KAWARTHA LAKES: The process to bring a Walmart to the Lindsay area appears close to reaching its climax.
The City of Kawartha Lakes Planning Committee held a meeting on Wednesday, May 11 to consider a zoning by-law amendment request by developer Mason Homes that would increase the grocery floor space that is permitted in a department store to meet Walmart’s design needs. The Committee is expected to make a recommendation to council at a meeting on Tuesday, May 24 that the zoning by-law change be approved.
The development would be located along Highway 35 at Colborne St. Mason Homes began the process of bringing the retail giant to the Kawartha Lakes in 2005 when they applied for permissions for a commercial development at the location. The application was approved one year later, but was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) by several local landowners.
Through the appeal process, the City was required to install the Northwest Trunk sewer system.
"We just got (the sewer system) installed and that has allowed for future development. We have always had the will to do it, but now we have the will and the means to do it,” Mayor Andy Letham told The Standard.
The Mayor added that there are several economic benefits of bringing a Walmart to the City.
"It obviously brings jobs,” he said. “We are hoping that it will keep people shopping in our city. Hopefully there is an economic spin-off from it that benefits everyone.”
Lindsay Downtown BIA general manager Melissa McFarland agreed that the development could have positive economic effects for the Kawartha Lakes.
“The Lindsay Downtown BIA can't speak for all of its members, but many believe that any increase in traffic to Lindsay will greatly benefit Lindsay as a whole,” she said. “With the introduction of Walmart and other chain retailers, the hope is that the shoppers and visitors who have felt the need to leave the area to shop in bigger locations will be able find everything they need in Lindsay, and will recognize the value in also taking the time to visit our beautiful downtown and the services that are provided by the small business merchants located here.”
Once the zoning by-law amendment is approved, the site is expected to be prepared with fill by Mason Homes, so that Fieldgate Development can begin construction. A recent online poll by The Standard showed that most people are in favour of a Walmart in the area. What do you think?