“The residents would prefer no development, but we realize that’s unrealistic.” So says a member of the Churchville Residents Association, which is battling a $100 million plan to build a huge Wal-Mart distribution center just down the road from the picturesque “heritage village” of Churchville. The Wal-Mart plan, according to a report in the Toronto Star, calls for a parking lot large enough to hold 1,000 tractor trailers and 700 cars. “The truck traffic will absolutely shatter this rural enclave” said the residents’ group. The zoning for the land is “prestige industrial”, and does permit warehouses. But there are architectural standards and outdoor storage issues to be raised. The land in question also has a woodlot on it, but the developer claims “we like trees as much as anybody.” Area officials are apparently wooed by the tax revenues derived from the warehouse. The system of Wal-Mart stores it will feed with supplies, however, has had a significant impact on job losses at existing stores in Ontario, but the net impact of this project on the region is not likely to be calculated by local officials, nor the impact on residential values in the hamlet of Brampton.
“It appears there’s not much we can do to stop this,” lamented one neighbor. It’s hard to imagine how a Wal-Mart warehouse could be defined as “prestige” anything. Residents will need to have legal representation and press for zoning standards to be help up to “prestige” levels. It is comforting at least to know that Wal-Mart developers love trees. This could be the start of a promising new romance. This could also be the start of a long line of residents in Churchville asking town assessors for a reduction in the tax valuation of their homes. Not many people will want to purchase a home that sits in the lap of a Wal-Mart warehouse, and one local developer is already stewing about the impact of this project on his plans to build executive stle homes on neighboring property.