No gas station will happen near the Belle-Rive development. An open field with a few trees, located right behind the Belle-Rive development, just south of Main Street, where more than  20 residences are located will finally not be rezoned to allow developer Gestion Vitrico Ltee, to build a petrol station there.

At the October 16 regular Hawkesbury council meeting, both Gilles Gauthier and residents of Belle-Rive were present to hear the verdict from council about the zoning change. People were visibly disappointed that council had to push the decision to the next council meeting, set for October 30. The reason for pushing the decision was that council members did not have the time to review both the Lloyd Phillips & Associates planning report and the town planner report in order to make an informed decision.

Forward to the October 30 regular council meeting. Gilles Gauthier and residents of Belle-Rive were again present and waiting for council’s verdict on the zoning request. The recommendation from the town’s planner, Manon Belle-Isle, was not to rezone the land because the proposed development project did not meet the intent of Hawkesbury’s official plan.

Councillor Michel Thibodeau opposed the recommendation, citing slow growth in Hawkesbury.

“According to what I just read, the declaration of provincial policies aims to enhance the economy of municipalities and encourage the development of the site since municipal services are present [at the site]. The developer reviewed his plan to move the petrol tanks further away and guaranteed a larger buffer zone between the station and the residences and has also agreed to plant mature trees between the commercial and residential development,” said Thibodeau.

“The developer, who is local, has proven himself as a businessman by managing for more than 40 years a family business which is still located in Hawkesbury. The developer has also been part of the Hawkesbury Industrial Investment Association and the Hawkesbury Community Industrial Strategic Planning Association; both organizations helped Hawkesbury keep industries like Tulmar, Green Beaver, Bentley and more. We all mentioned that Hawkesbury needs growth and job creation. In 2015, growth was 0.48 per cent, and in 2015, growth was 0.26 per cent. This project could create 30 jobs and I believe it to be beneficial for the community as a whole. The rezoning demand is valid and I will ask for a registered vote,” concluded Thibodeau.

As for Councillor Pierre Ouellet, he agreed with Councillor Thibodeau about the need for development in Hawkesbury, but he also acknowledges that a petrol station would hinder the residents of Belle-Rive from fully enjoying their homes. He decided to support the recommendation from the planning department as to not allow the rezoning. He mentioned that many other types of stores could be developed by Gauthier on the actual zoning.

Councillor Yves Paquette followed Ouellet’s comments by saying that he does not only support the planning department’s recommendation, but he also opposes the actual commercial zoning which was changed from high-density residential zoning in 2012.

“We will soon ask the provincial government to change Main Street’s status as a connecting link to the Chenail Boulevard as the connecting link to Highway 34. This will bring more traffic on this road and I believe that too much is happening already near that corner. I agree with Councillor Ouellet that the quality of life of residents on Belle-Rive street will be greatly affected. People bought these properties for their quality of life. As for Mr Gauthier, who is a well-known business man, I sadly cannot approve the zoning change and will vote in favour of the recommendation,” said Mayor Charlebois before launching the registered vote.

Both Councillors Daniel Lalonde and Michel Thibodeau voted against the recommendation from the planning department to not rezone the land to allow a petrol station. The five other councillors decided to support the recommendation and refused the zoning change.