A new conservation area in the works in Enniskillen

The treed area is part of about 40 acres which may become conservation area in the future.

The developers of Glenview Estates may turn about 40 acres of land over to the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority.

And they also want to develop about six more acres of land around the Heritage Heights Golf Course – land they would like Petrolia to annex from Enniskillen Township.

John Williams and Murray Kemp approached talked to Enniskillen councilors in early March saying they hoped in the future to develop part of the land they owned in Enniskillen as part of the Glenview Estates development.

About 100 acres of Enniskillen Township was annexed for the original development. Kemp said this portion of the land should have been included at the time.

The developers are asking for Enniskillen’s support for the land to be annexed into Petrolia since, according to Enniskillen’s minutes, “the land could not be serviced for development by the Township of Enniskillen.”

They also told council “an agreement has been made with the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority to transfer ownership of the remaining lands” about 40 acres in Enniskillen according to minutes of the meeting.  The developers say the land, which is in the flood plain of the Durham Creek, isn’t suitable for housing and would be used as a passive park.

Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott says the land around the creek is “trees and rolling hills…there might even be some wetlands in there – but definitely not suitable for houses.”

Marriott says it is expected the area be turned into trails – including walking trails – which would be accessible to everyone.

“Another area like that (a conservation area) isn’t a bad idea…I don’t think we’re short of places, were not over an above either,” says Marriott adding council is considering whether it would support the move.

“We need to do our homework to make sure it is good for everybody.”

There are some downsides to the deal for the township most notably the loss of tax revenue.

Marriott says not only would Petrolia gain the taxes for between 12 and 16 new, large homes instead of Enniskillen, the land turned over the conservation authority would not generate any tax income. Conservation Authority lands are exempt from taxes.

Marriott says in the past, when the town annexed the land for Glenview and the former airport on Oil Heritage Line, there was compensation for the loss of tax revenue.

“Financial compensation has been talked about…looking at that along with

whether the lots are needed in Petrolia.” Marriott says councillors in Enniskillen want to investigate if the development is necessary considering the number of lots available in the town.

The mayor says the plans for development are in the future, but he expects Williams and Kemp would like his municipality to make a decision this year to move the plan forward. “We need the information to decide.”