclerio also addressed concerns that the houses would look the same and be “cookie-cutter houses.” He said residents shouldn’t be concerned about the value of their homes as a result of this development.
“I look forward to our community growing and prospering,” said Naclerio.

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