Progress hinted at in Echo Lake development

Wendy Judson of Echo Lake Estates is hoping for a positive development after a meeting last week with Emo’s municipal council but she isn’t holding her breath until she sees something in writing.
Judson and her husband, Tom, have been trying to get Echo Lake Estates, located in the west end of Emo, off the ground for the past three years.
But development has been stalled for some time due to an easement on the south edge of the lots which carries discharge from Emo’s lagoon system. And before the Ministry of Environment signs off on the subdivision plan, that easement has to be enclosed (i.e., install a culvert).
But ownership of the easement has been called into question, and just who’s responsible for enclosing it has been a matter of some debate between all three parties, leading to litigation by Echo Lake Estates against the MoE.
“I’ve been told what’s going to happen [by Emo council],” Judson said, although she didn’t want to reveal specifics until the litigation was done with.
“But I’ve been told what’s going to happen before,” she added. “At Wednesday’s meeting, I asked them to put their position in writing and send it to me.
“Until I get something firm in writing, I am really unable to commit that we’re going anywhere,” she remarked.
Judson also has been circulating a petition around Emo to garner support for Echo Lake Estates in hopes of a subdivision agreement being signed with the town.
“Everybody’s been real supportive,” she said, noting she’s gathered a fair number of signatures.
Since Echo Lake Estates laid its litigation on the table, the MoE has done likewise with Emo–naming the municipality in a third-party claim.
Emo’s waste water management used to be controlled by the Ontario Clean Water Agency, which falls under the MoE’s mandate. But Emo had removed the OCWA and was managing its own lagoon by the time the Judsons filed their suit.
Coun. Cecil Ogden said Emo’s liability insurance lawyer wants to see if the municipality can deal with the litigation and work on moving the subdivision forward at the same time.
He said the council is working hard to see things come to an amicable solution to suit all.
“We want see subdivisions and what,” Coun. Ogden stressed. “We’re trying to be proactive on the whole thing.”
Judson echoed Ogden’s sentiments, noting she’d prefer to avoid going to court all together. But after three years of waiting, she admitted their patience was beginning to wear thin.
“Just three weeks ago, somebody came and wanted to buy a double lot,” she said. “What can you say? The problem here is people will only wait so long [before] they have to make other alternatives [and] it doesn’t mean it always will be in Emo.
“I think we’re losing taxpayers by not having [the agreement] signed,” Judson added. “We did it because we felt this was a good thing for Emo.
“And maybe 50 years down the road, it will be something good for our grandchildren,” she said.