Kennebec Shores is a new waterfront community created as a registered plan of subdivision under the Ontario Planning Act. So what exactly does that mean to lot buyers? Plenty. To create a new plan of subdivision, especially one on the water, is no small task. The project must be supported by technical studies and plans to satisfy the intense scrutiny of a myriad of government agencies charged with ensuring public health and safety and minimal impact on the natural environment. There are two sides to environmental issues – humans’ impact on the natural world (e.g., encroachment on habitat), and nature’s impact on humans (e.g., flood risk). The Province has established land use planning policies that must be regarded in the review of development submissions, and municipalities have their own local planning requirements. In the case of Kennebec Shores, a Hydrogeological Investigation and Terrain Analysis were completed to ensure a good supply of drinking water and confirm that each lot has at least two suitable septic system locations. An Archaeological Study looked at First Nations and European settlement history of the site and surrounding area. An Environmental Impact Study, and Lake Impact Study were completed to identify sensitive terrestrial and aquatic habitats to be considered in the subdivision layout and design and to provide recommendations for maintaining healthy natural systems. A Traffic Impact Study demonstrated safe access to the subdivision from existing public roads. Engineering plans, designs, and reports were done for the road, utilities, drainage, and on-site well and septic services. And most importantly (because I am a planner), a Planning Rationale report was prepared to synthesize all of this work and show how all applicable regulatory requirements were satisfied. The benefits do not end with the technical work and exhaustive approval process. Many waterfront property owners are confronted with uncertain or questionable title to their land, a problem avoided if the lot is on a registered plan. Similarly, some lakefront property buyers may find out the hard way that they do not have legal access to their cottage, or face ongoing cottage lane maintenance fees. At Kennebec Shores, the road is to be owned and maintained by the Township of Central Frontenac. This also makes for a friendlier conversation with the bank, if you seek financing for your purchase or building project, and also helps reduce insurance premiums due to four-season public access. Finally, all these benefits mean that your real estate investment is strong. Professional real estate appraisals engaged by Kennebec Shores have indicated that there is a significant premium associated with estate lots in an upscale waterfront community. I know you’re thinking ‘isn’t this supposed to be about creating family memories at the lake?’ Yes, but your waterfront home may be one of your family’s greatest investments, so you want to choose wisely. And I bet you’ll never have this much fun with your mutual funds!