Bracebridge council has approved the zone change for Castle Peak Retirement Residence, which allows the home to move forward with its plan to build rental units.
The proposed development, which would be at 64 Douglas Dr., would see four bungalow townhouses built, each with seven rental units. Olivia Matthews, Senior Planner with the Town of Bracebridge, explained during a Dec. 7 Planning and Development Committee meeting that the land is currently vacant.
The units would be geared towards individuals 55 and older.
The retirement home is located at 56 Douglas Dr., which is adjacent to where the rental units would be constructed.
The proposal was approved during the committee meeting and later by council on Dec. 14.
In Matthews’ presentation to committee, it was noted that the zoning change has been given a thumbs up by District of Muskoka staff. She pointed out that it conforms with both the district’s and Bracebridge’s separate official plans and doesn’t go against what the province requires for similar zoning changes.
Matthews said traffic report, submitted on April 28, 2021, by Tatham Engineering, concluded that site access points will give “excellent overall conditions” and no improvements are needed to the neighbouring roads. She added that it’s “not expected” that the proposal will have a negative impact on the roads.
She said the report was done based on historic traffic counts from 2017, ’18, and ’19.
Michael Saunders, who lives on Clearbrook Av., said the traffic report doesn’t properly address school busses. He added Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School is just down the road and “20 to 30 busses” go into the high school every morning and afternoon. “The traffic impact is unreal on Clearbrook,” he said. Saunders asked council to broaden the traffic study.
“It’s likely that the peak hours for this development would not equate with the peak hours for the schools,” said Matt Holmes, Bracebridge’s Manager of Planning Services.
Saunders also brought up concerns about visibility, but Holmes said at this stage, the town is only looking at the rezoning application. He added that town staff will go more in-depth during the planning stage for the proposal.
Mayor Rick Maloney said he’s spoken to representatives of Fieldgate Retirement Living, who purchased Castle Peak in April. “This is addressing a significant need in our community,” he told committee.
“We all know of the challenges that, particularly our senior population have, in finding adequate transitional housing,” he continued. “This is exactly what that is.”