By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
If all goes well, Wheatley will soon be home to a new 48-lot subdivision.
At a recent planning meeting, Chatham-Kent council agreed to change the zoning designation from deferred development to low density residential, allowing the expansion to proceed, despite the misgivings of local residents concerned about traffic safety.
The new development proposed by an Ontario numbered company is located on a 10.4-acre parcel of land on the north side of Middleton Line between Harbour Road and Klondyke Road. It is located across from the boundary of Wheatley Provincial Park.
Two deputations from local residents were made to council on the issue at the meeting, with one woman repeatedly calling for a traffic study.
The citizens expressed concern that there will be inadequate access to nearby Talbot Trail from the subdivision, saying the new build will cause increased congestion on Middleton Line.
West Kent Coun. Lauren Anderson put forward a motion to conduct a traffic study on the issue, but it failed to gain council’s approval.
There was some discussion about the developer needing to purchase land to provide access to Talbot Trail, but that idea was shot down by other members of council. Council heard from administration that a traffic study would delay the project slated to begin either this fall or early in 2024.
East Kent Coun. Steve Pinsonneault disagreed with stalling the construction.
“I don’t know if it’s fair that we tell a developer that he has to go and acquire land, because, guaranteed, the price of that land just tripled today,” Pinsonneault said. “I think you’re handcuffing our developers, making them go and acquire land to make another laneway in.
“I just don’t think that’s fair. We need housing and these people are doing it,” he added.
The development will allow the construction of detached and semi-detached homes.