Highlands East council agreed to help push forward a proposed condominium development at Centre Lake on Crown lands by advocating for its economic benefits.

Council passed a resolution Dec. 10 which could enable the project, called the Granite Shores Condominium Development, to make progress. The seasonal tourist development is proposed to include more than 40 cottage lots.

The motion indicates Highlands East sees economic benefits if the 200 ft. Crown reserve around the lake’s shoreline is transferred to neighbouring landowners. Planner Chris Jones said this is one of the requirements for the development and opening up the shoreline could give the area a boost.

“That shoreline development has clearly, historically been a significant resource of our local and regional economy,” Jones said, adding the proposal falls in-line with the shoreline land use designation.

Jones reported the reserve dates back to the mining era and was done to preserve the lake from mining exploration activities IBI Group associate director John Ariens presented on behalf of the private landowner.

He said any development around the lake, whether theirs or others, is held up by the reserve.

“Centre Lake is waiting in the dugout for their chance up to bat and the Ministry of Natural Resources has been keeping the gate closed,” Ariens said.

The firm estimates between $25 million and $32 million in local expenditures if the development goes ahead, mostly derived from construction costs. Ariens added after communications with upper levels of government, there is some receptiveness to remove the designation. Requirements include municipal acknowledgement of economic benefit, an environmental assessment and partnership with the Indigenous communities, which Ariens said they are working to fulfill.

The developer presented two possibilities for Granite Shores, one which is just seasonal cottages with 46 lots and one with a commercial resort and 41 cottage lots. But Ariens assured council their resolution does not mean they have to approve the proposal.

“I appreciate the plan before you is a little bit aggressive. We have a large amount of lots,” Ariens said. “We’ll go through it and we’ll adjust as necessary.”

Coun. Suzanne Partridge said she was okay approving the resolution given the developer would have to work with the County’s Shoreline Preservation bylaw, which sets requirements to keep shorelines healthy.

“I want you to hit a home run with this,” Mayor Dave Burton told Ariens.

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Joseph Quigley is a staff writer with The Highlander. Joseph is always digging hard for news stories and covers all the latest happenings in the County of Haliburton. He believes in the importance of local news, finding more to every story and listening to marginalized voices. When he’s not working on news, Joseph finds himself getting all-too engaged in social media and cheering on his favourite Toronto Maple Leafs.