The highly-anticipated Wilmot Employment Lands could be coming closer to fruition in 2020.
While there is some red tape that still needs to be cut, construction for some portions of the lands just north of Highway 7/8 in New Hamburg could begin this year.
Wilmot chief administrative officer Grant Whittington said construction for the landmark project between Hamilton and Nafziger Road would likely begin this year, provided approvals are reached with the Ministry of Transportation Ontario. Wilmot Mayor Les Armstrong echoed the same sentiment, saying that MTO’s approval is a hurdle. Since the lands which have been in the works for years now are along a major highway, those approvals are necessary.
Township director of planning Harold O’Krafka said while building permits might also be obtained during the year, portions of the roads and stormwater ponds could be built too.
O'Krafka says the township is “cautiously optimistic” in regards to the approvals from the MTO.
The lands, which could range from offices to industrial uses, will total 128 acres in size. Owners of the properties are Badenview Developments and New Hamburg lrs. Inc.
The land totals 128 acres in size and will consist of two parcels. Owners of the properties are Badenview Developments and New Hamburglrs inc.
Lee Kieswetter of New Hamburg lrs inc. and owner of part of the property says plans haven’t been finalized for the lands in terms of land sales or building tenants.
“We are working through a very slow planning process with no concrete end date in the foreseeable future,” said Kieswetter.
Kieswetter says that processes have been slowed by the MTO as well.
“We are very excited with the level of interest and development as a whole and look forward to commencing construction as quickly as possible once approvals are in place,” he said. “These employment lands are a tremendous asset for the Township of Wilmot, and will generate many new jobs and substantial property tax revenues once fully developed.”
Lyle Cressman, new president of the New Hamburg Board of Trade says the organization “looks forward to having this project move forward.”
“Any new employment opportunities in the township are welcomed,” said Cressman in an email to the Independent.
“It is important that this project be planned carefully and not take away from the retail core in the downtown/uptown. We believe township staff share a similar goal.”
Included among the employment lands will be some trails as well. There will be trails through the woodlot between the lands and the railway. Entry points and layout haven’t been finalized yet, though. It is anticipated that there will be a multi-use trail along the road in the development connecting Hamilton Road and Nafziger Road.
“The inclusion of a walking/cycling trail in the infrastructure of the employment lands, connecting Hamilton Road to Nafziger Road should be a real benefit to New Hamburg residents."
The full development plans aren't clear yet though for the lands while the number of jobs created isn't clear. Region of Waterloo regulations say that 40 jobs must be created per hectare for employment lands. The Wilmot Employment Lands could create around 2,000 jobs with the given size.