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Mike Block and Sandra Bebbington-Block are planning to create a sea of tulips on their historic Vankleek Hill property next Spring. Photo by Reid Masson

Champlain council begins approval of proposed tulip garden

A development proposal currently before Champlain Township Council could lead to a unique type of new business opening in Vankleek Hill. 

On August 12, council approved first and second reading to by-laws granting an Official Plan Amendment (OPA) and Zoning By-law Amendment (ZBA) for what will be known as the Vankleek Hill Tulpenhuis at 199 Main Street East. The property is located on the north side of Main Street between Stanley Avenue and Farmers Avenue. A stone house and barn are already located at the site. 

Michael Block and Sandra Bebbington want to open a commercial tulip garden at the property. It will also include an artisan studio, bed and breakfast, café, community garden, assembly hall, and retail store. The property is presently designated for low density residential development, but the OPA and ZBA would change it to village core land use. The house and barn are not designated heritage buildings. 

In a written submission to council, Block and Bebbington explained how their business would become a destination that brings more visitors to Vankleek Hill, but also provide flowers for wholesalers in Montréal, Ottawa, and offer tulip bulbs for sale to the public each fall. 

Township Planner Jennifer Laforest outlined questions the public had submitted about the proposal. One question asked if livestock would be living in the barn.  

“That’s not authorized,” Laforest explained. 

Councillor Gérard Miner asked if the property owner had requested an assembly hall as part of the proposal. Laforest confirmed the owner had made the request. 

Council voted to receive the report on the proposed Vankleek Hill Tulpenhuis. Council approved first and second reading to the OPA and ZBA by-laws. Third and final reading will go before council at a September meeting.  

James Morgan

James Morgan is a freelance contributor. He has worked for several print and broadcast media outlets. James loves the history, natural beauty, and people of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

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