London developer ready to build lakefront homes near Forest if sewage problem solved

A London developer wants to get moving on a first phase of a long-planned massive lakefront development in Lambton Shores.

But it may mean Lambton Shores has to put up some cash to get the sewers to the area north of Forest.

In 2004, Sifton Developments went to Lambton Shores council to get approval for the development. At the time, the developer planned to build private roads and a private sewage.

But in 2006, the municipality was told by the Ministry of the Environment any development would have to be on the municipality’s mechanical sewage treatment system out of Forest.

Lambton Shores had said it would put the approximately $1.2 million cost in the 2014 budget. But then the real estate market soften during the 2008 recession and the project, while still approved by council, didn’t move forward.

Phil Masschelein, vice president of neighbourhood developments for Sifton, says the market is now improving, the development has been reworked to add more green space and the company wants to know what the municipality’s plans are.  “We understood there had been some contemplation of deferring (the infrastructure project),” says Masschelein. “We wanted them to know if there is a deferral of that, then this project gets deferred, too.”

Masschelein says the real estate market has picked up enough that Sifton would like to develop 53 waterfront lots in 2014. He expects it will take about five years to sell those homes. Sifton also has plans for two more phases with another 131 lots and 27 townhouses.

“We need to know where they’re at…what is their timing?”

Mayor Bill Weber says several councilors have voiced support for the development but it has been a long time since municipal staff has reviewed what it would actually cost to service the area adding the cost could be quite high since any line which would be built to the Sifton development would have to service the whole Lake Valley Grove area. “It’s a big project…It would be something we would apply for infrastructure money for, if that is available.”

Staff will review the project and see what it would take to complete in today’s dollars and then Sifton officials will meet with council again to see if councilors are committed to the project.

“It would be nice to see this development go,” says Weber noting council has talked a lot about economic development and this housing development would be just that. “We may have to help to do it.”

– Heather Wright