Norwich residents voice concerns over township and Woodstock boundary discussions

By Bruce Chessell, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

Boundary discussions between Woodstock and Norwich Township have sparked some push back from the township community.

A number of delegations appeared in front of Norwich Township council Tuesday to voice their opposition to the proposed boundary adjustment, which, if approved, will annex two parcels of mostly farmland next year.

In a letter to the editor to the Norwich Gazette, Collin Gibson wrote to council asking them not to go forward with any boundary adjustments.

Gibson started his letter by telling his story of being displaced from his old home when Toyota moved to Woodstock, leading to he and his wife moving to Sweaburg and having to take out a mortgage to improve their new home.

"Now with the stroke of a pen, you and others plan to shatter our lives again," he wrote.

"The land is not needed by the City of Woodstock," Gibson added. "They have a considerable acreage already banked in the former Blandford-Blenheim Township, from the Toyota deal that they have done nothing with."

The letter continued by saying if the land is needed, Woodstock should buy it. The proposed deal, he continued, "can only serve to make our property unsalable to anyone except a developer."

Bill, Maria and Brittany Beatty also submitted a letter to the County of Oxford, Norwich Township and the City of Woodstock on behalf of homeowners in Eastwood.

The Beattys wrote they recognize the city's need for more land for future development, but argued this should not come at the expense of those living in the township.

"The City of Woodstock acquired land on (Sept. 1, 2005) from the Township of Blandford-Blenheim when the deal was made with Toyota," the Beattys wrote. "This boundary adjustment has not produced anything east of the 401 in 12 years. This land remains unserviced, undeveloped, unmaintained to the level of care that the city west of County Road 4 receives."

The letter concluded that the township should consider removing properties located north of the CN rail lines and south of Highway 2 from the adjustment discussions. The letter was accompanied by a petition signed by 43 Eastwood residents.

Norwich Township council authorized staff to enter into discussions with the City of Woodstock regarding the removal of these lands from the boundary discussions.

Township staff will also be discussing the phase-in of commercial and industrial tax rates, as well as the inclusion of additional lands proposed by Dr. Leonard Reeves.