Anyone who’s ever driven on Highway 17, near Hawkesbury, between Highway 34 and Tupper Street has witnessed a type of developmental stalemate.
On one side of the Trans-Canada Highway, there is significant retail development. Across the highway, there are trees and further along, a few car dealerships.
The back story is that the land on the north side of the highway belongs to the Town of Hawkesbury and the property on the south side lies in Champlain Township; the south side of the highway doesn’t have the luxury of easy access to services, such as water.
One of the first properties encountered in Champlain when heading east is the MacEwen gas station, right next to the site of the soon-to-be-built Laplante car dealership.
In an effort to obtain a water and sewer connection for the gas station, MacEwen’s Director of Real Estate and Development, Larry Duchscher, approached the Town of Hawkesbury’s Economic Development Service Committee with a request in May 2018.
According to Town of Hawkesbury Recommendation No. REC-47-18 prepared by the Economic Development Service Committee, Duchscher asked if “the connection would be accepted by the Town in the event that he purchased a portion of the neighbouring lot, the Laplante automobile dealership.”
The committee’s recommendation stated that “the municipality cannot allow singular connections” since the practice is not considered as being good urban planning.
However, the written recommendation also cited a suggestion from Hawkesbury Mayor Jeanne Charlebois which encouraged Duchscher to “make an application to the Champlain Township council to have the said service station with a convenience store become part of the Hawkesbury territory.”
On May 28, the council voted in favour of the recommendation; of the status quo. It seems the stalemate isn’t quite over.