Public meeting on Aquaworld set

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More than two and a half years after it was first proposed, developers of the Aquaworld water park have completed their rezoning application to Augusta Township.


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Township council will hold a public meeting on the application at the MERC hall in Maitland at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Developer Stefano Ferrante wants to change the zoning of the agricultural land to a special Aquaworld, or AQW, zone that would permit the water park.

The property at 1898 Merwin Lane covers 254 acres of which 57 acres would be the resort itself.

Ferrante said the rezoning would allow a water resort with a 140-room hotel with a convention centre, a sports bar, a buffet restaurant and an indoor/outdoor water park.

As well, the rezoning would allow a fitness centre, health retreat, playground and walking trails.

The complex will be accessible from Merwin Lane and will be serviced with on-site water and sewage services.

The public meeting is expected to be well-attended as hundreds of township residents have signed petitions both for and against the project.

Opponents, many of whom live near the proposed water park, cite fears of traffic congestion, water issues and the disruption of their rural lifestyle. Supporters, many of them young families with children, see the water park as an economic-development boost to Augusta that would provide taxes, jobs and a place to bring their kids in the summer.

Ferrante said he expects some opposition at the meeting, but adds that his engineers have done the due diligence and studies to prove that it is a viable project.

“Other than saying ‘they don’t want it because they don’t want it’,” Ferrante said the opponents will have few reasons to be concerned once they hear the Aquaworld presentation.

He said his experts will present the findings of water-table and traffic studies that, he added, should ease residents’ concerns.

Council will hold the public meeting, which is required under the provincial Planning Act, and will decide on the rezoning at a later meeting.

Ferrante is wooing investors for the $115-million project, and he said that the zoning approval will help with the investment-raising.

He said he hopes to have shovels in the-ground in early 2021.

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