Cornwall Ford dealer expansion ‘not ready to go’: PAC

Looking through the fence of the parking lot at the Cornwall Wesleyan Church on Sydney Street, north of Seventh Street, Miller Hughes Ford Lincoln wants to buy this parcel of land from the church to create a vehicle inventory holding lot. During a Planning Advisory Commitee meeting on Monday, July 29, 2019, neighbours pushed back on the proposal. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A Cornwall Ford dealership looking to expand has hit a bump in the road while trying to deal with neighbours and seal a land deal with a neighbour.

Miller Hughes Ford Lincoln at 711 Pitt Street wants to expand east and buy a piece of land, just under an acre, from the Wesleyan Church to create a vehicle inventory holding lot. The lot would be gated and have directional lighting.

Since it requires a change in the land designation from urban residential to business district, the Cornwall Planning Advisory Committee held a public meeting last night (Monday) for the Official Plan amendment for the land on the west side of Sydney Street, south of the Wesleyan Church.

But three neighbours have pushed back at the proposal. The land seller, the church, has also pushed back at an “alternate Plan B” proposal whipped up city staff within the last week before the PAC meeting.

Neighbours say the dealership is taking away their piece of paradise and will hurt their property values.

“I find peace when I go in my backyard. Fresh air, green grass, animals, rabbits, robins, falcons and insects. This is my one piece of heaven. I’m in that yard every day…this is my home…I’m saying no,” said Trevor Lalonde of 712 Sydney Street.

“I look out and I see beauty…I didn’t buy my house to have cars in front of me,” added Linda Brunet of 727 Sydney Street.

Miller Hughes Dealer Principal Shawn Maloney said there would be roughly two deliveries a week by transport truck and they would happen during normal business hours. Maloney added that the lot would be secured and locked. “We do not have traffic rolling through there at two in the morning (2 a.m.). My insurance company will not allow that,” he explained.

Wesleyan Church Rev. Larry Blaikie said if the PAC went ahead with recommending the alternate land configuration, the deal would be off. Blaikie says the new footprint would not allow the church to add an addition to its building in the future. “Those are plans we have, dreams we have. That will have a negative impact and…I’m not even willing to sell the land with Plan B.”

With that assertion from the church, PAC conceded that Plan B was off the table.

Lay committee member Amanda Brisson says other car dealerships have grown but have been “lucky” to be in a commercial zone. She says the big question is whether the city wants to make that area a commercial district.

“This is not ready to go,” Mayor Bernadette Clement added, given everything that was on the table at the public meeting. “We’re at an impasse. I just feel like there may need to be further discussion among the proponents and the neighbours.”

The item has been deferred until the next PAC meeting in September to allow for more time for talks between Maloney, Blaikie and the neighbours.

Thumbs Up(20)Thumbs Down(15)